(Juneau Empire File)

Letter: A new City Hall “just makes financial sense” to city manager?

Juneau’s Assembly and our outgoing City Manager are trying to convince voters and property taxpayers that building a new City Hall makes financial sense. As a retired CPA of 45 years, I question their numbers.

We are being asked to approve a $27 million bond requiring annual principal and interest payments of nearly $1.87 million for 25 years. That annual payment is more than $1 million over the current annual lease payments. CBJ’s study says it will cost no more than $43.3 million. The study includes construction cost estimates from a local architectural firm. Not to disparage architects, but my experience has been that neither contractors nor architects are usually on or under budget with their estimates. The study covers the next 70 years, and includes many assumptions and estimates of costs to build, maintain, and operate the building, and refers to an optional add-on of an underground parking garage for nearly $3.6 million for 36 parking spaces. (Each parking space will cost $100,000!) And 36 spaces are only about 20% of the total spaces needed just for employees. The garage cost is not in the $43.3 million amount represented to the voters.

It does not make financial sense to rely on a study that tries to predict the course of 70 years of economic events. I urge the voters of Juneau to vote no on Proposition No. 1.

David V. Kirstien