Sales tax, school bond propositions approved

It was no problem to convince Juneau voters to approve the 3 percent sales tax extension.

Proposition 2 passed on a vote of 4,286 to 1,722. The sales tax funds essential services – police, fire, ambulance service, street maintenance and snow removal as well as road and sidewalk improvements, sewer and water, and youth activities.

Some of it is also saved in the Budget Reserve as a rainy day fund for emergencies.

The 3 percent tax would have expired in July of next year. Now it will be collected until the middle of 2017. The year before it is set to expire, the city will put an extension on the ballot again.

CBJ sales taxes are made of a permanent 1 percent tax, a temporary 1 percent, and the temporary 3 percent.

Juneau voters continue to be strong supporters of education and youth activities, passing two school bond propositions on Tuesday’s municipal election ballot.

Proposition 3 authorizes the sale of one-point-four million dollars in general obligation bonds for a new ground-source heat pump at Auke Bay Elementary School. Proposition 4 authorizes nearly one-point-two million dollars in bonds to replace the 11-year-old artificial turf field at Adair Kennedy Park in the Mendenhall Valley.

Juneau School District Superintendent Glen Gelbrich says both projects are investments in the community’s future.

Superintendent Glen Gelbrich and School Board President Sally Saddler watch election results come in Tuesday at CBJ Election Central. (Photo by Rosemarie Alexander/KTOO)

“One is an investment in a lower cost heating system for our schools, which lowers our costs over time, which is a good investment for us to make as citizens and taxpayers,” Gelbrich says. “The other one is just so typical Juneau, to support facilities that host student activities and to keep kids engaged.”

The annual property tax impact of the school bond measure is about one-dollar and 21-cents per one-hundred-thousand dollars of assessed value. For the turf field, it’s approximately one-dollar and four-cents per one-hundred-thousand dollars.

Both projects qualify for 70 percent reimbursement through the state education department’s debt reimbursement program. In addition, Gelbrich says interest revenue from current projects will be used to pay down part of their cost.

“Just seemed like good fiscal management to make sure that we put the funds that we had to use immediately, and it could mean a bit of break for our taxpayers, and that’s a great thing,” he says.

The unofficial results show Proposition 3 passed with 4,432 yes votes to 1,585 no votes. Proposition 4 had 3,642 yes votes to 2,348 votes against.

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