Let voters decide

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I have always been in favor of the sales tax measures as long as I can remember. It's a great way for Juneau to provide many needs for our community such as the police station and the Bartlett Regional Hospital addition and remodel.

The current thinking at city hall about the proposed ballot options has me concerned. Rather than lumping all wish list items together, how hard can it be to itemize them for voters to pick and choose what we want?

From what I understand, the needs and wants of this community are being jumbled together in one "sink or swim" proposition. Our community would be better served by allowing us to select what we as voters perceive to be our true needs.

Our most important basic need right now is to improve our infrastructure. Sewer and water service aren't as exciting as a water park, but it is vital for Juneau to focus on the expansion of our systems. The expansion would open up more residential lands to enable moderate income families to own homes. We should be allocating $30 million or more to get started as it will only cost more in the future.

The recreation center to me should be the last thing on our list of priorities. The Alaska Club has tried to work with the city to build a facility at no cost to taxpayers. Why not get it for free? The recreation center might be nice, but I feel $28 million for it isn't something Juneau has to have right now. What about the ongoing operating costs?

The airport improvements are critical for Juneau's future too. Airport safety and access to the capital should be a priority.

The EIS for the North Douglas crossing, docks and harbors funding, the additional chair lift for Eaglecrest, and the downtown transit and parking items are likely worthwhile things to support as well. I would like the option to select each one on it's own merits.

I cannot understand why the mayor and some of the assembly are afraid to allow voters to pick and choose what projects we want to pay for. Design the ballot to take the burden off of their shoulders instead of guessing what we want. We should be able to figure it out. Just give us the opportunity to vote for what we want.

Scott Spickler


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