It was a very warm and tense multi-hour meeting in the City and Borough of Juneau’s Assembly chamber’s Wednesday night.
While the sun shined bright outside, Assembly members and community leaders gathered in the windowless room with fans blowing loud during the Finance Committee meeting to find out what community funding requests would receive funding in the city budget for the next fiscal year.
Of the 15 requests sent in that ranged from $2,000 to $1.4 million, the Assembly voted for six requests to be fully funded, five requests to be funded with a reduction and four requests to be rejected.
In total, the Assembly only accepted around $2.7 million of the $11 million in requests.
Of the requests that received no funding were two asks made by Bartlett Regional Hospital for operations totaling $2.5 million, the Dimond Park Fieldhouse elevator request by Southeast Alaska Independent Living for $1.02 million and the grant-matching request by the Juneau Economic Development Council for $30,000.
In an interview with the Empire, hospital CEO David Keith said he was disappointed with the Assembly’s decisions. Bartlett’s chief financial officer Sam Muse said the rejected funding means the hospital will have to rework its budget to fill in the gaps that the anticipated funding would have filled.
The elevator project at the Dimond Park Fieldhouse will still receive some funding, even though the $1.02 million request was rejected, as Mayor Beth Weldon made a motion to instead move $150,000 from the city’s deferred maintenance fund to go toward the project. Her motion was approved by the Assembly.
The asks that were approved, or approved with a reduction are as follows:
— $1 million in one-time funding to assist in the construction of 28 permanent supportive housing units in Juneau. That amount is a $400,000 reduction from what was originally asked by the Juneau Housing First Collaborative. The $1 million will be pulled from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund, instead of general funds like the majority of the request. The reduced $400,000 was instead moved to the 2025 pending list.
—$320,000 in one-time funding to the Sealaska Heritage Institute for the development and construction costs for renovating a downtown building for a Science, Technology, Engineering Art and Math Makerspace. That amount is $180,000 less than the original ask.
— $168,000 in one-time funding for server replacement, encoder/decoder streaming equipment replacement for Gavel Alaska. That amount is half of what the Alaska Committee requested.
— $40,000 in one-time funding to the Juneau Economic Development Council for operations. That’s $30,000 less than what was asked by the council.
— $235,094 in one-time funding to Alaska Heat Smart for operations. The request was fully funded.
— $25,000 in one-time funding to replace and expand Juneau Nordic Ski Club trail-grooming equipment. The request was fully funded.
— $17,700 in recurring funding to the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. The request was fully funded.
— $2,000 to the Juneau Festival Committee. The request was fully funded.
— $50,000 in one-time funding to the Rock Dump for the planning and designing of a proposed new facility. The request was fully funded.
— $80,000 in one-time funding for the Juneau Trails Plan. The request was fully funded.
— $40,000 in one-time funding to the Downtown Business Association for it to maintain its accreditation with Main Street America and for operation funding. The amount approved was $35,000 less than what the association originally asked for.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807.