This March 2020 photo shows Juneau’s City Hall. At Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, City and Borough of Juneau assembly members agreed to provide $2.88 from the General Fund to Docks and Harbors to purchase a parcel of land located between Harris and Aurora Harbors downtown. (Peter Segall/Juneau Empire File)

This March 2020 photo shows Juneau’s City Hall. At Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, City and Borough of Juneau assembly members agreed to provide $2.88 from the General Fund to Docks and Harbors to purchase a parcel of land located between Harris and Aurora Harbors downtown. (Peter Segall/Juneau Empire File)

Docks and Harbors to buy land

It’s cheaper to buy than rent

Soon, Juneau Docks and Harbors will own new land.

At Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, City and Borough of Juneau Assembly members agreed to provide $2.88 million from the General Fund to Docks and Harbors to purchase a parcel of land located between Harris and Aurora Harbors downtown.

The area is a popular location for commercial and noncommercial boat repair activities. The sale excludes the onsite University of Alaska Southeast Juneau Campus Technical Education Center.

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“Purchase of this property supports the Department’s mission and is a good long term decision for the City and Borough,” reads a memo from Rorie Watt, city manager, to assembly members.

According to Carl Uchytil, CBJ port director, Docks and Harbors has leased the land from the University of Alaska Southeast since 1988 for about $8,000 per year. The university offered favorable lease terms to the city because the city agreed to donate $500,000 to the university’s Egan Library.

However, that long-term lease ended and the new lease terms called for a market-value rate, which would have resulted in rent costs of $230,000 a year.

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With a sale price of $2.88 million, city officials determined that transferring the money for purchase made more sense than another long-term lease. The transfer also reduces operating costs for Docks and Harbors, relieves the pressure to increase harbor fees and eliminates the need to issue a bond for the money.

“It’s better to buy it and pay cash,” said Wade Bryson, Assembly member. “That’s a million dollars we don’t have to collect from taxpayers.”

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@gmail.com or 907-308-4891.

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