A tax on seniors for questionable expenses

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, November 25, 2005

After 40 years of living in Juneau, I have become eligible for senior tax benefits, which were a consideration for remaining in Juneau after retirement. Unfortunately, the tax-and-spend philosophy of the leaders of this community is driving me out of Juneau because they may eliminate that benefit. My basic economics are that if my checkbook runs low, I stop spending. Obviously, those who control the purse strings of this town have never considered cutting back when things slow down a bit. A few items City Hall might look at to save or make money could be as follows:

Salaries: Did you know we imported a ports director who receives an annual salary of $140,000?

The borough could revoke a tideland lease downtown. The borough is receiving $25,000 for this lease; however, the holder of the lease is making millions off that land that could be going to the borough.

How many borough employees are double-dipping? That means collecting both a retirement salary and a borough paycheck paid from our taxes. You could start by looking inside the $10 million Taj Mahal at Lemon Creek.

We voted down a second high school twice and it was finally approved with the provision that it would have no frills. Now we are beginning the process of voting for a $28 million swimming pool "under separate cover." I have every confidence that and more will be back on the ballot.

Last summer I drove by Rotary Park. There were three borough pickup trucks, a backhoe, a lowboy and eight men on park grass. My thought was that something major was about to happen. That evening I drove by the park again and a new tree had been planted.

I have other concerns such as whether anyone in City Hall had private business dealings with the owners of Merchants Wharf. Has anyone in City Hall built a retail store on land leased from the borough to another party? Why are we going to pay millions so tourists can walk from their cruise ship to the Douglas Bridge? Don't we have a sidewalk from downtown to the Douglas Bridge? All the planned new retail buildings along the proposed "sea walk" will spread the ghost-town effect from South Franklin toward the bridge during the non-summer months.

Michael W. Millar

Juneau



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