Our City

Summer, 1997


By Dave Palmer,
City Manager

If variety is the spice of life, then the city manager's job can be described as spicier than most. Variety, diversity and unpredictability are the norm. The saying here is: "We can't make this stuff up!"

My goal in initiating this newsletter is to present some issues in greater detail than can be covered in the routine news media, and to give you some insight into the services, issues and people of your municipal government.

I wanted a newsletter that you would find informative, so I've contracted with a local journalist, Larry Persily, to write it. Larry's marching orders were to contact city-borough employees of his choice and develop stories that he felt would be of interest to you. Unlike the other work Larry has done in Juneau, I get to edit his work.

However, my goal isn't to sugarcoat anything, rather, I want to provide a general overview of municipal operations and issues.

At this time, I am planning two newsletters a year, with the second issue this fall. Each issue will cost the city about $11,500, or about 72 cents a copy, with more than half of the money going for printing and postage.

Starting with my own office, I probably would not win awards from time-management experts who advise managers to screen their calls or to schedule specific times for telephone callbacks or quiet work time behind closed doors. My style is to answer calls as they come in, schedule appointments as soon as possible, and generally try to address problems as they arise.

This makes for interesting days. I may have the deputy director of the Federal Aviation Administration from Washington, D.C., in my office, followed immediately by a resident complaining about parking enforcement, then an employee-grievance meeting with our personnel director and city attorney.

Interspersed might be phone calls from a state representative on a wetlands issue or a sales representative trying to sell us advertising in a national publication (no thanks), or an attorney proposing that the city-borough make a sweepstakes payment to a client.

I conduct a joint weekly meeting with all department heads to share information and discuss assembly policies and issues, and each department head also comes to the office individually on a weekly schedule to meet with either me or Deputy City Manager Donna Pierce to discuss their specific issues.

At those meetings we discuss issues ranging from street signs, overtime and work priorities to insurance coverage, budgets, lawsuits and customer service.

Then, there's always the chance for something unusual.

Early this summer, a gentleman came to my office and after some small talk he told me he was an angel passing through Juneau on a mission to save the world. He said he was here because there's still hope for Juneau.

We had a nice chat and as he left I considered again the variety of the job. I guess the best way to say it is that I'll listen to helpful advice at any time, and angels are always welcome.




Written by Larry Persily
Published by the City Manager's Office, City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska
In paper and on the World Wide Web at: www.juneau.lib.ak.us/cbj/newsletter/newsltr.htm
July, 1997


Juneau Public Libraries
292 Marine Way
Juneau, Alaska 99801
7/1/97 - bgb

Dave Palmer

Dave Palmer, City Manager

In this issue:

Bond Sales

For the second time in just over a year, the city-borough next month will offer residents a piece of the action.

It's not exactly a piece of the rock, but it is an opportunity for residents to buy tax-free municipal bonds. Money raised by the bond sale will go toward school computers and other classroom technology improvements.

Voters approved the bond sale last fall as the second phase of bringing more computers, networks and software into the schools.

Besides for investing in the community, the bonds are attractive because the interest on municipal bonds is exempt from federal income tax.

Demand far outstripped supply the first time the city offered small-denomination municipal bonds to local residents.

"We had to turn away people," said Barbara J. Rolfe, city treasurer, of the June 1996 sale of $300,000 in bonds to help fund construction of Riverbend Elementary School.

To avoid a repeat of disappointed customers, the city has set aside three times as many school technology bonds -- $910,000 -- for sale to residents July 12. The remaining $3 million of the bond issue will be sold by competitive bid to large investment brokers.

Bonds will be sold to residents in $1,000 denominations, with a $1,000 minimum investment. Interest will be paid twice a year, and the bonds will have maturities of one to 10 years.

The interest rates will vary, depending on maturity, with rates expected to range between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent. Longer-term bonds will earn more interest than the shorter-term investments.

Interest rates will be set the day before the sale based on comparable offerings in the municipal bond market -- and will be published in the Juneau Empire on Friday, July 11, or residents may call City Hall at 586-5215 or 586-5218.

The bond sale will be held in the Hickel Room at Centennial Hall on Saturday, July 12. The doors will open at 9 a.m., with sign-in to close at 10 a.m. The bonds will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Residents who will be out of town the day of the sale may submit a written request to purchase bonds; the written requests will be filled if any bonds are unsold after the public session at Centennial Hall.

For more information, call the finance department at 586-5218 or 586-5215.