An ordinance changing how the City and Borough of Juneau handles civil fines, such as parking tickets, is on its way to the full Juneau Assembly for action.
The ordinance was introduced at a special meeting last week after city officials were alerted to a recent Alaska Supreme Court order that nullified civil citations not delivered to an alleged offender in-person. Parking tickets, of course, are often attached to windshields while the person being cited is away.
City Attorney John Hartle told the Assembly Committee of the Whole on Monday that the proposed ordinance addresses the rule change by simply changing the type of citation being issued.
“They’d no longer be an infraction, they would become an offense and subject to a civil fine,” Hartle said. “And then, challenges to those tickets would be heard by a CBJ hearing officer.”
City Manager Kim Kiefer said the city would train a handful of CBJ employees to be hearing officers. She said the City of Ketchikan has the city manager’s secretary handle parking ticket appeals.
“We’re going to need to have more than one,” Kiefer said. “Because we’re going to have to have traffic court probably every week, and have somebody there for a couple hours, and people will be on vacation.”
Hartle said the ordinance has been changed from the version introduced last week to allow Juneau Police to issue offense citations to people who violate the city’s wood smoke and garbage ordinances. In addition, the parking section was amended to allow citations at Juneau International Airport.
The ordinance with changes was forwarded to the full Assembly for action at its regular meeting next week.
The state Supreme Court order that nullified parking tickets was in response to a housekeeping measure approved by the Alaska Legislature in 2010.
City Attorney job announcement approved
Also Monday, the Assembly Committee of the Whole approved a job announcement and advertising budget for a new city attorney to replace Hartle, who will retire June 30th.
Hartle announced on April 22nd that he would be stepping down after 20 years with the CBJ Law Department, the last 10 as city attorney.
The Assembly’s City Attorney Search Subcommittee met twice to craft the job announcement. It will appear in the state’s three largest newspapers, as well as on the CBJ and Alaska Bar Association websites, and the Alaska Municipal Attorneys Association email list. The Committee of the Whole approved an advertising budget of up to $3,000.
The Assembly will start reviewing applications June 10th.
City Attorney and City Manager are the only two positions hired by the Juneau Assembly.
- The state is granting nearly $300,000 to improve water quality in some of Alaska's most damaged watersheds, including Juneau's orange-tinted Duck Creek.
- More than a third of all the penalties imposed since 1976 were logged last year.
- "You know, we're not talking about some smoky, old wood stove here. We’re talking about high-tech equipment," said Daniel Parrent, a program manager at the U.S. Forest Service.
- "Did you think that ganging together seven different taxes would make it more likely or less likely that any would pass?” asked Eagle River Republican Rep. Dan Saddler.