Assembly chooses top 10 priorities for the year

Posted: Sunday, November 07, 2010

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly's top 10 goals will focus on infrastructure, humanitarian and economic development concerns.

The Assembly met in its annual post-election retreat Saturday to set the tone for the upcoming year. The assembly members filled out a questionnaire with nearly 50 options for priorities prior to Saturday's meeting. Those receiving the most interest were put on a list for the top 20. Items were put on the list for feasibility of being acted on within the year.

The list of 20 was narrowed down after each assembly member had a chance to advocate and discuss the items on the list.

The top 10 priorities of the assembly are (not in a particular order):

• Supporting funding of the new Mental Health Trust building started for state offices.

• Finding ways to promote greater availability and affordability of daycare for young working parents.

• Writing a climate action plan and achieving assembly adoption of the plan before the end of 2011.

• Actively promoting Juneau as the best location for a world-class climate research facility.

• Continuing to support fisheries development in Juneau through infrastructure development.

• Facilitating and supporting a non-profit-led effort to address homelessness in Juneau.

• Undertaking a study regarding the AJ Mine.

• Deciding on a method and timeframe to fund all of the work necessary to get to a final determination as to acceptable locations and designs of a North Douglas Crossing.

• Deciding on the city's role in managing and disposing of Juneau's solid waste stream in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective role.

• Continue seawalk and waterfront improvements, including at the Douglas Bridge.

Other items on the list that did not make the top 10, such as locating and securing an ATV recreation area or supporting state Capitol building improvements will likely go to city committees for more research or work. Subcommittee goals have been drafted and the assembly discussed changes, but 43 subcommittee goals were identified. Assemblyman Jonathan Anderson said many of the "aspirational items" that focused on the long-term were removed for more achievable short-term goals.

Of the top 10, Mayor Bruce Botelho said that there might be renewed interest in the AJ Mine, since countries around the world are looking for gold mining opportunities. He said they typically look in places where gold has been found before. Botelho also gave background on the history of mining-related ordinances in the city, particularly with Echo Bay Mine's prior interest. The city enacted stringent requirements for mines in the late 1980s.

Assemblyman Merril Sanford said he felt childcare should be a general goal of the city since it will be an ongoing concern. Assemblywoman Ruth Danner disagreed, saying it should be a priority to find ways to make Juneau more affordable.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at

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