At what point do we hold the
line on new taxes?
By Rodney Dial
November 26, 2008
In three locations in my previous letter 12 was listed when
it should have read 1/2 % (one-half percent) this is due to a
formatting error when my MS Word document is converted into a
SitNews letter. The proposed tax increase to build the new pool
will take the sales tax rate to 6.25 to 6.50 %.
Also, a few other important facts about the pool and library.
Library - when you read about the different costs ranging from
13.3 million to 25 million, the latter figure includes a parking
garage. Where the library is proposed to be built is on a parking
lot downtown which will displace nearly 60 parking spaces. This
means that our downtown will face the parking nightmare that
Juneau has unless we build a parking garage.
Library supporters know this and realize that a facility costing
25 million will require a vote of the public. Without the parking
garage attached to the project they may be able to get the structure
built without a vote of the people, by using city reserves and
borough funding. Once the new library is built the public will
be arm twisted into building a parking garage (which will require
bonds and a vote), or will suffer with unbearable parking downtown.
City reserves should be maintained for emergencies like the
bridge and road repairs going on around town now, not to build
projects without voter approval.
The borough moving out of the Reid building will not solve the
parking problem created by building a new library, as it is the
intent of local government to sell the building. Whoever buys
the building will utilize parking vacated by borough employees
who have moved to the White Cliff building.
A new much larger Library could be housed at the old bowling
alley, or in the mall for a fraction of the cost of a new building
downtown. This would have the benefit of no maintenance costs,
reduced operating costs, does not displace any downtown parking,
is more centrally located, could be done immediately and would
require NO tax increases.
I also keep hearing this ridiculous argument that building a
big library will somehow attract people to our community. I'm
sorry but that's plain silly. I have moved numerous times in
my life and the size of the community's library never even crossed
my mind as a consideration. All the people migrating out of
western Alaska into Anchorage are doing so because of the high
cost of living, not how large the libraries are.
Pool. Did you know that the proposed larger pool will cost between
20 to 30 thousand or more per month, just to heat?
Think these are minor tax increases? Here is a snapshot of how
your sales taxes have increased in recent years (does not include
the increase in property taxes):
1992 Increase sales tax to 2% and establish a Borough Sales Tax
Recreation Capital Projects Fund
1999 Adoption of a 1% hospital and other public works sales tax
2004 Increase general sales tax by 1/2 (one half) % dedicated
to bondable school capital projects and insurance on school buildings
Finally, as you consider increasing your taxes for new and bigger
pool and library, keep in mind that your water rates are set
to increase by 15% in the coming months.
At what point do we hold the line on new taxes?
About: "Local business
Received November 25, 2008
- Published November 26, 2008
future of Ketchikan By Rodney Dial
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