Public hearing on City, Juneau School District budgets scheduled for Wednesday

City Assembly discusses Airport parking fines

City Hall in downtown Juneau. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire File)

The public will have a chance to voice any concerns or thoughts it has with the City and Borough of Juneau and the Juneau School District’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budgets during a special Assembly meeting at Assembly Chambers 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

 

One of the topics that may arise in discussions — which is part of the school district’s $3.5 million cuts — is the removal of the school district’s popular auto mechanics program.

The program, which is taught at the University of Alaska Southeast Technical Education Center, across from Juneau-Douglas High School, costs the district $40,000 in rent.

JSD Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett wrote in an email to the Empire that “There is strong student interest in this program. More than 90 students have requested auto mechanics courses for next school year, Bartlett wrote.

This school year, Bartlett added, 56 students have taken or enrolled in the auto mechanics courses (Auto Mechanics I, II and Intro to Auto), and many students also earn dual credit with UAS for these classes.

Because of this, the district is actively focused on trying to find alternate sources of funding to cover the $40,000.

“The school district is working to keep the auto mechanics program going for next year,” Bartlett said.

Following the special Assembly meeting, the Finance Committee will continue with its budget discussions. The Committee will hear budget presentations from the Youth Activities Board, Downtown Business Association and Bartlett Regional Hospital. There will also be presentations and discussions about the proposed mill rate, debt services and general government budget balancing options.

Assembly to discuss Airport parking fine, riverbank stabilization plan

The fine for illegally parking in loading/unloading zones at the Juneau International Airport may be rising as it is an item on the agenda for the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s regular meeting at Assembly Chambers at 7 p.m. Monday.

The ordinance the Assembly will be looking over will move the current fine of $25 to $50. At the March 7 Assembly Committee of the Whole work session, Airport Manager Patty Wahto presented the idea of raising the fine to $100 for those who are taking advantage of the loading/unloading zones. The increase was agreed on by the Airport Board after it revisited the issue.

However, City Manager Rorie Watt said in Monday’s agenda that he has heard from the public and a “$100 fine conveys an unwelcoming message at the primary gateway to Juneau.” Because of this, the recommendation of $50 is being proposed to the Assembly in an effort to balance the needs.

The Assembly will also go over an ordinance that Watt recommends rejecting. The ordinance is a request to appropriate almost $5.1 million for a riverbank stabilization project along Mendenhall River between 9399 Rivercourt Way and 3462 Meander Way.

The issue at hand is that 26 properties along the Mendenhall River are threatened by severe riverbank erosion.

However, Watt’s rejection for this ordinance comes primarily from a substantial number of owners along the riverbank that have indicated they do not want or need the project. There is also a fear that litigation would be likely because of the cost of the project.


• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at 523-2265 or gphilson@juneauempire.com.


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