City's spending habits don't make fiscal sense

Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I must have missed something.

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On one hand, we have articles in the Juneau Empire talking about the city expanding its empire by purchasing the old armory for a performing arts center, about how grand our new high school will be for only another $20 million, and how the city wants to spend a couple of million renovating dilapidated shacks from the Gold Rush days. The list goes on and on.

On the other hand, we have articles about how the city was lucky to get a windfall of money from the state or else it would have had to cut basic infrastructure and services, as well as possibly lay off employees. There are articles on how the Juneau School District barely has any money for a budget and is losing millions of dollars in operating funds. Oh, and of course, the armory building will need to be renovated but should only cost about $70,000. I already anticipate a spot on the next ballot to appropriate $40 million or $50 million to develop a performing arts center.

I really must have missed something, because I can't imagine that our elected officials could really think it makes sense to go around appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars for niceties and then tell us we may have to do without services or that we have to pay even more in property taxes. It's not like we already pay a gob of property taxes or anything, right?

Don't get me wrong. I think a performing arts center would be great. The new high school sounds nice. We should preserve our Gold Rush heritage. But if you can't meet the basic needs of the community, you shouldn't be throwing millions of our dollars around on niceties. Maybe we should cut a bunch of city employees and use the savings to put a hot tub in the Governor's Mansion. It might help keep her in Juneau instead of moving the legislative meetings to other locations in the state.

I'm sure glad I don't work for the city. Too bad they are spending my money, though.

Allen Butner


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