THE CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU, ALASKA
July 26, 1999
MEETING NO. 99-22: The Regular meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, held in the Assembly Chambers of the Municipal Building, was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Mayor Dennis Egan.
Assembly Present: Garrett, Kibby, MacKinnon, Powell, Egan, Hagevig, Muñoz and Koelsch
Assembly Absent: Perkins
A quorum was present.
Staff Present: Marian Miller, Municipal Clerk; Dave Palmer, City Manager; John Corso, City Attorney; Terese Regan, Clerk’s Office; Steve Gilbertson, Lands and Resources Manager; Ernie Mueller, Public Works Director; Craig Duncan, Finance Director; Dave Miller, Airport Manager
1. 06/07/99 - Regular Meeting No. 99-18
MOTION - by Kibby, to approve the minutes of Regular Meeting No. 99-18, held June 7, 1999, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. Powell noted that on page 13, at the end of the 3rd paragraph, it should be changed to read that Mr. Denton was still in the building business. Mr. Koelsch noted that on page 26 Goot should be spelled Gute and that Greening was spelled wrong.
There being no objection to the minutes as amended, they were approved.
SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS
Mr. Miller, the Airport Manager, addressed the safety concerns at the airport that were brought up by Dr. Tony Reiger at the July 12th meeting. He did not rebut any of the comments made by Dr. Reiger as he felt Dr. Reiger’s intentions were well taken but there were some things about the airport’s existing program that may have been unknown to Dr. Reiger. Regarding the bird strike threat, a hazard to some extent does exist at virtually every airport in the world. In the past nine years there have been 19 reported strikes at the Juneau Airport; five of them caused significant damage to aircraft. Regardless of the strike count, the FAA thinks there can be improvements made and Mr. Miller concurred. Current procedures under an annual permit by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game call for temporary hazing of birds and other wildlife that may cause a hazard to aviation safety. Typically the air traffic controllers are the first to observe a potential hazard and the controllers report it to airport field maintenance personnel. Field maintenance responds with appropriate hazing pyro-technique devices, which are used in synchrony with aircraft arrivals and departures. They do not shoot the birds. Once the aircrafts are clear, the pyro-technique ceases until the next aircraft event or when the birds have left the area. This procedure has proven effective. Dr. Reiger had referred to an 18-month study, which is actually a wildlife hazard study. The airport staff recognized the need for such a study in July 1998. A scope of services was complete in August and in September they knew there would be an initiative on the municipal election that would allow direct negotiations with governmental agencies without going through the RFP process. That initiative passed and the airport staff completed negotiations in November and the contract was signed in December. Fieldwork began in April. The contract calls for a full year of fieldwork with an additional 60 days allowed to complete a final report. In the interim, the airport staff continues its present program while gleaning additional information from the wildlife technician. Staff looked forward to the results of the study and he said it was quite possible there were ways to manage the habitat. He hoped they could enhance the habitat to the south of the airport while making habitats unattractive at the approach and departure ends of the runway. He referred to his testimony at the public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters: It is a matter of safe, safer and safest. Yes, the airport is safe, yes, the airport could be safer. The current program is effective yet they continue to learn better ways to do things.
V. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
Because of the number of people signed up to testify, testimony was limited to two minutes.
Greg O’Claray, 5140 North Douglas Highway. Mr. O’Claray apologized for previous comments he made to Mayor Egan regarding the cruise ship industry. He testified representing the taxi drivers. He previously testified and sent correspondence to the Assembly calling attention to issues that the new affiliate representing the professional taxi drivers in Juneau brought to his attention. He said the Assembly began working on the new commercial passenger vehicle (CPV) code about 16 months ago. In February of 1998 JIDA, the Juneau Independent Driver’s Assoc. was born out of frustration with trying to deal on a concerted basis with government to come up with fair regulations and a fair ordinance for the professional drivers in this town who are wage earners. A good segment of that population was present in the audience at this meeting. The Assembly worked very hard on this issue and referred it to a special task force chaired by Mr. Garrett. During that process, JIDA, represented by their designee, Mr. Shane Williams, worked very hard with the task force to come up with some of the compromises. There were good things in the ordinance that were passed, however he felt there was concern among the drivers as they felt the job was not finished the way it should be. With respect to the definition clause, he renewed his request to reopen the ordinance. The drivers who make their living in this industry feel that there were some broken promises, which he felt might be out of frustration with dealing with this process.
14 people who had originally signed up to testify on this matter waived their time for Mr. O’Claray.
Mr. O’Claray continued and said that if it were referred back to committee, he felt they could expeditiously get to the heart of the matter because there has already been a compromise on the language they were concerned about. He said they had good cooperation with the JPD, with Lt. Fletcher, and as soon as a CPV administrator is hired, he felt it would be even better. They were already starting to make some enforcement. Mr. O’Claray said their major problem was some of the shuttle companies. One of the drivers today came up with the idea that "You can catch an airplane, you can catch a train, you can catch a shuttle but you must call a cab." If people are calling a shuttle operator for pick up, they are acting as a taxi and they need to be defined in the ordinance so that their routes, their schedules and those things that they do are purely what they do in the traditional industry. He said they were not interested in keeping Woodsy from going to pick up someone who has a car repair, that was not the issue. What they were talking about was the blatant violation by some operators of stuffing 22 crew members in a 15 passenger van and telling the city they will do what ever they think they are big enough to do. That has been going on and he said they would be monitoring those activities and reporting through the proper channels; Lt. Fletcher said he would cite them. His industry also understands that they too would be enforced upon and they have committed to the JPD that they will assist in correcting any things that are being done in error by cab drivers. One of the other major problems with the shuttle industry is that, even under the regulations and the ordinance, they are not supposed to wait; they are supposed to come into a zone, deposit their passengers, load whatever is available and leave. That has not been enforced and the shuttle drivers are hawking fares in the traditional areas where taxis make their living. He said they just want the pie that is traditionally allocated to the taxi industry assigned to them. The pie that is traditionally assigned to shuttles, which are fairly new in the business, be assigned to them. He pleaded that their concerns be heard and said they would be happy to attend committee meetings to get this done. This cannot be allowed to go on because there is financial hemorrhaging with the drivers and their families.
Mr. Powell asked if he was suggesting that they reopen the discussion for the definition or to open the whole thing. Mr. O’Claray said that specifically, the definitions that were amended out, the language that had been compromised through the municipal attorney’s office, and the task force committee. He said he had been reviewing the meeting tapes and it appeared that things were going along well until final passage. Then amendments were made that took the shuttle language out. He was talking of a very narrow set of definitions that put in the definitions so that the city would have the authority granted to regulate on those things that needed to be regulated. Mr. Powell clarified that the answer to the question was yes. Mr. O’Claray said yes, very narrow in the ordinance. He added that the taxi drivers and the certificate holders agreed and accepted substantial increases in their fees because they felt that enforcement and regulations would accompany the ordinance so that everyone would be put in their place and that the taxi drivers would be allowed to do their professional thing. The substantial increase in costs was to pay for the budget of enforcement. The drivers were paying on the old enforcement costs about 29%. Now they are being required to pay a much higher percentage.
Gene Norton, Imperial Apartments, Front Street. He said they were glad to have an enforcement officer but the way it was looking, they would be paying all this extra money and they would have an enforcement officer when everyone that they asked the city to enforce would be gone from town and it would not mean anything.
Paula Recchia, 633 5th Street, Douglas. She addressed the Assembly to share in the Mayor’s expression of outrage over the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines admission of systematically treating our waters as a toxic waste site. She said she could not sleep after reading the article and the next morning she noted that the Vision of the Sea would be docking at 7 a.m. She copied information that she had read in the paper and handed it out to the cruise ship passengers so that they could read for themselves. She hoped that the CBJ would consider some sort of independent monitoring system, similar to what is being imposed on the Royal Caribbean ships, for all the cruise ships to protect our water and our air and the cruise ships themselves should be responsible for financing that. She thought if Juneau did this, it could possibly be modified for other cities so that they also could protect their area.
Mr. Powell noted that in the budget that was just passed, there was nothing being done for water and air protection except for air monitoring for wood smoke. There was not a lot being done by the state either. He could not offer any hope because of the cuts in the budget. The republican majority in this legislature chose to cut the state in water quality and most of that cut was in water programs.
Mr. Koelsch commended Mayor Egan for a very stand-up job. He asked how the CBJ dealt with pollution from other sea-faring vessels. Mayor Egan assumed that water pollution would be the Coast Guard’s responsibility. Mayor Egan read a letter that he wrote today to Jack Williams, the President of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line: "It has been almost a week since this community was shocked by the release of a guilty plea by your company from U.S. Attorney Janet Reno regarding 21 felony counts of dumping toxic substances into U.S. waters, including Juneau harbor. As I said last week, it is incorrigible that your company would allow this to happen. It is also incorrigible that the citizens of this community have still not received from you a formal, personal apology. It is obvious to me that you or your company officers don’t realize the righteous anger mounting toward you and Royal Caribbean. Kirk Lanterman, Dean Brown and others should take you and your company to the wood shed and personally radiate the facts to you on what you have done to the relations between the local governments of Southeast Alaska and their citizens. Comments range from passing an ordinance prohibiting Royal Caribbean from entering the CBJ, to charging you a fee of $50 per passenger each time your ship is in our harbor. The consensus for many is that a business that pretends to be environmentally friendly in its advertising but is doing exactly the opposite in its practices, is not welcome. Because of the actions of Royal Caribbean, you are virtually guaranteed passage of at least a $5 passenger fee at our local elections this October. It dismays me that one of your vice presidents met with the City Manager and myself earlier this year and related none of this. He obviously knew what was going on. The end result was that he wanted me to be involved in publicity photos when you gave out some $25,000 in local donations. Looking back on the event now, we forgot a couple of zeros. To reiterate a full page ad in the local newspaper from your PR department is not an apology. I demand a written apology to the citizens of Juneau, better yet, I invite you to Alaska’s capital city and face our 30,000 plus residents so we may discuss your company and its future as it pertains to us. Signed Mayor Egan".
Becky Bear, 1 Mile Montana Creek Road. Testified regarding the Commercial Driver’s license. During the summer she is a taxi driver and the rate for taxi drivers’ licenses just went up to $250. In the summer there is a need for additional taxi drivers to meet the needs of all the people coming to Juneau. $250 for the license, plus the physical, plus the report from DMV, plus the criminal background check, is almost $400 and she encouraged the Assembly to take another look because it was too much. The main topic she wanted to testify about was the derelict vehicles. She said that at the intersection of the Back Loop and the Glacier Highway, for three of the last four weeks there have been three vehicles there. Previously, Debra Purves explained to her that it took time for the city to be able to impound a vehicle because the owner could say their car was broken down. She felt the city ordinance needed to be changed so it would be easier to move derelict vehicles. She said she lives in the area where people come to dump those derelict vehicles so she has had a lot of opportunity over the past 20 years to think about the matter. One of the things she has noticed is there is a direct proportional relationship to derelict vehicles and what is being charged to get rid of derelict vehicles. Her understanding was that it is now $150 to dispose of those cars. People who buy a car with a "Juneau body" will not pay $150 to get rid of that car and there needs to be something at the city level to make it easier to dispose of vehicles when that time comes. She had two suggestions: one would be the possibility of instituting a city sticker. People who bring their cars into Juneau could pay a fee into a fund and if there was a fee for getting rid of the vehicle when the vehicle has ended its useful life, it could come out of the fund. The second thought would be for the city to buy a crusher. The problem also exists with refrigerators because it costs $90 to get rid of a refrigerator, plus the per-footage charge.
B R E A K
7:40 p.m. – 7:50 p.m.
Mr. Kibby asked for the removal of item D1, Contract E99-235.
MOTION - by Garrett, to adopt the Consent Agenda as amended deleting item D1, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
A. Ordinances for Introduction
1. Ordinance No. 99-17 (B)
AN ORDINANCE APPROPRIATING TO THE MANAGER THE SUM OF $48,500 FOR REPAIRS TO THE ONE MILE PORTION OF THE PERSEVERANCE TRAIL BETWEEN THE MT. JUNEAU TRAILHEAD AND THE GRANITE CREEK TRAILHEAD. SUCH FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, DIVISION OF PARKS AND OUTDOOR RECREATION.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this ordinance be introduced and set for public hearing at the next regular meeting.
B. Resolutions: None
C. Transfer Requests: None
D1. Bid Openings
Contract No. E99-235:
BELLEVIEW SUBDIVISION PAVING (LID 85) & WATER IMPROVEMENTS.
Mr. Kibby noted a conflict of interest as his employer, Cave Electric, would be a subcontractor to Glacier State. He was allowed to step down without objection.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended award of this project to Glacier State Contractors, Inc. in the amount bid, for a total award of $1,108,009.00.
Public Participation: None
MOTION – by Hagevig, to adopt Contract No. E99-235, Belleview Subdivision paving, and she asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. Kibby returned to the podium.
1. Ordinance No. 99-18
AN ORDINANCE PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CHARTER OF THE CITY AND BOROUGH TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF THE MUNICIPAL CLERK BY THE ASSEMBLY; AND CALLING FOR AN ELECTION ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE CHARTER SHOULD BE SO AMENDED.
Administrative Report: Attached. As this was a policy decision by the Assembly, the Manager had no recommendation.
Glenn Miller, 305 B Street, Douglas. He noted that the City Clerk, Ms. Miller, was his wife. He read his testimony into the record: "The most important reason the city should separate the manager’s office and clerk’s office is the proper flow of public information. The government can sometimes control information in ways that will determine the outcome of contentious issues. Therefore government officials with a strong stake in the outcome of an issue should formalize the control of the information whenever possible. The clerk’s office is ideally suited to enhance information flow based on procedures, and without regard to the content of the information. The manager’s office has lots of irons in the fire. Almost every piece of information that passes from the assembly to the public and from the public to the assembly has an impact on a department controlled by the manager. If the manager’s office is strongly opposed to or strongly in support of a proposed activity, it can channel the information flow in ways that can make a huge difference to the public. For example, if one person interested in a project gets the information a few days before another person opposed to the project it could be very favorable for that project. Even if the manager’s office never exercises this type of inappropriate information control, the system will always have the potential to be unfair. And people will always perceive it as being unfair. The clerk’s office on the other hand does not have a significant stake in the outcome of most issues addressed by the assembly and the manager’s office. An independent clerk’s office can be counted on to control the flow of information impartially, strictly on a procedural basis, without regard to external considerations. In the CBJ the clerk serves at the pleasure of the manager. Therefore the clerk cannot be considered independent from the manager. If the manager chooses to control information inappropriately, the clerk’s office can not easily rectify the resulting problem. You might ask, if the clerk were under the assembly wouldn’t the same problem still exist? Assembly members often feel strongly about the outcome of projects. Wouldn’t they be able to control the clerk in the same manner as the manager can? I do not believe so. Under the current system the manager has a great deal of control over the clerk’s activities on a daily basis, directly supervising the clerk. With the clerk’s office under the assembly the clerk would have a degree of independence similar to that of the city attorney and the city manager. That level of control is more appropriate if you consider the clerk to be a professional. This brings me to another topic that I find very distressing. The clerk’s position is often characterized as being clerical in nature. In this case, the title "clerk" is misleading. To be effective, a municipal clerk must be a highly trained and knowledgeable individual. A competent municipal clerk must have a detailed working knowledge of the city government structure, its code, and all other laws, policies and procedures associated with operating local government. The record-keeping duties of the municipal clerk require more than just filing. The clerk must be innovative, and ready to exercise the initiative necessary to make improvements. The most important professional aspect is understanding the legal requirements for the flow of information. A great deal of judgment is necessary in order to maintain impartiality as well as the appearance of being impartial at all times. This impartiality is the most critical during the election process. As you know your Clerk is the election official for the CBJ elections. During an election season the clerk must handle many complex issues to insure the integrity of the election process. This is not an assignment for a clerical staff member. Your city clerk and the clerk’s assistant must be highly trained and motivated professionals. The clerk’s office would be able to serve the residents of the CBJ better if it were directly under the supervision of the assembly rather than the city manager."
MOTION - by Garrett, to adopt Ordinance 99-18, and he asked unanimous consent. Mayor Egan objected.
Ayes: Muñoz, Powell, Garrett, Hagevig, Kibby, Koelsch, and MacKinnon
Motion carries 7:1
2. Ordinance No. 99-24
AN ORDINANCE REPEALING THE OFFENSE OF DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this ordinance be adopted.
Public Participation: None
MOTION – by Hagevig, to adopt Ordinance No. 99-24 and she asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
3. Ordinance No. 99-17(A)
AN ORDINANCE APPROPRIATING TO THE MANAGER THE SUM OF $520,000 FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE CALHOUN AVENUE BRIDGE WATERLINE, WEST 8TH AVENUE WATERLINE, LAST CHANCE BASIN IMPROVEMENTS AND SALMON CREEK WATER SOURCE IMPROVEMENTS. SUCH FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE WATER RETAINED EARNINGS.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this ordinance be adopted, but after discussions with Mr. Mueller, he requests that the ordinance be amended to appropriate $220,000 including $120,000 for the Calhoun Avenue bridge waterline and $90,000 for the West 8th Avenue waterline, and deleting from the ordinance the $200,000 from Last Chance Basin rehab and $100,000 for the Salmon Creek Water Source improvements. That work would still need to be done, but a fair amount of other water project work needs to be done as well. Some would have impacts on rates and he would rather bring the whole package to the Assembly as opposed to spending this money now and coming back with revenue impacts on other projects.
Public Participation: None
MOTION - by MacKinnon, to adopt Ordinance 99-17(a) for the purpose of amendment.
Mr. MacKinnon proposed changing the sum in the title and in section two and three to $220,000 from the $520,000 listed.
There being no objection to the amendment, it was so ordered.
Mr. Garrett, proposed deleting all references to Last Chance Basin improvements and Salmon Creek Water Source improvements.
Mr. MacKinnon accepted the friendly amendment. There being no objection to the amended amendment, it was so ordered.
There being no objection to the ordinance as amended, it was so ordered.
A. Manager’s Report - Action Items
1. Juneau Youth Services Land Trade
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that the Assembly adopt the Lands Committee recommendation that the Manager be authorized to enter into negotiations with Juneau Youth Services for the trade of the 7 Mile property for the Montana Creek property owned by JYS.
Ms. Hagevig asked if at the point that negotiations are completed, would the city know whether or not the value of the wetlands could be banked for future mitigation. Mr. Palmer said he would make sure to have that information.
Ms. Hagevig asked whether or not the city was currently collecting property tax on this property. She understood it would be equal value at the appraised level, but she was interested in the assessed valuation and the amount of property tax that was being collected. Mr. Palmer said the city was collecting property tax. He clarified that she wanted that included in the total equation of the equal value.
Mayor Egan asked if this would in way affect the negotiations and trades the city has between the Alaska National Guard Dept. of Military Affairs, and the Division of Marine Highways, Dept. of Transportation. Mr. Palmer said the National Guard property was separate from this and it had already been transferred. The Alaska Marine Highway folks indicated they were proceeding with a building on property that they already have. Mr. Palmer said he would confirm that.
Mr. Powell thanked staff and JYS for doing this and in doing it in good time. He felt it was a very small piece that completed the big project.
There being no objection, it was so ordered.
B. Manager’s Report - Information Items
Ms. Miller noted the red folder item which was included for information. She stated there was one areawide assembly member for a three-year term, one district one and one district two for a three-year term. There were also three Board of Education members, two for three-year terms and one for a one-year term. The information would be available at the Clerk’s Office, or on the website and scanner. The filing period would be open until August 16, and packets were available including material from APOC which is the first thing anyone running for office needs to do.
C. Attorney’s Report
1. Passenger Fee Initiative
Mr. Corso referred to his memo of July 21, which was included in the packet.
Mayor Egan said he met with Mr. Corso to discuss a few items he had been concerned about that were in the memo. He urged the Assembly to do the same as it was a very complicated issue.
Ms. Muñoz had the following appointment confirmation:
MOTION – by Muñoz, to appoint Donna McKinley to the ADA Committee. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Muñoz, to appoint Gary Hogins to the Eaglecrest Ski Area Board. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Muñoz, to appoint Ian Fisk and Marie Helm to the International Relations Advisory Committee. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Muñoz, to appoint Virginia Blaisdell and John H. White to the Youth Activities Board. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Ms. Muñoz noted that the issue of the bus passes was brought to them by Capital Transit. Every department within city government had to look at cuts and they received a report in March or April from Capital Transit on a proposal to raise funds. This proposal received further consideration in the HRC.
Mr. Kibby asked to be placed on the agenda for the COW before the end of his term.
Mayor Egan said the Alaska Committee would not meet again until the end of August.
Mr. Koelsch said that last Tuesday, the Juneau Thane Transportation open house was held. Thursday they were at Gruening Park for the Lemon Creek open house and this Tuesday it would be at Chapel by the Lake from 7-9 and Wednesday from 7-9 at the Mendenhall Library. The following Wednesday would be in Douglas and he would report back on the location and time. That would complete the open houses for the Transportation committee. He clarified that he received direction at their meeting on the Marine Park Deck-over Project that the Transportation Committee was suppose to investigate bus parking and some of the transportation difficulties in that area. Mayor Egan added that the Harbor Board would be meeting Thursday, as a COW, and instructing their engineer to put on a chart exactly what the Assembly told them to do. They would then bring that back to another COW meeting so there would have to be a COW before September. Next it would be taken to the Planning Commission with the Assembly’s direction.
Mayor Egan clarified the meeting was not very well attended at Gruening Park, but there were a lot of good comments. Mr. Koelsch said it was also very information to be able to talk with staff.
Mr. Koelsch asked for a written or oral update on the Assembly goals, the ones that were going to be worked on this year. He wanted an update on the status of Perseverance Trail and the Marine Highway building. Mr. Palmer was directed to provide that at the next meeting.
Mr. Koelsch noted the comments in the paper with regards to pollution and how the ferry and Coast Guard handled their pollutants. He would like to know how stuff is disposed of from private yachts and boats and he asked if there were facilities in Juneau to deal with that. Mr. Palmer was directed to have someone from the Coast Guard provide a brief overview. He also thought it would be helpful to have Mr. Graham give a review of what goes on on the uplands. Mayor Egan said it was a Coast Guard issue and there were no city facilities, only for marine waste disposal; the Coast Guard is responsible for waste oil. The harbors have oil disposal areas but if someone violates regulations by pumping their bilge, it is the Coast Guards responsibility throughout all of Alaska, not just Juneau.
Mr. Powell noted that his department was working on best management practices around harbors, specifically in Southeast. He said it was not necessarily an issue of a big spill, but the cumulative affect of the small ones that have the most effect in the harbors. He said there is some control over and responsibility for what is done once a boat pulls into its slip and is at the harbor and he offered to speak with Mr. Palmer about helping with the presentation.
Mr. Koelsch was concerned that there were no Finance Committee meetings scheduled. The Assembly had told the School Board they would work out a budget together, or work out a budget that would not break the bank. There were other issues that needed to be taken care of including any sort of revenue enhancement which better be done before getting a budget in December and trying to figure out where to go from there. Mayor Egan directed Mr. Palmer to get with Mr. Perkins upon his return to schedule a brief meeting. He went on to say that the Alaska Conference of Mayors and the Alaska Municipal League Board of Directors would be meeting August 28-30 to get an update on the fiscal status of state government and exactly what is going to be occurring in the early stages of next year. He thought it would be better to have a meeting before that and then get an update when the August meeting occurs.
Ms. Hagevig thought the discussion would start at the AML Legislative Committee meetings that would be held in Anchorage this Thursday and Friday. Her understanding was that herself, Mr. Kibby and Mr. Powell would be in attendance at those meetings. They should be able to report back with information in order to begin solid discussions.
Mr. Koelsch brought up the issue of disposal of abandoned vehicles and he asked for an update. Mayor Egan directed a report from Laurie Sica be presented at a future Assembly meeting. Mr. Kibby had been involved with the committee and he said they had several ideals they would like to pass on to Mr. Perkins as this would be part of the fiscal implications for next year. Mr. Palmer added that the Finance Dept. had done some research and found there was a legal issue which was to determine whether or not the CBJ imposed a per vehicle charge on the license, if that would preclude the tax collected as personal property on motor vehicle. The answer was yes, it does and they have worked out a schedule which essentially establishes a fee schedule similar to the amount it is now, only it would be a fee instead of a tax. If the city imposed a $10 per year license fee on motor vehicles, with a sliding scale that is higher for the other vehicles that are presently subject to a tax, we would collect enough money to implement a vehicle disposal program similar to the hazardous waste disposal. He said they were ready to bring that to the Assembly at any time and it could be a Finance meeting or COW. He added that there was some sense of urgency to get an ordinance in place soon. Mayor Egan directed Mr. Palmer to get together with Mr. Perkins to schedule the matter.
Mr. Koelsch brought up the enforcement of the CPV regulations and said it appeared the fees were being collected, but he asked if there was anyone enforcing the regulations. Mr. Palmer said there were three CSOs on staff but one was out of the country due to a death in the family. The remaining two officers, plus the bicycle patrol, have been alerted to the issue and have been asked to step up enforcement. The regulations went into effect mid-July and they have received applications for Certificates of Public Convenience which are being reviewed right now. He said the certificates contained a lot of the enforcement criteria that needed to be in place, although there were some things they could enforce right now under the current regulations. They have a new CSO lined up who will probably begin work in two weeks and would be working as the administrator for the program. Mr. Koelsch clarified that out of the additional fees that were being collected, there would be one additional administrative person. Mr. Palmer said the one CSO was funded by the program. Mr. Garrett added that the fees were prorated for the first year so that people did not pay the full assessment for the first years because it was not for a full season.
Ms. Muñoz said the issue of impromptu calls continues to be a problem and she asked how that would be dealt with. Mr. Palmer said that the certificate issued for the shuttle operators would specify where their stops were and the operators would not be prohibited from responding to calls from stops listed on their certificate. There had been a lot of discussion about whether or not shuttles should be required to have a schedule and simply stay on that schedule but the decision was no, rather to define specific stops. Ms. Muñoz asked if the Assembly wanted to follow up on Mr. O’Claray’s request and take the issue under further consideration and add further clarity to the issue of shuttles. Mr. Garrett said this issue consumed the most debate from within the task force and he was not sure they would come up with a different answer. Of the four members, there was four different opinions. Mr. MacKinnon added that they met a couple weeks ago and discussed some of the concerns that came out of the letter from Mr. Williams and in that, they did more clearly define shuttles and their stops and that was that they cannot list every address in Juneau as one of their stops, there is a limited number of stops they can have listed. He thought it was important to get the enforcement going and that it was unfortunate that the CSO was not on the job the day the regulations went into effect. Mr. Kibby said that given new representation by the group, and the concerns described tonight, which were certainly narrowed down to an issue. he thought there should be one more meeting scheduled in the future for all the Assembly to sit together and work through it. Mr. Garrett thought Mr. Kibby brought a valid point because this was one issue they worked through in the sub-committee that changed when it came to the full group. Mayor Egan directed the issue be brought to a COW before September. Mr. Powell agreed the focus should be the definition. Mr. MacKinnon said the problem was the time that it takes to introduce an ordinance, pass an ordinance, have that ordinance come into effect, change the regulations that that ordinance deals with and have those regulations go into effect when we could just step up the enforcement and take care of it. There was no objection to scheduling a COW for August 9th.
Ms. Muñoz said that several business owners had contacted her regarding the glassed-in structure in front of Hearthside Books on Front Street; it acts as an echo chamber for the businesses along that corridor. People tend to congregate around the shelter and they are generally loud and it is disruptive to the businesses. She referred to a letter received from Ms. Garrett, a representative of the Downtown Business Association, requesting that the structure be removed.
MOTION - by Muñoz, to remove the structure on Front Street, in front of Hearthside Books, and she asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. Kibby asked for an update on NOAA. Mr. Palmer said the draft for the land trade between NOAA and the city was in its final phases; they were waiting for the lawyers to sign off on it. He felt the agreement should be ready to present to the Assembly soon. Livingston was under contract with NOAA and they have done some conceptual drawings for NOAA which they expect to have done by the first of August. He said he and the Mayor met with representatives of the University and they have $1.5M for a conceptual design, but they do not have construction money and they were concerned about annual operation and maintenance expense for a new facility. He thought they were planning to contribute their money to NOAA for increased capacity for the saltwater system and for the on-site sewer system. They would keep their options open as they were currently not prepared to commit to a design for a University facility based on the fiscal constraints they are facing.
Mr. Kibby asked if Mayor Egan had spoken with the congressional delegation about the problem the University was having. This has been downsized and at the last meeting the University had said they would kick in $20M. Mayor Egan said the $1.5M was for design, they were talking about scaling theirs back a little bit because a lot of the things in that $20M were included in the $70M facility. The University was going back and scoping to see what NOAA cut out in the main facility that the University was connected to. They would be coming back to the Assembly after they speak with the Board of Regents. They are still fully supportive of the facility, but there is no congressional funding for the University; it would have to be all state funding. Mr. Kibby asked if there had been any word from the lobbyist and Mayor Egan said it was on track. Mr. Kibby asked if there was any hope for any additional funding to possibly get the project back to where it was. Mayor Egan said there was always hope and there were discussions happening. Mr. Kibby asked if there was agreement, was there a date in the near future when the land trade would be signed. Mr. Palmer said the agreement would come to the Assembly first. Mayor Egan said that once the city exercises the option, there is 90 days to close. It has to be done by December 31st. Mr. Palmer said the agreements would be in place and the Assembly would be making the decision whether or not to exercise the option in September. Mayor Egan reiterated they were working with a federal bureaucracy. Mr. Kibby was concerned that they would run out of time with the agreement with SECON. Mr. Palmer said the option expires the end of December.
Mr. Kibby said that there were establishments advertising how easy it is to get tax exempt cards and that troubled him. He suggested making it more difficult to get the card, possibly moving the location to get cards to the valley. Mr. Palmer said the cards used to be issued in the libraries but they moved it to City Hall. If the exemption is on the book, you can expect the merchants to make the most of it. There were things that could be done administratively and he previously considered having a 24-hour turn around time. He thought they had determined that the exemptions were worth about $30,000 out of $20M received in Sales Tax Revenues. Mayor Egan added that for people to get the exemption, they have to pay $25. He said he thought they were exploring the idea of having the cards available only at the Mendenhall Library. Ms. Muñoz said the exemption cards were usually from people who were visiting from the outlying communities and generally, you do not see an individual coming off the cruise ship with a tax exempt card. Mr. Palmer said that if someone gets off the cruise ship and they want to purchase an expensive piece of art, the merchants will bring them to City Hall to get their card and then make the sale.
Mr. Kibby asked if the Assembly would be discussing the head tax issue. He had thought that if the Assembly adopted something by ordinance, it could perhaps construct where those monies were going to be going and how those monies were to be used. Mayor Egan said there would then be an initiative and then an ordinance. Mr. Corso said it would not be possible to change the ordinance, but it would be possible for the Assembly to adopt an ordinance dealing with subjects of which the initiative is silent. There could be administrative details for how the tax would be collected, and whether or not a passenger fee officer would have to be required, but what is in the initiative now has to stay the way it is. Mr. Kibby said he was only suggesting looking at ways the money could be used internally and he did not think that would be changing the initiative. Mr. Garrett thought there was an awfully good case that could be made for the city having the introduction of the ordinance at the next meeting, August 16th, so that there would be the opportunity to act on it should the Assembly want to. Then the options would not be closed. He felt that the top spin, given to the issue by the malfeasance of Royal Caribbean, is cracked and he was not sure there was any huge benefit to the community through spending the next two months duking it out and further inflaming people who are very righteously indignant all ready. He suggesting laying out a proper spending plan so that it would not be so targetable legally. Mr. MacKinnon agreed and said if there were legal problems with it, they would be present whether it is introduced and passed as an ordinance or whether the voters approve it. He thought they might be able to save a little time by going ahead and introducing it on the 2nd. Mayor Egan clarified with Mr. Corso that if this were introduced, it would have to be exactly like the initiative. Mayor Egan personally was opposed to adding anything to the initiative and suggested leaving it unchanged. He encouraged all assemblymembers to read the memo from the City Attorney because there was a lot of good information included. Ms. Hagevig commended Mr. Corso for the very outstanding and thorough presentation that he made, but she felt that Mr. Kibby and Mr. Garrett made a valid observation that the Assembly should not unnecessarily hamstring itself when it may want to be in a position to do something about this by mid-August. If there was something introduced that was identical to the initiative, we would be keeping more options open to the Assembly and would afford the Assembly the opportunity to act in what they consider to be the best interest of the community.
Ms. Hagevig thanked Mr. Miller for providing additional information on the issue at the airport. She said she did have the opportunity to attend the public workshop on the master plan environment assessment at the Airport last Thursday evening and the speakers were incredibly informative and would be very influential in the outcome.
Mr. Garrett asked who was in charge of enforcement of the wake speed in the harbors. He went on to say that two years ago, the city embarked on a path to get helicopter tour companies to remit sales tax for a portion of the tour which was not associated with flying. There had been a lot of back and forth over what was the proper way to do it and recently there was a letter sent to the helicopter company stating the companies were still obligated to pay the tax and the letter asked them to just remit the money; maybe they would be audited if the city did not agree with the way it was done. He said he would like there to be a settlement conference including representatives of the helicopter companies, the sales tax office and the City Manager. There must be resolution to this issue because it is not right to have people in a situation where they are panicking because they have been told they have to collect money but they do not have any idea how to go about calculating that money and they are being threatened with audits and all sorts of bad things. Mr. Palmer said they resolved the issue with all but one company and they were receiving tax returns from all but that one. Over a year ago they sent letters to the companies suggesting a methodology. Mr. Garrett said the company that is in dispute is more than willing to pay the same way the other two companies pay, but they have not been offered that opportunity; they were told they had to be taxed differently. Mr. Palmer said he would look into it.
Mr. Garrett seconded Mr. Kibby’s motion to have an ordinance introduced at the next meeting identical to that proposed by the passenger fee initiative. Mr. Koelsch and Mayor Egan objected. Mr. Koelsch said he would hate to preclude a community dialog and allowing people the option of voting. He felt it was a very important concept and people should be given the right to vote, not just as a signed petition.
MOTION – by Garrett, to prepare an ordinance for introduction on the 2nd of August, identical to the language in the initiative that was presented.
Mr. Powell clarified that if an ordinance was introduced and passed that is just like the petition, it would forgo the initiative. Mr. Corso said it would eliminate the election on the subject and there would be room for formal corrections to the initiative, but no change in substance.
Ayes: Muñoz, Garrett, Hagevig, Kibby, MacKinnon, and Egan
Nays: Powell, and Koelsch
motion carries 6:2
Mr. Powell thanked Mr. Koelsch for the report from the Transportation Committee and he said he looked forward to continuing to get reports. He asked the City Manager for an update on the long-range plan for the waterfront and said he wanted to know if there was some sort of master plan so that he, as an Assemblymember, could make decisions in context of a greater plan for the whole waterfront. Mr. Palmer was not aware of anything. Ms. Hagevig reported as liaison to the Harbor Board, that the master plan that the Harbor Plan had was approved. It did not address everything but it did address all the public lands, tide lands, uplands and everything else the Board was working on. There were other pieces of ordinance covering private waterfront with respect to height, and any kind of construction that may happen would have to go before the Planning Commission and possibly a number of other committees. She said it was important to recognize that the Harbor Board did a considerable amount of work in master planning and they continue to work on that and have an ongoing committee process that will be very attentive to that matter. They presented a very detailed plan to the Assembly less than six months ago. The first step was basically an outline and they came to the Assembly looking for basic approval to proceed in that direction. Then they went back and put together a committee, hired a consultant, and put together a very significant plan which they plan to update regularly. She said the two plans Mr. Powell was referring to were ones that were somewhat ancient, and probably most of the work was out of date as it was prior to the acquisition of the Mental Health Trust lands.
Mr. Powell asked if she was referring to the cruise ship dock master plan. Ms. Hagevig said there was an additional piece of work done by a joint committee five or six years ago that was extremely large. There were a number of options brought forward, but that was all prior to the Mental Health Trust becoming very aggressive in the management of its reclaimed lands. Mr. Powell said he was getting calls asking about the rock dump and the Vision 2000 plan that included some of that land. He was looking for something that addressed the whole area, private and public land, and he felt there could be a lot done to make the harbor better at receiving boats and having a nice waterfront. Mayor Egan agreed.
Mr. Powell continued and said he had been getting calls from Douglas residents about the smaller rock dump and the possibility of its use. He would be interested in the process and making sure it comes before the Assembly because he felt it would be an issue that would be in front of the community. Mr. Palmer said the little rock dump was under the control of the Harbor Board. The Board had heard a request from ERA Helicopters not to proceed with a close-out plan for submittal to DEC until ERA decides whether or not they would like to submit a proposal to use the property. The Harbor Board agreed to hold off on any work on the closure plan for a year while ERA evaluated the option. He felt DEC may have something to say about whether or not they would allow a years time for the close-out plan so there may be more coming forward. The Harbor Board would be going through the process of what to do with the land and he was not sure, depending what they decide, if it would come back to the Assembly or not.
Mr. Powell said one of the Assembly’s goals and objectives was the Mendenhall Watershed and its flooding and erosions issues. There was a letter in the packet from the Mendenhall Watershed Partnership group supporting the request to the CBJ City Manager. He spoke in support and asked the City Manager what was happening with the request. Mr. Palmer said it was on his list of things to speak with the chair of the Finance Committee. The request is for $9,100 and he USGS anticipates this being an annual request unless they can come up with additional money some place else. The state money and federal money is drying up so they are coming to the city. Mr. Palmer said it was not a CIP, it goes to USGS to support their staff and the equipment that they use in the stream gauge and telemetry. Mayor Egan pointed out this was another unfunded mandate and the municipality must put a stop to funding this kind of thing and let the public know why it is no longer occurring. Let USGS take money out of someplace else and fund it. $9,100 would not be a lot to them but it would be a lot to this community. Mr. Powell said it was saving money for the community as it relates to flood insurance for landowners in the community. Ms. Hagevig asked why something like this would not fit under the study of the River that is currently underway. Mr. Palmer said that study was completed, the stream gauge was inactive for a while because they did not have money for the last two years, part of the city’s money kept it running.
Mr. MacKinnon referred to the letter received from Dorothy Webster asking the Management for some clarification on a sale tax interpretation. He asked to get that scheduled for a Finance meeting. Ms. Hagevig suggested scheduling a Finance meeting in anticipation of the Chair’s return. A meeting was scheduled for August 11 at 5:00.
Mayor Egan thanked everyone who participated in the Western Association of State Transportation and Highway Officials conference. It was one of the largest conferences hosted in Juneau with over 700 registrants; the opening ceremony had to be held in the High School auditorium. He said he would be in Sitka for a Y2K conference on Wednesday and Thursday.
Marian Miller, Clerk