Sample ballots from the City and Borough of Juneau for the Oct. 6, 2020, municipal election. Voters will be asked to vote on two ballot propositions, one to establish a commission to review the city charter and one issuing $15 million in bonds for infrastructure projects. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Sample ballots from the City and Borough of Juneau for the Oct. 6, 2020, municipal election. Voters will be asked to vote on two ballot propositions, one to establish a commission to review the city charter and one issuing $15 million in bonds for infrastructure projects. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Opinion: Why I’ll be voting for the bond package

“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.”

  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020 10:26am
  • Opinion

By Andy Romanoff

When my local election ballot soon arrives in the mail, I’ll be voting yes for Ballot Proposition 2.

The upcoming Juneau, Alaska, election features Ballot Proposition 2, a bond package that seeks to raise $15 million for infrastructure improvements, streets, parks and facility repairs, and energy efficiency upgrades. A recent letter to the editor ‘urged caution’ when considering this measure. As a responsible homeowner, I believe strongly in the value of taking care of my investments, fixing things before they are in total disrepair, making my home energy efficient, and in general, keeping out in front of upkeep and maintenance. Why? My wife and I did buy this house after all, so in the end, we save money, time and stress. Should I apply this same thinking to the ballot proposition, or should I be putting off this sort of spending, and, as the earlier writer suggested, be cautious?

[Opinion: Vote no on Prop 2 —debt is a 4-letter word]

In thinking more about a cautious approach to the ballot measure, I guess it may be wise. I should heed caution regarding those who may be hesitant to invest in measures that will save the city money in the long run. I should be cautious of my neighbors who come across as hesitant to work to prevent Juneau’s infrastructure from falling into a further state of disrepair. As a teen, I recall helping my father with house projects and he quoting to me “It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.” In other words he was telling me that we should fix the roof, upgrade the heating system, repair the leaky ventilation equipment, now, before a much more expensive project is required.

Rumors have been spreading over concerns about a gross lack of detail in the ballot measure, details that could inform voters about where the bond money will be directed. Amazingly enough, the city was so kind as to actually mail us these specifics. All that was required to find these important details was to take the stroll to my mail box and pull out Juneau’s Local Voter Guide. Inside, I found the following:

— School Facility Repairs Including Roof Replacements. The roofs at Sayéik: Gastineau, Dzantik’l Heeni and Riverbend schools are beyond repair and in need of replacement to keep the facilities safe and functional for Juneau’s students and teachers.

— Park Infrastructure and Recreation Facilities. These projects will address needed repairs and maintenance of Juneau’s most heavily used parks and facilities. Projects will be selected from the six-year Capital Improvement Plan and area master plans. They include but are not limited to: improvements to Adair-Kennedy, Capital School, Melvin, Savikko, Cope and Dimond Parks. Facilities that need maintenance and repair include Treadwell Arena, Eagle Valley Center, and Harmon Rifle Range.

— Energy Efficiency Building Maintenance. The six-year Capital Improvement Plan lists a number of deferred maintenance projects that would improve energy efficiency at Borough facilities, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and operational costs. Examples of projects include replacing boilers at aging fire stations, installing modern heating and electrical controls at facilities, and LED lighting upgrades.

— City Streets. The six-year Capital Improvement Plan establishes a schedule for reconstructing city streets and associated utility infrastructure. It is the intent of the Assembly to rehabilitate a collector street from this list that serves the general public and will improve the surface transportation net-work in Juneau.

Seems I owe a debt of gratitude to our local leaders for providing such clarity. The guide provides more than enough detail to inform my decision making. Now, I am certain that I will vote yes on Ballot Proposition 2. Jobs will be created, infrastructure will be maintained, facilities will be made more efficient and lower long-term energy costs and parks and streets will not fall into disrepair. And, it seems that with today’s very low interest rates, these responsible and proactive steps can be accomplished for just pennies per day per homeowner. My father would approve.

• Andy Romanoff is a 29-year Juneau resident, a property tax payer for 21 years and sits on the board of Renewable Juneau. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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