Let voters choose among projects

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I have always been in favor of the sales tax measures as a great way for Juneau to provide many needs for our community such as the recent police station project and the current addition and remodel of Bartlett Regional Hospital.

The current thinking at City Hall about the upcoming temporary 1 percent sales tax ballot options has me concerned. Rather than lumping all of the wish-list projects together, how hard can it be to itemize them for voters to pick and choose what we want?

The needs and wants of this community are being jumbled together in one "sink or swim" proposition. I believe Juneau would be better served by allowing us to select what we perceive to be our true needs at this time.

Our most important basic need right now is to improve our infrastructure.

Sewer and water service may not be as exciting to think about as a water park, but it is vital for Juneau to focus on expanding our systems for a variety of reasons. The money spent now on sewer and water lines throughout the borough would open up much-needed residential land for the moderate income families to be able to purchase a home.

The recreation/water park center should be the last thing on our list of priorities. The Alaska Club has tried to work with the city and made the offer to allow non-members to have access to their planned swimming pool. Why not get a pool for free?

The recreation center might be nice to have, but I feel the $28 million-plus for it is not something we need right at this time. What about the ongoing costs of operations?

The airport improvements are critical for Juneau's future also. Juneau needs to work to make our capital city accessible and safe for its travelers.

The Environmental Impact Statement for the North Douglas crossing, docks and harbors improvements, and the other wish list items are all important and are likely worthwhile things to support as well, but I for one would like to have the option of selecting each one on its own merits.

The Assembly should design the ballot to take the burden off of their shoulders of guessing or polling to see what the public wants. Let us choose.

Scott Spickler

Juneau



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