CBJ to discuss budget survey, Assembly goals

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly is gearing up for its budget session by working out a survey with the League of Women voters — asking citizens about funding priorities.

The proposal will be discussed at the Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night, starting at 6 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers.

The League proposes sending out 17,000 four-page surveys with an expectation of a 3 percent return. The cost of conducting the survey is estimated at just under $10,000.

Questions could include rating which categories of city services should take priority in funding; whether the two high schools should have equal sports options and who should pay for them; childcare, affordable housing and cruise ship dock issues; and standard demographic information requests.

The city is facing an estimated $7.5 million deficit over the next two fiscal years. It prepares a budget for two-year cycles, and the city manager and staff are currently building that budget and seeking input on what to cut. Manager Rod Swope has said that citizens will see a reduction in services as the city aligns its revenues with expenses.

The next topic on the agenda is the succession plan for the manager. Swope is retiring and will leave office March 31. He tried retiring a little more than two years ago, but at the time the Assembly felt candidates from a nationwide search were not acceptable and negotiated with him to stay on for two more years.

This Assembly is conducting a region-wide search and set criteria for what exactly it wants in a new manager.

The COW also will discuss the Assembly top 10 goals for the year. It voted on goals the body will try and achieve over the next year and is expected to have more discussion on them on Monday. Some of the goals include work on solid waste, AJ Mine procedures and go/no-go points, a plan for extension of North Douglas Highway, the city manager transition, a financial transition plan preparing for an expected continued decline in state and federal funding, among other issues.

For a full agenda and related documents see: http://www.juneau.org/assembly/COW/2011-12-12-COW_Index.php.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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