By Ed Zastrow
September 21, 2006
About the sales tax, why
it doesn't sunset, and why in this case that's a
The "up to 30%" of the sales tax revenue that is reserved for long-term maintenance and a portion of operating costs will still be available to ensure the long-term sustainability of the White Cliff Center. For many people (including major granting agencies), that's exactly the kind of planning that they want to invest in. In fact, many consider it prudent to plan for those costs in the beginning of a project, rather than be surprised by them down the line.
About the senior sales tax
This community has decided to recognize its seniors and their years of service in building this community by exempting them from sales tax. That's a decision that people can debate from lots of angles. In fact, there's a group that exists to address just those kinds of issues. The joint tax committee is made up by Borough and City representatives, and I'm sure the City and Borough Clerks can let folks know when they meet next.
Regardless of your position on the senior sales tax exemption, the two propositions on the ballot aren't about that. This vote is about an opportunity we have to do something great with White Cliff. The plan on the table is for a center that addresses important community needs. And folks, let me tell you, this community needs a bigger, more accessible senior center, and doing that with the arts groups makes it an even stronger project, for both seniors and the arts. When I was at the White House Council on Aging in December, this was exactly the kind of project they were talking about building senior centers in places that are more accessible, multigenerational, and inviting to the whole community. White Cliff will do that.
About the current Senior
The biggest reason we don't serve more seniors is that we don't have the space we need. When we have expanded dining and social space at White Cliff along with dance studios and art classrooms close by we'll be able to do a whole lot of things that are just not possible in our existing "one-room" senior center.
About phased construction.
However, Mr. Beck's assertion that we're planning to do this project in phases is not correct. The project has been proposed as a single construction phase. This will be the most cost-effective approach for renovation of the building, rather than dividing the project into separate, distinct phases. (We DID do a phased Site Review, and that might be the source of the confusion. In assessing the feasibility of this project, we conducted a condition survey of the building before we wanted to commit any resources to developing the conceptual plan for how we would use the building.)
We have all been singed by that experience, but if you look beyond Ketchikan, you don't have to look far to find many examples of successful projects, where old buildings have been turned into senior housing, retail space, day care centers, etc.
Please take the time to find
out more, and don't forget to vote!
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