Assembly: Auke Bay Elementary to get renovation funds

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Auke Bay Elementary school will get $18.7 million for renovations, while an assemblyman and citizen voiced concern about the project.

The City Assembly approved the funds 8-1 Monday night, with Assemblyman Randy Wanamaker dissenting.

Resident Mary Anderson said she had the opportunity several years ago to work on a partial condition survey for reroofing the elementary school.

“In my opinion, it is the worst designed structurally,” she said. “If all things were financially equal, I would like to see the whole school torn down and rebuilt. That said ... I strongly recommend the bond issue be put out for the voters.”

Wanamaker shared Anderson’s concerns, adding that he would not support funding renovations at that school.

“I believe the district is missing an opportunity to examine a school in the Lemon Creek area,” he said. “It deserves its own neighborhood school and this may be the opportunity. I share the opinion Auke Bay is not the facility we would like to see our children in. The money spent renovating is not the best way to spend resources.”

Wanamaker suggested giving taxpayers a break and urging the school district to examine whether a new school could be built in Lemon Creek or Auke Bay. He suggested they also look at combining schools due to declining enrollment.

In other business, the assembly approved raising water and wastewater rates in another 8-1 vote with Wanamaker again dissenting.

The ordinance increases service rates by 7 percent, effective immediately for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 and again in fiscal year 2012.

The ordinance was drafted to maintain ongoing operations and expenses, capital-related replacements, debt service and financing and other financial considerations.

Resident Wilma Kirkpatrick said she’s on a fixed income and currently pays $83 for water — just by herself. She said the water should be metered just like electric and people should pay for what they actually use. Kirkpatrick noted that she uses far less water than a couple with children would.

Assemblyman Jonathan Anderson said that has been discussed and explained in a number of meetings. He said Public Works Director Joe Buck is organizing a study and having a consultant come up and evaluate those city functions, including what it would cost to do metering.

“I’m a particular fan of metering as well,” he said. “We’re supposed to get that data soon on what that would cost.”

Wanamaker said he would not support the increase at this time because the study wasn’t complete.

“I don’t think there’s enough evidence that it’s warranted,” he said. “We don’t know if we’re overcharging, undercharging. We don’t know that. We have not gained the knowledge we need to justify another rate increase.”

• Contact Sarah Day at 523-2279 or sarah.day@juneauempire.com

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