GROWING CONCERNS – Sitkans Andrea Fraga and Kaleb Aldred of Middle Island Gardens introduce themselves to an audience of around 100 this afternoon during the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit in Sweetland Hall on the SJ campus. The three-day conference, organized by Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, runs through Sunday at several Sitka venues. Some of Saturday's topics include farming in Fairbanks, pest control and cultivating gourmet mushrooms. Vendor tables will be set up on Saturday and Sunday at Harrigan Centennial Hall. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Local Decisions

Turning away from our ongoing concerns about the federal budget impasse in Washington, it is fitting that over the next few days we focus attention on government issues close to home.
    Election day next Tuesday is when we voters make our major decisions of the year for our hometown.
    The candidates, as usual, are our friends and neighbors. This issue of the Sentinel contains an overview of the election and the ballot proposition, as well as information provided by the candidates themselves, which we hope will assist our readers in making decisions in the polling booth.
    The ballot proposition, particularly, deserves careful consideration by every voter and taxpayer. It proposes a trade-off of funding sources to pay off an old issue of Sitka school bonds.
    There is no doubt that, if approved, it will “free up” several hundred thousand dollars every year that will no longer be needed to pay for these bonds.
    But as in many such situations, there is no free lunch being offered here. The price will come in the form of extra years being added to the term of the temporary 1 percent seasonal sales tax, which is accumulating revenue faster than it currently is needed to pay off other school bonds.
    Other things being equal, this extra revenue could be used to put an end to the seasonal tax earlier than scheduled.
    There is a persuasive argument, however, that since out-of-town visitors contribute to the summertime tax, this is the way to share our burden, since one way or another, the bonds WILL be paid off.
    We leave it to our informed readers to make wise choices in their selection of officers for the Assembly and the School Board, and we endorse passage of the proposition that will allow us to use our local tax resources more efficiently.

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