Kate Troll sworn in to Juneau Assembly

City Attorney Amy Mead (left) swears in new Assembly member Kate Troll. Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO.

Kate Troll was sworn in to the Juneau Assembly last night.

Troll won the only contested race in this year’s municipal election, beating Bill Peters for an area-wide seat.

She replaces Johan Dybdahl, who served the maximum three consecutive terms, or nine years, on the Assembly. Dybdahl, who is Tlingit, was honored with a set of Native paddles as a parting gift. The paddles were presented to him by Sealaska Native Corporation Executive Vice President Rick Harris and Mayor Merrill Sanford.

Assembly members Mary Becker and Karen Crane were sworn in to their second terms on the Assembly before last night’s meeting. Both ran unopposed.

Economic Development Plan funding approved

The Juneau Assembly last night voted 5-3 in favor of spending $100,000 on a municipal economic development plan.

Assembly member Loren Jones voted against the funding ordinance. He said he’s not opposed to the city and borough having a plan, but he believes the Juneau Economic Development Council is already in a position to produce one.

“By an ordinance we established the Juneau Economic Development Council as the economic committee for the borough, and we seem to be bypassing that particular group,” Jones said.

Loren Jones October 14 2013

Assembly member Loren Jones. Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO.

The city will pay for the plan with funds from old capital projects that came in under budget. Jones said he thinks the funding should go through the Assembly’s normal budget process, rather than be appropriated in the middle of a fiscal year.

Assembly members Jesse Kiehl and Kate Troll joined Jones in voting no on the ordinance.

Assembly member Carlton Smith has been the main proponent of the city creating an economic development plan. He was absent from last night’s meeting.

The project went out to bid last week. Bids are due November 26th.

Parking Manager funds nixed

The Assembly last night failed to approve $50,000 requested by the city administration to hire a parking manager for the rest of this fiscal year.

Some Assembly members had concerns the position would continue beyond that. Assemblyman Jerry Nankervis says local government is already too big.

“This looks to me like an increase in government. I can’t see any way that it’s not an increase in the cost of government,” Nankervis said. “And I would argue that there are less complaints about parking downtown than there ever have been since my experience. The increases in parking garage spaces that have pay boxes, those seem like those should be pretty easy to supervise.”

The City Manager’s office requested the position to implement the CBJ Downtown Parking Management Plan, adopted by the Assembly in 2010. The plan is currently being implemented by staff from the Community Development and Parks and Recreation departments. Nankervis – a former police officer – suggested the Juneau Police Department could take on some of those tasks.

The funding ordinance failed on a tie vote, 4-4. Assembly members Randy Wanamaker, Mary Becker and Loren Jones joined Nankervis in voting no. Mayor Merrill Sanford and Assembly members Karen Crane, Jesse Kiehl and Kate Troll voted for it. Assemblyman Carlton Smith was absent.

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