Voters may get to weigh in on two ballot propositions in this year’s municipal election. When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight it will consider a proposition that, if approved by voters, would retain the 1% seasonal sales tax increase, and to use the revenue to replace aging school infrastructure.
Since 2004, the city has raised the sales tax from 5% to 6% each summer, but under current code, that seasonal increase sunsets if all school bond debt is paid off. This year, the bond debt was retired and the sales tax didn’t increase for the summer months. However, with no funding mechanism to replace the city’s aging school buildings, Prop 1 sponsors want to ask voters to restore the 1 percent seasonal increase each summer to pay for aging school infrastructure.
The second proposition the assembly will consider putting out to voters deals with who can be on the Sitka School Board, which has experienced a high degree of turnover over the last few years. Current code prevents city employees from serving on the school board. The proposition would open those seats up to city employees, provided they do not work for the school district.
In other business, a group of Sitkans who live in the 3400 block of Halibut Point Road are calling for the assembly to reconsider its decision to overturn a permit denial for a residential treatment center that would serve teens and young adults experiencing homelessness. The assembly has several options as it considers the request filed by Carolyn Black and 22 other neighbors: it can deny the request, grant the request and deliberate, or grant the request and call for an “argument” which would essentially work as a “closed record” appeals process in which no new evidence can be accepted, and the arguments would be limited to specific questions or issues.
Finally, at 5 p.m. tonight, prior to its regular meeting, the assembly will host a ceremony celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska – the first compacting agreement of its kind in the state.
Raven News will broadcast the Sitka Assembly meeting tonight at 6 following Alaska News Nightly.