THE CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU, ALASKA
DECEMBER 6, 1999
MEETING NO. 99-36: 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 7:00 p.m. by Deputy Mayor John MacKinnon.
Assembly Present: Garrett, Etheridge, MacKinnon, Perkins, Powell, Pillifant, Muñoz, and Koelsch
Assembly Absent: Egan
A quorum was present.
Staff Present: Marian Miller, Municipal Clerk; Dave Palmer, City Manager; John Corso, City Attorney; Cheryl Easterwood, CDD Director; Joe Buck, Engineering Director; Laurie Sica, CDD Environment/Zoning Inspector; Mel Personett, Police Chief; Craig Duncan, Finance Director; Anne Stadnychenko, Purchasing Officer; Al Heese, Acting Airport Manager; Gary Gillette, CDD Planner
MOTION - by Koelsch, to approve the minutes of Regular Meeting No. 99-31, held October 4, 1999, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION - by Koelsch, to approve the minutes of Regular Meeting No. 99-32, held October 11, 1999, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION - by Koelsch, to approve the minutes of Special Meeting No. 99-33, held October 28, 1999, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
SPECIAL ORDERS OF BUSINESS
Deputy Mayor MacKinnon read the proclamation into the record and presented a proclamation to each of the athletes present.
Deputy Mayor MacKinnon read the proclamation into the record and presented one to each of the coaches and to the athletes.
Mr. Kirk Flanders, President of JEDC, announced that the winner of this year’s award was Mr. Sandrell Lane of Taku Smokeries and Fisheries. Ms. Kim Metcalfe-Helmar read the proclamation into the record and presented it to Mr. Lane. Mr. Lane thanked everyone, including the Assembly, for its support over the years.
MOTION – by Perkins, to suspend the rules and place this item at the end of the agenda. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. Palmer noted that included in the "red file" was an addition to the Manager’s Action Item. It was a sole source bid award to Durham Communication for JPD Radio Console.
Deputy Mayor MacKinnon announced that testimony would be limited to 2 minutes.
Robert Garrison, 528 W. 11th Street. Mr. Garrison testified that a person had been living in or out of a vehicle on 11th Street for two to four years. For the last two to four months, the car has been parked in front of his house for at least 20 of those days. The power of the vehicle is mostly gravity and the car is moved ahead far enough to meet the letter of the parking ordinance, but not the intent of it. A couple years ago there were two vehicles, one with this person’s earthly belongings and the other one he slept in. Mr. Garrison was not sure if he was currently living in the vehicle. There had been another vehicle parked on the street for almost two weeks with no radiator and no carburetor. It was tagged once but it is still parked there.
Mr. Powell clarified the street was 11th Street. Mr. Garrison said the car with the earthly possessions had been moved down the street. The owner puts a tag on the car so the police know when it is parked there and they won’t ticket it.
Jack Cadigan, 3199 Pioneer Avenue, Juneau resident for 35 years. He said that present this evening were representatives of the recently formed group called Destination Juneau. They were organized less than a month ago and already exceeded 100 members. The group is made up of private citizens, businesses whose survival depends on the visitor industry, businesses indirectly affected by the visitor industry, and businesses concerned with economic health, and quality of life in Juneau. The members included restaurants, hotels, service businesses, and retail stores in downtown and the Valley. Their purpose was not to seek control over anything or anyone in the CBJ and they were not trying to intercept control or authority from the local, state or federal government. Their mission was to promote a welcome atmosphere for visitors, promote the orderly development of the visitor industry in Juneau, provide education and information to the public regarding positive community benefits, improved quality of life resulting from the visitor industry, and to provide factual information, as needed, to counter the misinformation which has been provided from other sources. They plan to coordinate with other Southeast communities to further develop the visitor industry areawide. In the 1970-80’s, the state boomed with oil money and the retail downtown businesses followed the population shift to the Valley. He listed a number of businesses that either moved or closed. At that time, South Franklin Street, in general, could be termed a slum area. Today there are over two dozen, locally owned, year round retail stores open on South Franklin Street. Today there is $19M of assessed property values on South Franklin and there are 122 downtown establishments dependent upon tourism for their very survival; 97% locally owned. There are 8 non-locally owned establishments downtown. He said there was a tendency to focus on those 115 locally owned downtown businesses plus tour group companies, taxis and other similar ones who depend on visitors for survival. Much of the service sector in the businesses in Lemon Creek and the Valley depend on it. Over 10% of Alcan Electric’s work annually is from that sector. He summarized by saying that tourism is the only renewable, marketable industry which enjoys growth in Alaska. The businesses will be here long after the oil revenues have shriveled and state government has downsized. The members of the group have had enough of those who attempt to return Juneau to the wilderness and seize control of the future individually and collectively and the group is no longer going to sit idly by and let a mean-spirited few control what their destiny is. The public sidewalks of downtown belong to anyone, they belong to the neighborhood taxpayers who have invested in $20M of property there. If the glaciers, mountains and waterways belong to anyone, they belong to the citizens of the United States who have charged the federal government with the responsibility of maintenance and control.
Mr. Perkins thanked the merchants for forming the group. He thought it was something that was needed in the community to let the community know of the valuable asset we have in our community with the businesses downtown and throughout the community and it would help the Assembly in their deliberations with the budget. He said he was looking forward to working with and hearing from the group as part of the process. Mr. Cadigan noted that the contribution was $100M annually into the city from the tourism industry.
Arika Beaudry, 2350 Lawson Creek Road, a high school senior at JDHS. She testified that as a 17 year old, it was very frustrating to her that there was nothing legally she could do to give her opinion except in this forum regarding this tourism issue; decisions being made do not only effect adults. The shop she works has affected her life and has provided her with money, which is her major source of income for college. She has learned responsibility and she felt that tourism shops added diversity to the community which a lot of the high schoolers in Alaska needed to prepare them for going to school far away. It is very beneficial to be able to see people from all over the world who speak different languages. She felt confident from working around a lot of people. She also felt strongly that she and about 90% of the people she knew at the High School were employed by a shop downtown and if those were all gone in the summertime they would all be scared. She asked the community and its leaders to look at the total effect of issues when looking at tourism and not just the adults involved.
Eric Forst, 6442 North Douglas, co-owner of Subway, both downtown and in the valley. He said they were a year-round business in both major markets for the community. They were in the process of expanding by adding a Taco Time restaurant downtown. If it were not for the tourism dollars that they get in the summer, they would not have been able to expand. They currently have 15-18 employees between the two Subways, and they will be adding 8-10 for the Taco Time. That will all double in the summertime because of the increase in business. Most employees are young, either high school kids or kids out of high school. The positions he has are entry-level positions and he hires a lot of kids who have never had jobs before. He teaches them a lot of skills and responsibility and it is very important for these kids who are supporting themselves and in some cases, their families. Without the tourism dollars, there would be 20 jobs that he would not be able to offer in the summer. He and his wife moved to Juneau from California three and half years ago to take over Subway. They live out North Douglas, about a quarter mile from the heliport so he deals with the effects of tourism every day. He thought the amount of inconvenience he had to put up with was extremely worth it for all the benefits that that he and the community get out of it. They joined Destination Juneau to make sure there was representation from non-tourist businesses. The tourism industry is vital to the economic health and success of locally owned year round businesses like Subway and Taco Time.
T. Terry Harvey, 2570 Douglas Highway, representing the Armadillo Café on Franklin Street. He said Destination Juneau intend to dispel the rumors and myths that relatively few people in our community benefit economically from the travel business. They were determined to help everyone to understand how effectively the economic windfall is spread out over the entire community. They would be presenting facts and hard data to back that assertion up, but they would not try to convince anyone that the economic benefits outweigh the needs of our town to protect its very important quality of life. It is their town too and there is no dollar figure more important than the health and well being of the community. When you look at Alaskans in the travel industry, perhaps it is hard to see us for who we really are. We’re not just another business group, we are your friends and neighbors spread out over the entire community living and working full time and year round. They asked that everyone look below the surface of the industry just enough to realize that most of them are small time operators, like himself, and they care tremendously for this part of the world. Individually, they get an enormous amount of pride in their relationships with the community through the travel industry. While they feel that most of Juneau supports them, and their efforts in general, they pledge to state their case constructively to those who don’t. He said there were many problems. They are proud of what they do but they do not believe this to be the perfect industry; there is no such thing. They do not believe the tourist business to be the golden goose either. What they do believe is that their best chance at making things work right for everyone is to pull together and go after the real issues, one by one. One real issue coming from all sides is a need for the Assembly to become more involved with the growth and the planning of the local tourist travel industry. Destination Juneau needs to listen and respond and they will do just that and back the Assembly and its efforts to make the travel industry in Juneau as much a source of pride for the Assembly as it is for each and every one of them.
Rita Dienst, 6753 Gray, testified that she and her daughter have a small family owned business downtown with two full time and two part time employees. They are open all year long and if they did not have a robust summer tourist season, they would not be able to stay in business as the local traffic for the balance of the year is not enough to justify the expense of staying open. She reiterated that downtown needs tourism to sustain its vitality. When considering tourist related issues, she wanted the Assembly to please remember that the industry affects many small businesses that need the influx of tourism dollars to stay alive the rest of the year for locals.
Renda Heimbigner, 5050 Tamarack Court. She testified that she was born and raised in Juneau and has watched the town grow. One thing she has noticed is the shift of employment opportunities for young adults. Thirty years ago, high schoolers were dependent upon very few openings at the retail level and even fewer opportunities with the State of Alaska. Fortunately, with the growth in the visitor industry, she was able to work at a local gift shop during the summers when she was home from college. That was how she was able to pay for her college education. Now, her sons are employed in the visitor industry, one after school and one during the summer when he is home from college. Both kids are dependent on this employment for their college tuition as well as their introduction to a sound work ethic and exposure to different people from all over the world. In addition, the economic impacts of these young adults, and anyone else employed in the visitor industry, are tremendous to this community. Thirty years ago, state employment was the growing economy. Over the last ten years, we have lost over 600 state and federal jobs in Juneau alone. Tourism revenue however, is increasing as proved by our city sales tax. This means more jobs for more people because those gainfully employed persons buy gas at the gas stations, eat out at restaurants, buy tickets at local theaters, buy groceries at the supermarket and clothing from local stores. Someone has to be employed to service them. Those wages go into rent, construction of new homes, property taxes and the stability of the community, not to mention any of the millions in sales tax revenue generated by this exchange of goods and services. This community thrives because of the visitor industry. No development is without its challenges and no one is ignoring the impacts, but Juneau is and always has been a port. We live on a transportation corridor and visitors have been arriving in Juneau for years. It is our heritage to share this community with visitors and it is our future. Let us not be short sited as we suffocate this industry within our town and pay the price through loss of jobs for ourselves and our children.
Kelly Stevens, 1361 Glacier Highway. She works for DIPAC, a non-profit organization that supports and welcomes tourism in Juneau, although DIPAC’s main goal is to support the region’s common property fisheries. Education and tourism have become a vital part of the support system, a tool that they use to reach over 120,000 visitors each year. The mission statement for the DIPAC education and tourism division goes as follows: "To promote community well being and better understanding of the Alaskan salmon industry through education, tourism and promotion of Alaska’s salmon. This will be accomplished without subsidy from other hatchery owners and the tourism division will contribute to the corporate debt service." How they accomplish this mission can be broken into several categories including some of the following. The facility itself was designed with the visitor in mind with the underwater viewing window as well as the ramp, which gives a great view of the hatchery operations. They educate the visitors about Alaska’s salmon industry informing them about the difference between farmed and wild salmon and how important salmon is to Alaska’s economy and the fishing industry. They host school group tours and activities in the spring and the fall to over 2,000 local kids, as well as others around the state. If they did not have the summer tourism program, they would not be able to support those educational programs. DIPAC works in conjunction with UAS by providing space to conduct research in fisheries and they maintain a fishing dock for local people. The Visitor Center alone hires approximately 20 seasonal positions. They hire locally which also helps support the community. Most hired have been born and raised in Juneau and they have a personal interest in educating visitors about the importance of the salmon industry and they stress that point with each and every tour given. All the revenue generated from the summer season goes back into helping support DIPAC. They realize that DIPAC, as a non-profit organization, would not suffer great financial losses if the revenue from visitation went down. What would suffer would be the educational aspect and public awareness that comes with what they do at the Hatchery.
Neil Murphy, 6440 North Douglas Highway, representing Alaska Marine Lines (AML). He said that as gangways unfurl onto the docks in the capital city, tourists, armed with camcorders and coupon books, march single file onto the streets of downtown Juneau. AML interacts with the tourism industry on a daily basis. From 53-foot grocery containers to super bulk tanks carrying chemicals, AML dispatches more equipment through downtown Juneau than any other company. Passing through this narrow corridor at speeds near idle, 12-15 times a day, with only a 24-inch margin of error between his payload and an innocent bystander, the AML driver is all too familiar with the growing pains associated with this industry. His patience is challenged and his awareness is paramount. As each business day comes to a close, our drivers successfully delivered, just-in-time inventory to dozens of businesses throughout the community. His employers support this way of doing business because they see the positive impact the visitor industry brings to this community. From Industrial Blvd. to Franklin Street, so many businesses are touched by this industry, some directly, most indirectly. From the drug store to the wholesaler, from the purveyor to the variety store, from the grocer to the flower shop, inventories swell during the summer months. Just how much, ask AML. In their industry a unit of measure is called a TVU, a twenty-foot equivalent unit. Their north bond TVU count increases nearly 50% May through August. The retailer makes up their core customer base. Many year round businesses only operate in the black six to eight months out of the year. They must find ways to become more efficient without jeopardizing customer service. AML is no exception. To offset their towing costs during the winter months, they implemented a vessel-sharing program three years ago with their competitor. Although it may seem unorthodox, the net result is simple, to offer the consumer a choice in transportation service 52 weeks a year. Profits in this competitive market place do not come easy and 1999 was no exception. With low prices and a weak Asian market, they can no longer solely rely on Alaska’s resource industry. They are continually challenged to think outside the box and look at ways to improve market share, operate more efficiently and build stronger ties with customers. Does the visitor industry have a positive impact on the economy,? Yes, it does.
Susan DeLoache, 2207 Radcliffe Road, co-owner with her husband of the Juneau Trolley Car Company. They have two toddler girls and two teenage boys and they are very thankful to be living in Juneau and raising their children here. The boys are both actively involved in the family business and the early job experience is very important in helping young people learn responsibility, money management and how to be good citizens. They are our future work force and tourism related jobs provide excellent training opportunities. Juneau Trolley Car Co. has just completed its fifth season. They work closely with other downtown operations for everyone’s mutual benefit. Their drivers encourage passengers to shop downtown and they invite everyone to get off and visit the Russian Church, which assists with their fund raising efforts. She and her husband are big supporters of the City and State Museums and usually encourage their passengers to visit both of those. On an average, they send about 100 people a day into the State Museum and at $4 a head, that really adds to their revenue. Some hidden benefits of tourism to the community that the Trolley Car offers are that they donate the use of the Trolley for cultural parades, they offer it to church groups for their children’s carnivals, they take Santa and a group of children to the shopping mall in style, and they work with the Nation of Association for the Education of Young Children to provide a Trolley Day for the local children that are in daycare. They also work with Hope Cottages to insure that their clients have an opportunity to ride the Trolley. Each season Juneau Trolley Car Co. employs approximately 10 local people which includes high school and college students, school district employees and retired state workers. Many of those people return year after year and depend on their summer jobs to provide for their family income. She and her husband also own and operate another tourism-related business. Bright Beginnings Child Care relies on a strong economy with good employment opportunities to keep their program full. Currently, 15% of their parents are employed full time year round in tourism, and another 65% of their parents work for companies that rely heavily on the tourism industry, such as cellular phone service and office supply companies. It is very important for their childcare center to see those tourism dollars circulating through the community.
Rod Swope, 954 Goldbelt. He said they had not asked Sandro Lane to testify, but he thought it was rather timely that they presented the proclamation and talked about all the tremendous benefits he provides to this community, particularly donations. Donations of the group, collectively, contribute a lot to this community and all the various needy groups. There are impacts associated with almost any industry or activity. To consider state government as an industry, residents deal with traffic in the morning and night, and with a lot of negative comments about our community from other Alaskans and other communities. Many have spent an enormous amount of money, stress, and personal time fighting that issue and instead of sending state government away, this community said state government was an important part of the community and that we needed to work within our community to make it a better place; a Capital City that everyone could be proud of. There was not a lot of negative cries to move the capital. Destination Juneau intends to be very positive and they want to be helpful and they intend to do what ever they can to address the impacts that are present and to make the community aware that tourism is a very positive and very important industry to Juneau. State Government, while it is still Juneau’s largest employer, is first only to tourism. Unfortunately, state and federal government is slowly declining so tourism is catching up. We need to embrace it and work with the tourism industry and make them feel welcome. As elected officials, the Assembly sets the tone for the community and sets the attitude. He hoped that tone and attitude would be one of positive nature making those folks and the rest of us feel welcome. The group is here to help the Assembly and provide information and be a positive and helpful force in the discussion.
Mr. Powell said he appreciated the testimony of the Destination Juneau Association along with their mission statement and other information. He asked if there was a spokesperson for the group and how should the Assembly make sure that the group is included in discussions. Mr. Swope said they were in the process of electing a board of directors, but for now, he and Jack Cadigan were the two main points of contact.
Mr. Perkins said that Mr. Swope, as a former Assemblymember, was more familiar with the process that the Assembly was about to go into regarding the budget cycle. Mr. Swope, as the former chair of the Finance Committee, knows the importance of tax dollars in our community and what things are looming upon the current Assembly. He appreciated the comments, but said the group should not wait for the Assembly to come to them asking for information. He would appreciate the opportunity for himself or another Assemblymember to come and speak to the group as an organized group. He knows the importance of the tax dollars and the revenue base that this community sees from the tourism industry, and the ripple effect that those dollars create and he said he looked forward to working with the group through the process.
Mr. Swope promised to work to get the best figures possible, but he assured Mr. Perkins that even with the small reduction of time that the ships will be spending in Juneau, the CBJ will be facing a fairly significant reduction in sales tax. One of their purposes is to disseminate information. They want to help the Assembly make the right decisions with factual information.
Susan Nix, was signed up to testify if 99-34 was pulled from the consent agenda. She was present as a representative of the Shelter Island Neighborhood Association and she encouraged the Assembly to be sure and read the information provided in the red folder.
B R E A K
8:10 p.m. – 8:20 p.m.
Mr. Perkins asked that items B-2, Resolution 2008 and B-3, Resolution 2009, be removed for the purpose of discussion. Ms. Pillifant asked that item A-1, Resolution 99-34 be removed. Ms. Muñoz asked that item C, Liquor Licenses, be removed.
MOTION - by Garrett, to adopt the Consent Agenda as amended with the deletion of items A-1, B2, B-3 and Item C, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
A. Ordinances for Introduction
1. Resolution No. 2007
A RESOLUTION ADOPTING AN ALTERNATIVE ALLOCATION METHOD FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2000 SHARED FISHERIES BUSINESS TAX PROGRAM AND CERTIFYING THAT THIS ALLOCATION METHOD FAIRLY REPRESENTS THE DISTRIBUTION OF SIGNIFICANT EFFECTS OF FISHERIES BUSINESS ACTIVITY IN THE NORTHERN SOUTHEAST FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AREA.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this resolution be adopted.
C. Liquor Licenses
- Bid Award
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended award of this project to Channel Construction, Inc. in the amount of $182,500.00.
A1. Ordinance No. 99-34
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE LAND USE CODE TO ADOPT A MAP SPECIFYING REMOTE SUBDIVISION AREAS, AND TO ESTABLISH STANDARDS FOR PLAT SUBMITTALS, RIGHTS OF WAY AND COMMUNITY WATER SYSTEMS IN SUCH AREAS.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this ordinance be introduced and set for public hearing at the next regular meeting.
Public Participation: None at this time.
MOTION - by Pillifant, for introduction and referral to the Lands Committee. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. Garrett clarified that when it came out of the Lands Committee, it would go straight to public hearing because it had been introduced.
B2. Resolution No. 2008
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MANAGER TO SUBMIT TO THE STATE OF ALASKA AN APPLICATION FOR A FEDERAL GRANT TO DEVELOP A HISTORIC PRESERVATION WEBSITE AS PART OF THE CAPITAL CITY HOME PAGE.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this resolution be adopted.
Public Testimony: None
Mr. Perkins clarified that this would approve the purchase of just one scanner.
MOTION – by Perkins, and he asked for unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
B3. Resolution No. 2009
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MANAGER TO SUBMIT TO THE STATE OF ALASKA AN APPLICATION FOR A FEDERAL GRANT FOR THE CASEY-SHATTUCK NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORIC BUILDINGS SURVEY.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this resolution be adopted.
Public Hearing: None
Mr. Perkins clarified that $4,840 would be a CBJ match and he asked if the volunteers could finish the project up, or was there something specific where the pass through for the funds could be reimbursed. Mr. Palmer said the $4,840 was the amount of the city's contribution in staff time. Mr. Gary Gillette from CDD came forward and said the $4,840 was volunteer time, which represents the match for the grant. The federal funds would pay for any of the printing materials and the staff time to do the final report and the administration of the grant. Mr. Perkins asked if there was a start and completion date on this. Mr. Gillette said the proposed schedule would be to start January 2000 and complete March 2001.
MOTION – by Perkins, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
C1. Alaskan Hotel Liquor License Renewal
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended the Assembly adopt the Human Resources Committee’s (HRC) recommendation regarding its right to protest the license.
Public Testimony: None
Ms. Muñoz reported that the HRC heard a report from staff on this particular license at its earlier meeting. The HRC recommends that the Assembly waive its right to protest the renewal of this beverage dispensary license for the Alaskan Bar and Hotel, however, there were several minor fire code issues that needed to be brought into compliance with this building. A compliance date was set for December 15th and staff at the Fire Department has been working with the Alaskan Hotel to bring the building up to code before that date. HRC also recommends that the Assembly retain its right to protest this license if the premises is not brought up to code within 20 days of the compliance date. The Assembly could then send a recommendation to the ABC Board to pull the license.
MOTION – by Muñoz, that the Assembly waive its right to protest the renewal of the beverage dispensary license for the Alaska Bar and Hotel. HRC also moves that the Assembly reserve the right to withdraw its approval of said beverage dispensary license if the Alaskan Bar and Hotel, Inc. does not bring its premises into compliance with the Fire Code regulations within the next 20 days and that a letter to that effect be sent to the licensee. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
A. Ordinance No. 99-33
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE PURCHASING CODE TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEBARMENT OF VENDORS.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this ordinance be adopted.
Public Participation: None
MOTION - by Perkins, to adopt ordinance 99-33, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
- Ordinance No. 99-36
AN ORDINANCE ELECTING TO IMPOSE A MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION TAX.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager amended his recommendation as stated in the Manager’s Report. He suggested increasing the rate to $25.00 per vehicle, per year, which would raise an additional $300,000 which could go toward the $4.5M deficit in the currently proposed budget. The packet included information showing what other towns were charging. He said the discussion was about annual fees, but the State would collect on a two-year basis. A $25 fee would be lower than Ketchikan’s fee. Mr. Palmer said that if the Assembly was not prepared to adopt a $25 fee, then his position would be not to impose anything at this point. The way the state law works on this, if it is imposed this month, the State of Alaska would start collecting money a year from now. The city would be precluded from changing the fee for two years, so essentially, if the Assembly adopts a $10 fee, no one would pay it for a year and the city would be locked into that amount for the next two years. As we start the budget process, decisions will be much harder than looking at a $10 or $25 fee. Instead they will be looking at a serious loss of services. At the previous work session, the Assembly had directed Mr. Palmer to check into the feasibility of imposing some kind of fee on boats and aircrafts. That proposal has been before the Finance Committee before. Mr. Palmer suggested holding off on this and looking at boats, planes, cars and the cuts in services that will be before the CBJ in the next budget cycle. However, that does not solve the problem of junk cars, so he suggested that the $4 fee which is in place for hazardous waste could be increased by $.50, giving about $60,000, doubling the amount of money available right now.
Mr. Powell asked if the hazardous waste ordinance defined cars. Mr. Palmer said that recycling was included in the definition. Mr. Powell thought it would be reasonable to fit cars under that.
Ms. Muñoz said that at the current rate of dumping, approximately $150, if the fees were biannual at $10, at what point would the city break even in providing this service to the public. Mr. Palmer said the procedure they would expect to go through would be similar to the one with hazardous waste. Once there is a revenue source identified, they would go out to contractors and get a price per pound or per car. The city would contract with them to collect vehicles. The best he could estimate, that would provide enough money to take care of as many cars as were being disposed of as when there was no cost to the public. The cost would be $20 every two years but people would be able to bring their cars in and they would be hauled away at no additional cost. Mr. MacKinnon said the annual fee would basically pay for the annual cost of the program.
Robert Garrison, 528 W. 11th Avenue, testified that he has been a proponent of this for years. He is probably the preeminent garbage picker upper in the Juneau area. In the past couple of weeks he has picked up several hundred pounds of litter and he could show where cars have been dumped. This has been a problem ever since he has been in Juneau. Junk cars have been used as rip rap, just as a way to get rid of them. He would be very disappointed if something is not done because then the problem will not go away. Over in Sitka, they charge $35 to inspect cars. Someone suggested to him having an inspection of Juneau cars.
Ms. Pillifant thanked him for picking up garbage.
Laurie Sica, employee of CBJ in the CDD, where she is in charge of the Junk Buster Program. She noted that Jacki Jennings, the Litter Patrol Officer for JPD was also in the audience if anyone had any questions for either of them. Ms. Sica said she 100% supported the Assembly supporting this program. Her duties include enforcing litter control laws and junk cars are litter. She wanted people to take a bigger view of this program which has had a lot of negative publicity in the newspapers. She felt that people did not understand the whole picture. A lot of people wonder why they should have to pay anything for someone else’s problem. Cars do not necessarily leave town, they get handed down to other people and finally they are sold to someone who may not be able to afford the $150 to dispose of it when it gets to that point. She and Ms. Jennings could tell about the junk cars they have seen and the junk in the junk cars. They are very upset about people junking and abandoning cars. The police do a very good job trying to track down people and cite them, but it not possible to cite all the people; a lot of the time, people have left town. A lot of the people who have cars that need to go to the dump are not dead beats, they are simply people who cannot afford $150 in their budget. It may be easier for them to pay $10 per year. We all then have the opportunity to dump a car when we need to. This is not for the city to use to pay for cars that we find on the streets that no one else will pay for. It is for a community wide scrap metal disposal program. It is a beginning of recycling scrap metal and assuring that we have a way to get rid of scrap metal in the community. The biggest fear for her was when she got a call in May of last year saying that the dump was no longer accepting cars at the land fill. Everyone was scrambling to find a solution, maybe a piece of city property to store the cars on. There is no guarantee that there will be a business that wants to be in the business of scrap metal disposal if the prices for scrap metal stays as low as they have been. She said she had been reading the RFP for the Recycling Center and she felt that it provided a good idea of how the program could be run. She also suggested amending the abandoned vehicle ordinances as the ordinances are old and mixed up and in different sections of the code. A lot of the different sections do not match so she thought it was very confusing for people to understand what to do and how to do it the right way. If there was a good program in place, the ordinance could be tailored, amending the junk vehicle section, to make it more explanatory to people on how they go about getting rid of them. Also, the change in the ordinance could call for an increase in the fines for abandoning the vehicles in light of the fact that if there was a program that people could take advantage of.
Ms. Pillifant asked Ms. Sica if she considered junk cars as hazardous waste or potentially hazardous waste. Ms. Sica did consider them hazardous waste because of the number of fluids including gas, antifreeze, and transmission fluid. Car manufacturers are now making latches on the inside of trunks so that if a kid gets into a car and plays in it and the latch comes down on the trunk, they can get out of it. A lot of cars do not have those latches and she has seen places where kids were playing where people had cars in their yards with the trunks open. Having them sit around in a place that is unattended is not good. It also causes vandalism; people break windows and steal parts.
Mr. Powell asked how many cars were on the road right now. Ms. Sica said figures from DMV tell that 17,000 passenger vehicles and about 6,000 trucks are registered. With the money she has to spend, she can take 150 cars. Mr. Palmer has proposed adding money to that and adding $60,000, she could maybe take another 300 vehicles. Mr. Powell asked if 1,200 was still a good figure per year. Ms. Sica thought 1,000 to 1,200 would be reasonable. If she was only taking 300, that would not even cover half. Some people are taking them to the dump, but the city is doing more than 50% of the business currently done at the Land Fill. She said that after another year or two there will be a large amount of cars not being disposed of and she asked where they were going to go.
Mr. Koelsch asked how many times a car changes hands without being registered. Ms. Sica deferred to Ms. Jennings for that number but she noted that a lot of the vehicles that they find may have a transfer pending. That means the last registered owner sold or gave the car to someone and turned in their portion of the title. Mr. Koelsch asked who would be responsible then when that car is abandoned. Ms. Sica said it would be the last registered owner, except she has heard that the judges have been reluctant to cite the last registered owner if they have done their part to try to transfer the title.
Jackie Jennings, JPD, came forward to answer questions. Mr. Koelsch asked her if as long as the last registered owner makes a point of going over and trying to transfer the car title, does that take that person out of the loop? Ms. Jennings said from the experience she has had in trying to prosecute the last registered owner, the vehicle can have changed hands several times and the paperwork trail gets lost. Sometimes people do not always have the funds to register vehicles and they tend to not follow through on paperwork for whatever reason. She had one instance where she did take the last registered owner to court, which she personally felt was unfair, but that was how the law is written, and the judge threw it out. He felt it was unfair to prosecute someone who had owned a car 10 years ago. We had information that led us to believe that several people had owned it since, but we could not present the facts to the judge. If people don’t register a car, it makes it very difficult for her track it and establish who actually owns the car. Mr. Koelsch asked if there was anything the Assembly could do, as far as an ordinance, to help with the transfer of ownership. Ms. Jennings said she did not know how to go about it. She knew that they could request people to send paperwork in, but just by human nature, people don’t always follow through. There are also the occasions where people have sent in their appropriate paperwork and through a shuffle in papers, human error is possible and things don’t get processed as they should be. She said they had an occasion where DMV had a huge turn over in staff and people have sworn to her that they sent in their paperwork but it had not been processed at the other end.
Ms. Muñoz clarified that the personal property tax for commercial vehicles would be repealed and this would be put into place. She asked if that would be a net gain amount received by the city. Mr. Palmer said the intent there was to have no net gain, no change. The Finance Department calculated the rates received for beginning registration fee to offset the cost of the business personal property tax.
Mr. MacKinnon asked how much was in the budget for the present program. Ms. Sica said that Junk Busters had $30,000.00. The Police Dept. has money that they use to pay for vehicles that they have taken in as unsafe or through traffic accidents or crime that do not get picked up and require disposal. The Harbors Department also has funds that they use to deal with the cars that are left in the harbor parking lot. Mr. MacKinnon asked Ms. Sica, realistically, how much she thought it would take to take care of the junk vehicles. He thought 1,200 cars was a bit high but he did not have anything to base that on. Ms. Sica said she did not know how to estimate other than to take what Shorty Tonsgard said he took when it was free. If it was free again, she estimated that it might be a little bit higher because there have been two years now without having any free disposal. There may be a few in people’s yards that they have been saving up. She knew a lot of people were saving refrigerators since the last city refrigerator disposal program. Ms. Sica added that the $240,000 was just based on the $150 charge. If an RFP was put out, things might change. Mr. MacKinnon asked if Mr. Tonsgard still handled the junk right now. Ms. Sica said yes and she added that everyone should be thankful to Waste Management and to Channel for working that out while the city tries to figure something out.
Mr. Garrett clarified the $30,000 allocated for Junk Busters was for everything, not just junk cars. Ms. Sica said yes, but right now it was just being used for junk cars. Mr. Garrett thought that a fund source for junk cars would allow the city to get rid of some other trash that is accumulating in other parts of the community.
Pamela Findley, 820 6th Street, spoke in support of the tax. The two questions were one, should we pay more taxes and she thought that Alaskans by and large were under-taxed. She looks at how much she pays in property and sales tax and compares that with her PFD and she thinks she is coming out ahead. She gets tired of hearing people complain about their taxes. If you want your roads clean and your schools run and things like that, you have to pay for it. The second question was who should pay for these junked cars. She thinks people are reasonable in saying that the last owner should pay for them but the problem is that the last owner of a vehicle usually does not have a lot of money, even if their intentions are pure, the car may still end up in some ditch. If we want to get rid of them, we will probably need to do it as a communal effort.
MOTION - by Muñoz, to adopt Ordinance No. 99-36 and she asked unanimous consent. Objection was noted.
Mr. MacKinnon agreed whole heartedly with the program that Ms. Sica has; she has done a great job and there is no doubt that there is a junk vehicle problem. He did disagree with the mechanism that was being considered. He said it was unfortunate to make everyone pay for the indiscretions of a few, but that was what a lot of our society has come to in our forms of taxation. He did not like the motor vehicle registration tax for doing this. First, there is a one-year lag from when the fee is imposed to when the money is collected, so it will do no good for the next fiscal year. Secondly, the State takes an 8% rake right off the top. There are some administrative costs for handling it but 8% is a lot more than we pay in sales tax here. The third reason that he did not like this was that if it is determined that the program is costing more than what is being collected, there is a three year lag between changing the ordinance, adjusting the fee and collecting more money. He did not want to see city government work that slowly. He said he would like to see the household hazardous waste and recycling fee that is in place at $4 per month increased. To raise it to $5 per month would generate $120,000 per year for this program. It would only require an ordinance, two weeks to introduce it, two weeks to pass it, and 30 days before it goes into effect; the money would be immediate. If it is determined that we are not collecting enough money or we’re collecting too much for the program, it would just take another ordinance to change the fee and the adjustment would be near immediate. If everyone wants a motor vehicle tax to pay for capital transit and other things, that needs to be looked at as part of a comprehensive program that includes boats and airplanes.
Mr. Koelsch agreed with Mr. MacKinnon’s reasoning but he wanted to be assured that this problem would be taken care of and that an ordinance would come back to the Assembly increasing the fee for recycling hazardous waste.
Mr. Perkins clarified that an increase of $.50 would cover the bare bones of this. Mr. Palmer said he had only put that out as an example. Fifty cents would raise about $60,000 which would essentially double the current effort. Mr. Perkins tended to agree with Mr. MacKinnon and said when they first started this process, it was specific to getting rid of junk vehicles. Since then, it has turned into maybe helping with road maintenance or transportation issues regarding capital transit. He felt that in this particular issue, they may have gotten off track of what the intent was. He agreed with Mr. Palmer though, that the city will be short about $7M in the next biennial budget. They will need to consider expanding the tax base and looking at a whole host of issues that will be before the Assembly during the budget deliberations. It may be best at that time to include deliberation about aircrafts, boats and cars. At this juncture, he would support increasing the hazardous waste and recycling fee. If it is determined that the amount is not correct, he did not want it to take three years to change.
Ms. Muñoz said she had not considered the hazardous fee for a source of revenue for this program. If that is the intention of the body, she would withdraw her motion. She commented that at $.50, $60,000 would be generated and according to the notes, that would not be enough to cover the program. She assumed the Assembly would direct the amount that would cover the cost of disposing the vehicles. Mr. MacKinnon said that if the Manager is directed to bring an ordinance through, changing the household hazardous waste recycling fee, staff would do research on that and come up with the appropriate amount. Mr. Palmer said these were estimates at this point and he suggested that it not be increased more than $1 for at least the first year to see how things go. If it needs to be adjusted, it can be done after that first year. He said staff would set up the program that takes advantage of whatever money there is and phase this in over a period of time rather than have one big increase.
Mr. Garrett suggested that it was totally inappropriate to try to tack this onto the hazardous waste recycling fee for the very simple reason that not every household has a vehicle. Every household generates hazardous waste, every household generates things that are commodities that can be recycled. Having fees as opposed to taxes applied to specific discreet groups of people for expenses that are incurred by that discreet group of people, may only tip the scales and may cause the whole program to be thrown out. The argument that we should not do something on this tax now and wait does almost nothing for our budget problems. If we do not institute this tax now, we do not collect any money till January of 2001 which means it only benefits one half of the biennial budget problem. We would have to have a minimum fee of $20 per vehicle to achieve the exact same result of the $10 per vehicle right now, in this biennial budget.
Ms. Pillifant said she was intrigued by the thought of a transportation tax or something like that which would help work with the transit program. She said looking at the philosophy and structure and other examples of that going on elsewhere, was part of what she was interested in. She asked if it was possible to continue this discussion. Mr. MacKinnon said that it could be continued and that it did not need to be voted up or down at this meeting. He said there was a danger in changing it too much. Mr. Corso questioned the Assembly’s ability to shift this from the motor vehicle registration tax to the household hazardous waste fee. Mr. MacKinnon thought Ms. Pillifant was speaking of keeping this ordinance alive and working on it some more at a later date.
Mr. MacKinnon said he agreed with Mr. Garrett in that households do not create motor vehicles but they do create hazardous waste and recycling. Most households do have motor vehicles, but not all. In looking at the mechanism in this ordinance, when a vehicle is abandoned, it is going to the scrap yard and that is recycling. He felt it was a clean way to do it by tacking the money on to that fee. The money would be immediate so the program could get going a little bit faster than it is now with the amount of money that is funded out of general fund.
Mr. MacKinnon clarified that Ms. Muñoz had withdrawn her motion. She said she supported the idea of adding it to the household hazardous waste recycling. She also supported Ms. Pillifant’s idea of keeping this issue on the table so that it can be looked at possibly as a funding source for transit system.
MOTION – by Pillifant, that this be referred back to finance for further work. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. MacKinnon directed staff to draft an ordinance including this fee under the hazardous waste recycling fee. The ordinance was to be brought to the Assembly with back up information on what it would take to handle the program. Mr. MacKinnon did not think it would take much to change that ordinance and it could be introduced at the next meeting.
Mr. Garrett encouraged Mr. Corso to produce a document indicating his sense of how defensible this would be.
B R E A K
9:20 p.m. – 9:25 p.m.
Administrative Report: Attached. As this was a quasi-judicial action of the Assembly, the Manager had no recommendation.
Mr. Garrett asked for clarification if it was appropriate for the members who did not sit on the appeal and act on the final decision to act on the findings. Mr. Corso said they could do so if they had read and understand the proposed decision.
MOTION - by Garrett, to adopt the draft decision prepared by the Appellant in appeal No. CSP99-00002. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Administrative Report: Attached. As this was a quasi-judicial action of the Assembly, the Manager had no recommendation.
MOTION – by Garrett, that the Assembly adopt the proposed findings that were prepared by the hearing officer in this case, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Administrative Report: Attached. Because this was an appeal, the Manager had no recommendation on whether or how the Assembly should hear the appeal. Mr. Corso added that this afternoon he had received a letter from Mr. Erik Twelker, who represents the applicant for the variance in question. Mr. Twelker submits an argument that the appeal ought not be heard by the Assembly because the appellant did not appear at the hearing on the variance. Mr. Corso advised that the Assembly may decide this issue in Mr. Twelker’s absence or it may schedule the matter for further proceeding to hear argument from both sides about whether or not the Assembly should hear this appeal.
Mr. MacKinnon said he did not see the relevance.
MOTION – by Garrett, that the Assembly accept the appeal. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Garrett, that the Assembly hear the appeal itself. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Garrett, that Mr. MacKinnon designate Mr. Perkins as the Presiding Officer.
Mr. Perkins appreciated the vote of confidence but he said he would be tied up with the finance issues over the next several months. As past history has shown, the member who is not in attendance at the Assembly meeting has been given the opportunity to hear these appeals. He yielded to Mr. Mayor to hear this as the hearing officer. There being no objection to Mayor Egan presiding over this appeal, it was so ordered.
A. Manager’s Report - Action Items
1. Sole Source Award to Durham Communications to expand the JPD Radio Console.
Administrative Report: Attached as a red folder item. The source of funds would be out of the police station project.
MOTION - by Garrett, to accept the Manager’s recommendation and award the sole source contract to Durham Communications for $59,330.00 for the new dispatch consoles. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
B. Manager’s Report - Information Items - None
C. Attorney’s Report - None
MOTION – by Muñoz, to confirm the appointment of Lennie Gorsuch, Patty Ann Polley and Robert Urata to the Bartlett Regional Hospital Board of Directors. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Muñoz, to confirm the appointment of Gary Jenkins to the Sales Tax Board of Appeals. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Muñoz, to confirm the appointment of Kim Metclafe-Helmar and Rod Swope to the Tourism Advisory Committee. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. Powell referred to the letter in the packet from the Mendenhall Watershed Partnership Group. They were looking for two liaisons, one city staff member and one from the Assembly. He would be happy to continue as liaison, at the Mayor’s discretion. The group has, in the past two years, formed themselves officially as a non-profit with a board of directors and they are moving on and doing some really good work. He asked Mr. Palmer if he had responded to this request yet and Mr. Palmer said he had sent a letter to Ms. Easterwood asking if she had anyone and if she had any money to pay them if they were not on salary. Mr. Powell added that it was always noticed when city staff was present.
Mr. Koelsch said the Transportation Steering Committee met Thursday, December 2nd at noon. They did not accept the proposed evaluation criteria for future transportation alternatives and they asked staff to go back and work with the consultants to refine the criteria and the format. They identified areas of interest, hot spots, that would need to be addressed right after the no-build and they reviewed public comment from the July open house. The next meeting would be Thursday, at 12:10 in room 211.
Mr. Garrett said the Harbor Board had approved a contract with Peratrovich Nottingham and Drage, Inc. to do a water front strategic analysis and inventory; a comprehensive review of all the land that is owned by or under the control of the Harbor Department. Second, the Harbor Board would be asking the Assembly to support securing control of all of the harbors from the State of Alaska, contingent on the State of Alaska kicking in $6.3M to bring them up to the standards that they are suppose to be. Third, there will be an appropriation ordinance for $950,000 out of the Port Dues account for the Steamship Wharf operations and maintenance improvement project.
Mr. Koelsch thanked staff for the work they put in on the Assembly retreat. He thought it was well done and after Tuesday night’s meeting, staff was directed to come back on Wednesday with a lot of information and they did. He commented that he was very impressed again this year with the Gallery Walk. He thought that was a program that showed one of the best sides of Juneau.
Ms. Muñoz had received a follow up call from the person inquiring about the barking dog ordinance and what the city was going to do to try to streamline the requirements on individuals to prove that there is a problem. Right now it is a pretty onerous process. Mr. Corso said he would provide something in writing as it was a matter of some delicacy between the city and Gastineau Humane Society. He would have that for her at the next meeting. She continued and referred to the discussion at the retreat about going Christmas caroling. She thought it would be nice to meet at the Christmas Tree on Front and Franklin Street prior to the Assembly meeting on the 20th at 5:30, for one hour. She encouraged everyone to bring their families.
Ms. Pillifant said she had an e-mail from someone saying there was a lot of mud, gravel and dirt on the road and in the bike lane between Anka Street and Ready Mix. They had asked if the CBJ had been enforcing the covered load ordinance and were all the trucks using the Lemon Creek pit equipped with tailgates as required by the conditional use permit for the pit.
MOTION – by Garrett, that the Assembly recess into Executive Session for the purpose of conducting the annual evaluation of the CBJ attorney. Since it was a personnel matter, it was appropriate that it be done in Executive Session. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
E X E C U T I V E S E S S I O N
10:00 p.m. – 10:12 p.m.
Mr. Garrett reported that during the Executive Session, the Assembly conducted the annual evaluation of the City Attorney, John Corso. He received very positive glowing remarks from all the members involved in the evaluation and everyone was very pleased with his individual performance and the performance of the Law Department in general. They would proceed with having an ordinance drafted to change the compensation for the city attorney, which will not cost the CBJ any more money but will provide some extra benefits for the city attorney on his retirement.
Marian Miller, Clerk
Deputy Mayor MacKinnon