The Juneau Assembly will be focused on waste management, improving housing and working on economic development in 2014.
Assembly members and various city staffers converged on City Hall Wednesday morning for a four-hour Assembly retreat aimed at getting everything in line for the coming year after the recent elections.
The process was simple: Assembly members sat in a circle and went around naming things they felt needed to be addressed in the coming year, and a city staffer wrote them down on a white board.
After the members all listed their top three goals — or added their support to a previously listed item — each filled out a list ranking their priorities in order, and the focus for next year was set.
Assembly member Randy Wanamaker told his colleagues they must keep the main focus centered on a set of concrete goals if they are to accomplish anything significant during the next 12 months.
“Let’s pick some things we can make some meaningful progress on — the fewer we have the more progress we can make on each,” Wanamaker said.
The nine-member Assembly — each member was asked to bring their top three goals to the meeting Wednesday — finally settled on 16 priorities.
Waste management and housing were neck-and-neck in competition for the top slot, with developing the economic plan not far behind.
Fixing the parking issues downtown and throughout the borough is the fourth priority, and one that could even include discussing a park-and-ride system in the future.
“We have many issues about parking in our city and borough, not just downtown parking,” Mayor Merrill Sanford said. “All these other issues are parking issues we have to deal with throughout our city and borough.”
Addressing and updating long-term deferred maintenance/asset management plans rounded out the top five goals, and implementing an update to the transit plan followed closely behind.
In a little more than a month, consultants who have been working on developing an updated plan to the city’s current system will have a final draft ready for Assembly review.
The rest of the list is as follows:
• Working on the West Douglas Road project.
• Teaming with the Juneau Economic Development Council in its downtown revitalization efforts.
• Identifying an area for future industrial use, ideally on West Douglas.
• Lobbying the state legislature for an increase in education funding.
• Planning policy for the Lemon Creek industrial area.
• Identifying partners for the housing first project.
• Continuing the process of reviewing the merit of reopening the AJ Mine.
• Reviewing the city’s tax structure.
• Taking a leadership role in finding ways to improve voter turnout.
• And finally, working to relocate federal fisheries positions and research vessels to Juneau.