This October, Skagway residents may vote on whether to tax themselves to pay for a proposed recreation center expansion and pool.
On Thursday, the assembly is holding its first hearing on an ordinance that would send the question to a public vote in this fall’s municipal election.
The ballot proposition would raise sales tax year-round by one percent. Skagway currently has a five percent sales tax during the tourism season and a three percent sales tax in the off-season.
The additional tax revenue would go towards repayment of bond debt on the rec center expansion.
Proponents of the $17 million project say the rec center is in critical need of an upgrade. In addition to creating more space for the existing rec center activities, the plan includes an aquatic wellness center. The wellness center would house a four-lane pool and a therapy pool. There is currently no public pool in Skagway.
Last year, Skagway voters narrowly approved a $6 million bond for a senior center and housing project. The plan is to pay for that bond with property tax dollars.
The senior center architects will give an update on the project’s cost at Thursday’s meeting. They’ve trimmed expenses and developed a management budget in which the facility would generate a modest monthly revenue. After receiving that information, the assembly may decide to move forward with construction design.
Also on the assembly agenda Thursday, a discussion of a new tidelands lease proposal from White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. White Pass is asking for a 20-year lease extension. In return, the company would build a floating addition on the ore dock. The modification is needed to accommodate larger cruise ships.
The municipality has released White Pass’s proposal to KHNS following a public records request.
The meeting is Thursday at 7 p.m. in assembly chambers. There is an executive session at the end of the meeting to conduct borough clerk Emily Deach’s annual evaluation.