Juneau's junk car roundup managed to herd together 754 heaps and to barge them away in March. And the Juneau Assembly at its Monday night meeting extended the program for at least one weekend.
The program originally had set a goal of amassing 200 junkers at a cost to the city of $15,000. But Juneau Junkbuster Dan Garcia, the city's environmental zoning officer, expected more wrecks than he had money for and made a bid for an extra subsidy from the Assembly in February.
The Assembly did give more, but City Manager Dave Palmer said Monday night that the city is "short $112,000" on what has turned out to be a hugely popular program. Palmer said he planned to ask the city finance director to find funding in the budget to cover the deficit.
The Assembly did commit in February to "about $50,000 or $60,000," said Deputy Mayor John MacKinnon. "But this is a real success, and we plan to continue with the roundup."
MacKinnon said the alternative is more expensive and cited a city effort to rid itself of a few dozen abandoned cars last year. "That cost the city $30,000 or $40,000, and that was for a lot fewer cars," he said.
Residents taking part in March's roundup brought their
vehicles to a site near Costco, paid a $50 fee and assisted city staff with the paperwork. Without the city subsidy, the cost of junk car disposal had been ranging between $300 and $400.
The roundup's per-vehicle cost to the city has been $190, Palmer said, and residents taking part in the program extension will be expected to pay $150.
MacKinnon said there was no shortage of junk cars in Juneau. The private operator of the city dump some years ago estimated the facility took in 800 to 1,000 wrecks a year, MacKinnon said.
The Assembly on Monday voted unanimously to extend the program, although Assembly member Dale Anderson complained about the cost to the city.
MacKinnon countered that even with the subsidy, the city comes out ahead.
"If the city takes it upon itself to drag a junk car out of Montana Creek, the bill can be many hundreds of dollars," he said.
The company barging the derelicts out of the state, Channel Construction, plans to return the barge to Juneau by mid-April.
Junkbuster Garcia said the roundup will continue this Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and possibly the following weekend. Citizens are asked to take their vehicles to 1725 Anka St., the road off Glacier Highway to Costco.
Fernand Chandonnet can be reached at email@example.com.
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