A pedestrian walks by City Hall on June 7, 2017. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire File)

A pedestrian walks by City Hall on June 7, 2017. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire File)

Child care, downtown development on city docket this week

Searches for new superintendent, Assembly member continue

Juneauites have a few chances to get involved in local government this week, with multiple meetings being open to the public.

Childcare shortage

One of Mayor Beth Weldon’s main initiatives since taking office has been addressing the shortage of child care in Juneau. On Friday, the task force made up of four Assembly members and three community members will be having its third meeting to address the issue.

The two questions the task force is focusing on are: Should child care be part of our core municipal activities? And should education be a part of child care? The task force has been working to address these questions, and members of the public are invited to weigh in at the meeting at noon on Friday in City Hall.

Assembly work session

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole will meet Monday to work on several issues. The meeting has been moved from 6 p.m. and will now start earlier at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall. They will be discussing a downtown waterfront development and will be updated on several new developments, including the recent decision on the cruise ship lawsuit against the city.

[City looking for bargain with downtown waterfront development]

City officials are currently working with a private company that’s looking to develop a waterfront area next to the downtown library, with the hope that this project can improve the area with a relatively low cost to the city. Developing that lot takes some cooperation with the CBJ, which owns a portion of the land. At the worksession on Monday, the Assembly will be talking about the next steps in this process.

The Assembly members will also discuss what comes next after a long-awaited legal decision came down last week.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland issued his decision on a cruise ship lawsuit against CBJ, mostly favoring the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) Alaska affiliate in its case. The case was to determine how exactly cities can spend the money they collect from marine passenger fees and port development fees, also known as head taxes, which are fees collected from each cruise ship passenger.

Holland ruled that it’s constitutional for a city to collect these fees, which CBJ City Manager Rorie Watt said was good news to them. Holland also ruled that municipalities can only spend the revenue from those fees on “endeavors that facilitate the marine operations of plaintiffs’ members’ vessels.” In other words, the money can be used to benefit the cruise ships, not the cruise passengers or the general public.

Their discussion of this topic will not be open to the public.

Juneau School District superintendent search

The Juneau School District Board of Education meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Thunder Mountain High School library. They will be discussing a variety of topics, including the superintendent search process.

Capital City Fire/Rescue Annual Awards Banquet and Fireman’s Ball

The annual Fireman’s Ball will feature music and dancing. There will be a no host bar provided by The Prospector Hotel. Proceeds from the event go to the Alaska State Firefighter’s Association: Juneau Chapter.

Gamble and the High Costa Living will perform at the event at Centennial Hall on Dec. 15 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets are available online through the Facebook event through Dec. 10.

Search for next District 1 Assembly member

Assembly member Jesse Kiehl was elected earlier this month to the state Senate. In anticipation of his resignation in January 2019, the Assembly began accepting Letters of Interest and Declaration of Candidacy forms from Nov. 30 through the close of the business day on Jan. 2, 2019.

Residents eligible for the District 1 seat must live in downtown Juneau, Douglas, North Douglas, Lemon Creek or near the airport. If you have questions about which Assembly District you reside in, you may contact the Clerk’s Office to confirm your eligibility.

Per CBJ code, the appointed candidate will serve “until the next regularly scheduled election” in Oct. 2019, at which time the seat will be placed on the municipal ballot for the remaining year of the term.

Declaration of Candidacy forms are available on the CBJ website or in hard copy at the Municipal Clerk’s office. In addition to the requirement to file a Declaration of Candidacy form and Letter of Interest, the person appointed to the seat will be required to file an Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) Public Official Financial Disclosure Statement within 30 days of taking office.

• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at 523-2228 or mbarnes@juneauempire.com.

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