Juneau City Manager Kim Kiefer is expected to detail her proposed budget cuts to the Assembly Finance Committee on Wednesday, as the city faces a $12 million shortfall over the next two budget years.
On Tuesday, Kiefer told the city’s Aquatics Facilities Advisory Board she would recommend temporarily mothballing the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool downtown. According advisory board member Tom Rutecki, the pool would close Nov. 4 this year through either the mid-2015 or mid-2016. During the closure the city would assess the cost of renovating the facility.
Rutecki says the manager did not mention how the plan would impact employees. He says hours would be extended at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center in the Mendenhall Valley.
Kiefer was unavailable for comment.
Rutecki says closing the pool would affect many Juneau residents, including students taking water safety courses, seniors in water aerobics classes and members of the Glacier Swim Club.
“There’s a pretty strong clientele that goes down there, especially people right now—legislators use it and state office workers at noon. And in the morning the place is packed, if you go to the 6 o’clock lap swim it’s like 3 to 4 people to a lane,” Rutecki says.
He says he suggested to the manager that the city lease or rent the pool to the Glacier Swim Club, which has a wait list for people wanting to join.
Kiefer told the committee that there would be cuts to other Parks and Recreation programs discussed in the finance committee meeting.
- The Juneau Assembly declined to pass a broaden sales tax exemption for seniors. Opposition from businesses prodded elected officials to refer the initiative back to committee.
- Fines for pet owners whose for critters scooped up by animal control officers have gone up. The fees hadn't been adjusted for nearly 17 years.
- Local education officials are applying for state money to replace and repair leaky roofs at several Juneau schools. About $5 million is coming in over the next five years earmarked for school maintenance from sales tax money that voters approved in the Oct. 3 election.
- "They’re calling it GTA, grand theft Anchorage, right now," said Rep. Lora Reinbold, who says she wants to repeal Senate Bill 91. "It’s outrageous, what’s going on in the city that I love.”