- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Juneau officials are whittling down a list of state funding requests amid potential state budget deficits of more than $3 billion for both this year and next due to low oil prices.

The finance committee for the local assembly agreed Wednesday to prioritize five projects out of an original list of 29. The new list consists of a water treatment plant, well improvements, a tower upgrade for emergency radio communications, a rebuild of the Douglas Harbor and additional snow-clearing machines that could handle narrow sidewalks.

Part of the public frustration over a new city transit plan stemmed from the inability of bus riders to walk down snow-covered sidewalks to stops farther away.

Assembly members agreed that airport and school officials would be consulted for their top priorities, which would be added to a list for future years, the Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/1zAZtag ).

Some school district requests that didn’t make the cut included new math and social studies curriculums. Mayor Merrill Sanford said every request on the original list was important to the departments requesting them but some could afford to be delayed.

The city itself faces a $7.2-million deficit for 2016.

In drafting the list, Assemblywoman Kate Troll expressed a need for action on addressing the disposal of biosolids, the sludge leftover from wastewater treatment plants. The city’s biosolids incinerator broke down in 2010, and biosolids are being shipped to Oregon at a cost of $2 million annually.

A biosolids disposal plan could cost $22 million. Sanford said he thought it could be put off for another year or two.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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