The results of last week’s municipal election are now official, but the way the approved ballot propositions are implemented could still change.
Juneau voters approved an increase to the local hotel bed tax and municipal debt to fund improvements to Centennial Hall, but soundly rejected a city grant to help build a new arts and culture center.
Even though voters passed two out of three propositions, City Manager Rorie Watt said the Juneau Assembly has the final say on appropriating city funds.
Proposition 1 authorizes a 2% increase to the local hotel bed tax for 15 years. That’s expected to raise $440,000 annually, which is intended to be used for Centennial Hall improvements. But the Assembly could decide to lower the tax rate or change the length of time it lasts.
It’s likewise with Proposition 2, which authorizes the city to take on $7 million in debt to finance repairs to Centennial Hall.
“They are not required to sell $7 million in bonds,” Watt said. “They could sell a lesser amount, or they could pay the debt not out of property tax.”
The Assembly also doesn’t need voter approval to appropriate money toward a new Juneau Arts and Culture Center, even though that was the question posed to voters with Proposition 3.
“There is no legal requirement for the Assembly to consult with the voters on that, they just thought it was prudent to do so,” Watt said. “There’s no legal requirement for the Assembly to follow the advice of the voters.”
Still, he pointed out, the Assembly is unlikely to make significant changes to what voters decided.
Supporters of the New JACC have said they will continue working to replace the aging building, with or without city support. As of Oct. 9, they have raised about 21% of their $26.4 million goal, according to the project’s website.
The results of the Oct. 1 election were certified Tuesday by the Canvass Review Board at City Hall. Voter turnout was 31.4%.
Wade Bryson, Carole Triem and Greg Smith each won a three-year term on the Assembly, and Alicia Hughes-Skandijs won a one-year seat.
Deedie Sorensen and Emil Mackey won seats on the school board.