Assembly candidates speak on Juneau ballot measures

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau League of Woman Voters, in partnership with Juneau Empire, KTOO, and KINY, held a city candidate forum Wednesday evening.

    There are four ballot questions being put to Juneau voters this year.

    Proposition No. 1 would authorize the issuance of $35,000,000 in general obligation bond debt for paying the cost of planning, design, and construction of a new city hall facility.

    Proposition No. 2 would authorize the issuance of $6,600,000 in general obligation bond debt for paying the cost of construction and equipment for improvements to the Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, as well as areawide trail maintenance. The funding would also cover the construction of a new public use cabin, similar to Amalga Cabin.

    Proposition No. 3  asks voters whether to approve the 1% temporary sales tax for designated projects. The extension has been used for capital improvements, to enhance budget reserves, to pay down school construction debt and to fund other major projects.

    Proposition No. 4 is a referendum petition that proposes to repeal City and Borough of Juneau Code section 15.05.105 which relates to the confidentiality and disclosure of real estate values in transactions and would include the repeal of Ordinance 2020-47(am) entitled “An Ordinance Regarding Disclosure of Real Estate Values in Transactions” and Ordinance 2022-13 entitled “An Ordinance Repealing the Confidentiality Provision for Real Estate Transaction Disclosures and Establishing a Penalty for Failure to Disclose a Real Estate Transaction.”

    Wednesday's forum featured incumbent candidates Carole Triem, Greg Smith, and Wade Bryson. The three were asked, "which ballot measure outcome are you the most interested in?"

    Triem said the mandatory disclosure question is going to be most unpredictable, adding that there's "a lot of misinformation out there."

    "Mandatory disclosure will help lower the property taxes bill in low income homeowners because we'll even that out with the higher-income properties that don't come on the market quite as frequently," Triem said. "I also want to say that, having that information out there in the housing market - this crazy housing market that we've seen - will only help buyers and sellers when they have a full transparent view of the housing market. They'll be able to make the best decisions based on that and not have that kind of be secretive and kept, you know, by the experts who will dole that information out when they feel that it will benefit them. So I would urge people to vote against that, to vote now on the mandatory disclosure."

    Smith advocated for the passage of the 1% sales tax extension.

    "Very key one is the 1% sales tax," he said. "It's asked every five years of the voters and it is essentially extending the 1% sales tax that we currently have, and it provides funding money to invest in our community. It has deferred maintenance for city and school facilities, docks and harbors, development of Telephone hill, working on the parking garage and North SOB parking garage, energy efficiency improvements in the city as well as some money, which is kind of unusual for a program but it's something that we've talked about before that's so critical: childcare. So I'm hoping that will be supported and people will vote for the one extending the 1% sales tax."

    Bryson urged voters to vote for the bond package for a new city hall.

    I've been heading up the conversation as the Chair of Public Works in facilities and we were responsible with coming up with the best solution for City Hall. Were in an inadequate under sized old building and we pay rent for two thirds of city government operations. I truly believe we came up with the very best outcome, the best product that will provide the longest life for the most Juneauites. I strongly ask the community to please support yes on a new city hall."

    Ballots for this year's city election were mailed out on 13th, election day is October 4th.

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