Tuesday is Election Day in Juneau. The polls open at 7 a.m., but voters can still cast absentee and early ballots today (Monday) at City Hall downtown, or the Mendenhall Mall polling station.
Early voting for the municipal election has been steady, but slow, according to City Clerk Laurie Sica.
She says the last count was done on Wednesday – when 175 fewer voters than last year had cast early and absentee ballots.
Three Juneau Assembly and two school board seats are up for election. One citizen’s initiative and four other measures are on the ballot.
The Assembly Areawide seat is the biggest contest with three candidates: Geny Del Rosario, Loren Jones and Carlton Smith.
Two candidates – Brad Fluetsch and Jesse Kiehl — are running for the District One seat, and Randy Wanamaker is unopposed for District Two.
While Juneau Assembly districts mirror the city and borough’s seats for state House, the Assembly is elected areawide.
“Every voter can vote for every candidate on the ballot, there’s no restriction,” Sica says. “Candidates must live in the district it was the idea of the assembly when they wrote the charter that they’d have some assurance that not all the candidates came from downtown, valley or Douglas. So that was just one way to make sure there was some representation from different parts of the community.”
Five issues are on this year’s ballot: Proposition One would change financial reporting requirements for Juneau public officials: Assembly, School Board, and Planning Commission as well as the city manager. Instead of filing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, they would file less detailed forms with the CBJ. A major difference is that the amount and source of income over one-thousand dollars would not have to be reported.
Proposition Two calls for an extension of Juneau’s three percent sales tax. It covers police, fire and ambulance service, street maintenance and improvements, as well as some city operations, public services and youth activities. Some of the tax also goes into a savings account.
Proposition Three would authorize the sale of one-point-four million dollars in general obligation bonds for a new heating system at Auke Bay Elementary School. A ground-source heat pump has been determined to be the most energy efficient system for the school, and will reduce operation and maintenance costs over the long-term.
The annual property tax impact would be about one-dollar and 21-cents per one-hundred-thousand dollars of assessed value.
Proposition Four calls for just under one-point-two million dollars in bonds for a new athletic field at Adair Kennedy Park in the Mendenhall Valley. The artificial turf was the first installed in Juneau. After 11 years of heavy use by school athletic teams, it is old and worn out.
The annual impact to property taxes for the turf field bonds is approximately one-dollar and four-cents per one-hundred-thousand dollars of assessed value.
Both propositions three and four qualify for 70 percent reimbursement by the state education department’s debt reimbursement program.
Proposition Five is a citizens’ initiative aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags. It would impose a 15-cent tax on each plastic shopping bag provided by Juneau’s largest retailers — Safeway, Walmart, Home Depot and Fred Meyer.
The polls open tomorrow at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Election Central this year is at City Hall Assembly Chambers.
- The state's Palmer Correctional Facility is slated to close. It's a money-saving measure called for by Gov. Bill Walker.
- Metlakatla Democratic National Convention delegate Gavin Hudson campaigned for Bernie Sanders. But he's in Hillary Clinton's camp now.
- Researchers think they’ve found a new species of whale in Western Alaska. A new study is identifying the find as a relative of the Baird’s beaked whale.
- Anchorage is assigning more police to handle drunk drivers. A federal grant is paying for a new patrol unit.