In their official duties, city staff must stay neutral on the ballot questions in the October local election.
City staff said the information would improve the accuracy of property assessments. The referendum supporters say it’s an invasion of privacy that could lead to higher taxes.
To pay for the tax break, the Assembly is considering a year-round sales tax increase, a seasonal sales tax increase or a property tax increase.
In committee, the Juneau Assembly decided to keep property tax rates flat, against the city manager’s recommendation to nudge them up.
If groceries became exempt from sales tax and the sales tax rate went to 6% in the summer, the city’s finance director has estimated that local households would on average save, a summer visitor would pay about $1 extra, and the city would lose about half a million dollars in revenue.
Assembly members chose not to raise property taxes in the city after seeing better-than-expected property values and a potential uptick in tourism.
The Juneau Assembly is nearing the end of its annual budget process with a notably brighter outlook than the one it started with.
City officials know they’re going to have millions of dollars less in sales taxes and cruise ship taxes, but they don’t know for how long because of big, unpredictable factors related to the pandemic.
Juneau property owners should have received property value notices that were mailed out last week. About 60 percent of properties saw their tax bill increase. These went up an average 3.5 percent; though some saw a hike as high as 10 percent.
A combination of new revenues and spending cuts have improved Juneau’s budget picture, but it’s not sustainable yet.