Projects, tax aren't needed

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2005

Juneau continues to perplex me. After raising assessed property values to record levels, our city found itself so drenched in money that it decided to temporarily lower the mill rate. Or put more accurately, Juneau decided to temporarily lower one tax to pacify and trick the population into agreeing to extend the sales tax for nearly a decade.

What does Juneau want to spend the money on? First of all, let's explore expanding the Juneau International Airport. The only major airline currently has only 11 passenger departures per day, and during most hours, the airport is pretty much empty. Show up two hours prior to departure, and the coffee and gift shops aren't even open. We don't need to spend tens of millions of dollars expanding our ghost-town airport. That money would be better spent building a road so Juneauites could actually afford to leave town when they wanted.

Secondly, let's consider the logic of spending $26 million on an aquatic facility built across the street from a swimming pool. There is no sense in forcing families downtown and in Douglas to pay more money for medicine, heating fuel and food so folks in the valley can have their aquatic playground. I live only a mile from the proposed aquatic facility and would frequent it just as often as I do the Douglas ice skating rink; never.

Our city already has swimming pools open to the public. Down South, construction of pay-per-use aquatic facilities are financed by for-profit companies. If there was really a market for a big water playground, it would have, or will be, built without our tax dollars.

The final proposal about extending sewer lines and harbors may seem like a fine idea, but remember that our Juneau has so much money it had to lower the mill rate. Don't be fooled. If tax payers don't pay to extend sewer lines, developers will. Let the companies making huge profits developing land practically given to them by the city pay to lay the sewer pipes.

We don't need more taxes. We need intelligent distribution of the monies Juneau already has.

Steve Robertson


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