Botelho offers project tax suggestions

By June 28, 2012Local Government

Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho is suggesting a way for the CBJ Assembly to include more projects in a proposed extension of the city’s temporary 1-percent sales tax. KTOO’s Casey Kelly has more.

Bruce Botelho

Bruce Botelho. (Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO)

City departments and at least one nonprofit have submitted more than $68-million in project requests to be included on this fall’s municipal ballot. But if approved, the tax is only expected to bring in about $44.8-million dollars over its five year life.

Instead of trying to cram as many projects into the ballot proposition as possible, Botelho says the assembly could spin off transportation projects into a separate $25-million bond proposition that would cover most airport, docks and harbors and Capital Transit requests.

The mayor offered his idea in a memo to assembly members yesterday (Wednesday), calling it a “starting point” for discussions at tonight’s Assembly Finance Committee meeting. The committee is expected to finalize the project list and forward it to the full assembly for approval.

The temporary 1-percent sales tax is sometimes called the “project tax,” because it’s typically used to fund city construction and maintenance. It’s due to expire in September 2013.

Major projects that could appear in the proposed ballot proposition include more $3-million for upgrades to Centennial Hall, more than $4-million for a new Mendenhall Valley library, and $5-million for a new adolescent mental health facility at Bartlett Regional Hospital. The nonprofit Sealaska Heritage Institute also wants $3-million for a new downtown cultural center.

Botelho recommends the assembly include $1-million for the center. In his memo, the mayor writes that “preservation of Tlingit culture clearly meets … ‘public purpose’ standards.” He also says “The center will be a valuable addition to the community.”

The Finance Committee meets tonight at 5:30 in Assembly Chambers.

Botelho 1-percent sales tax memo [PDF]
Botelho 1-percent sales tax project list [PDF]

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