Vote no on bond issues, use borough staff to start repair work

At the current time, I am opposed to the bond measures and associated tax increase that are on the municipal election ballot.

We could and should spend at least a year applying our current workforce to doing maintenance and repair to see what we can accomplish out of pocket. There is a lot we can do to improve our infrastructure without great expense or obligation (bonds). We can look at bonding for additional work at a later date, while improving the quality of life for our community immediately.

We need to ask: Do we really want to increase a tax, expense or fee for services at this time? Do we really want to put further financial burden or indebtedness on our citizens and businesses now.

Our industries and citizens in town are already burdened with inflation, the rising cost of materials, increased cost of shipping, rising cost of water and electrical services, insurance costs going up, fuel costs going up, stores (groceries) up 10% to 20%, moorage, dockside utilities increases — and some of us are still recovering from COVID-19 restrictions and financial losses. We’re trying to put our businesses back on track.

In short, everything but wages and resource prices are up. Again, ask yourself, do we really need to add more expense to our businesses and citizens?

I read in our local paper in the past two weeks that our leadership is proposing a possible property tax increase to repay the general obligation bonds. Separately, the paper reported the borough is planning to reassess properties in town, which could increase property taxes. I don’t believe we should do that to our citizens and businesses at this time. I personally know of properties that have increased in value between 33% and 400%. I can assure you they are not looking forward to still more property taxes increases.

Here’s one suggestion we could do now. We could pay out of pocket to have our crews remove the black mold from our schools and municipal buildings.

I am sure everyone in town has watched it grow for the past five years. Black mold is not healthy to live with. Even the strain at the bottom of toxicity aggravates allergy and respiratory problems. The strain with elevated toxicity can affect neurological function in youthful brains. Simply by pressure-washing with fungicide and painting we could better the environment we live in and protect our students better.

Repairing the exteriors will also have the added advantage of getting a better look at what needs to be done and making a safer environment for our students and citizens at the same time. We can revisit borrowing for more major repairs at a later date — but start now.

In closing, I am opposed to the bond issues on the municipal election ballot.

Let’s not panic, as leadership tends to do here. We need to get up and be as self-sufficient as we can. Get Wrangell back to work and support our local businesses.

Mike Lockabey

 

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