Assembly introduces ordinance for new JACC

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Assembly approved on-site consumption of marijuana after a lengthy public hearing Monday night.

    Several speakers spoke on the marijuana consumption issue.  Some listed the dangers of second-hand smoke while others talked about the benefits of marijuana to the economy.  The ordinance would allow on-site consumption outdoors at approved marijuana retail stores.  Some speakers urged the Assembly to allow marijuana cafes where shops can sell and let customers use marijuana safely indoors.

    Emily Davis said marijuana smoke has many of the same chemicals that tobacco possesses and can cause respiratory conditions and cancer.  "Everyone deserves the right to breathe smoke-free air," she said.

    She added there aren't many studies that measure the impacts of smoking outside.

    Justin Jones said he didn't want tourists to do anything they want on his ancestral lands and that includes smoking marijuana.

    Ben Wilcox said tobacco is a very different substance than marijuana.  He said marijuana is much safer.   He noted these are local businesses that benefit the economy.

    Tony Warren said he is pro-business and pro-consumer and the CBJ should not turn down any revenue opportunities.

    Assembly member Wade Bryson said if you don't like marijuana smoke you should like this ordinance.  He said this will take the smoke away from the community.  "It does pull marijuana smoke out of the streets.  It will not completely eliminate illegal smoking."

    Assembly member Maria Gladziszewski proposed an amendment to the ordinance to allow the consumption of marijuana edibles indoors and outdoors and smoking only outdoors.  It passed the Assembly (7-1). 

    Mayor Beth Weldon proposed an amendment to allow only vaping of marijuana outdoors at marijuana retail stores and not smoking.  The motion failed (2-6).

    The complete ordinance was approved (7-2) with Mayor Beth Weldon and Assembly member Mary Becker opposed.

    Resolutions approved included one for a new three-year contract for members of the Public Safety Employees Association, AFSCME Local 83, AFL-CIO.  The tentative agreement includes economic modifications to the pay plan and to the employer’s contribution to health insurance. The total costs of this tentative agreement are estimated to be $571,000 in fiscal year 2020, $652,000 in fiscal year 2021, and $735,000 in fiscal year 2022.

    A resolution ratifying the labor agreement between the City and Borough and the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.  The tentative agreement includes economic modifications of annual wage increases of 2%, 1%, and 1% during the three years of the contract, a $500 per employee lump sum payment, and increases to the employer contribution to health insurance of approximately 5% each year for the three years of the contract.

    A resolution urging the Alaska Legislature and Governor to restore funding for the state operating budget to help ensure long term fiscal and economic stability for the citizens of the State of Alaska.

    Ordinances introduced included one that provides for a 4% rate increase for both water and wastewater utilities beginning in January 2020 and 2% rate increases for the 2021-2024 period effective each July 1.

    - An ordinance that would increase the hotel-motel tax from seven to nine percent.  It would raise approximately $440,000 per year.  The last increase was approved in 1988.  This ordinance would last for 15 years.

    - An ordinance that would generate $10 million in general obligation bonds for capital projects.

    - An ordinance that would generate $7 million in general obligation bonds for capital projects.

    - An ordinance calling for an advisory ballot proposition on grant funding for the new Juneau Arts and Culture Center.

    - An ordinance authorizing the manager to spend $4.5 million for a grant for the new JACC.

    - An ordinance appropriating to the manager the sum of $7,500,000 in grant funding for the Juneau Arts and Culture.

    Public hearings on these ordinances will be held on August 19.  Some of the ordinances are expected to be discussed at the next Committee of the Whole meeting.

    The Assembly honored Docks and Harbors Engineer Gary Gillette and CBJ Finance Director Bob Bartholomew upon their retirement.

    The Assembly approved a bid with Pacific Pile & Marine, LP for $4.06 million for phase 3 of the Statter Harbor project.

    The Assembly approved a bid with Trucano Construction Company for $12.37 million for the development of the public portion of the Archipelago project.

    The Assembly approved an ordinance to provide tax abatements for senior housing.  They recently agreed to budget $1.5 million to purchase land in Vintage Park for a senior-related facility.  The ordinance impacts projects of at least 15-units.  It provides a property tax abatement on the full value of newly constructed assisted living units for senior citizens for twelve years.

    The Assembly also agreed to appropriate $1.1 million toward the Airport terminal expansion.

    The Assembly approved a request to rezone approximately 27.88 acres near Vista Drive from a mix of D5 and D18 to D18.  The Planning Commission found that the proposed expansion of the D18 zoning district substantially conforms to the Medium Density Residential designation of the land use maps of the Comprehensive Plan.

    The Assembly accepted grants from the Juneau Rotary Clubs that total $6,345 to help fund the trail improvements along Switzer Creek on the Richard Marriott Trail.  The money will go toward the design and installation of trailhead and trail marker signs.

    The Assembly defeated a motion from Rob Edwardson to repeal the resolution to pursue annexation for the borough.  The vote was (5-3).



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