City and Borough of Juneau Assembly voted Monday not to increase property taxes and passed a capital budget of more than $385 million for Fiscal Year 2021. The Budget covered the city’s planned capital expenses and funded the school district to the allowable state cap but made cuts as well, according to City Manager Rorie Watt.
“We’ve reduced the number of municipal employees, the overall dollar amounts of the budget, we’ve reduced the capital budget, ” Watt said.
The city cut $.15 million from CBJ staff and $13 million from the capital improvement plan, the list of projects slated for work, and will use $11 million in CARES funding to offset COVID-19-related expenses for the next two years, the city stated in a news release.
The budget, which had already been discussed in Finance Committee meetings, passed with little discussion. The only alteration was the removal of $300,000 set aside for trail maintenance. The Economic Stabilization Task Force set up by Mayor Beth Weldon to study ways to boost Juneau’s economy, made a similar proposal but asked for $1 million in CARES Act funding for a pilot program.
Earlier in the meeting the Assembly moved an ordinance drafted by the task force which would establish a COVID-19 Conservation Corps Program modeled after the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps.
The ordinance will be heard at the Assembly’s next special meeting, Watt said. The idea has already been endorsed by local politicians and businesses and the Alaska Outdoor Alliance has petitioned the state’s Congressional delegation for funding for similar programs state-wide. That petition has already been signed by Mayor Beth Weldon and the Juneau Economic Development Council.
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