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10/1/2012
Decision time

There are only two real decisions on Tuesday’s local election ballot, but they are important.

And then there is the importance of taking part in our government.

So we hope you will vote tomorrow. It won’t take long.

We’re all asked to select two Borough Assembly members — Todd Phillips and Jim Van Horn are on the ballot; three School Board members to serve three-year terms — Stephen Bradford, Ralph Beardsworth and Colleen Scanlon have stepped up; and one School Board member to a two-year term — Michelle O’Brien.

The borough ballot has one of the decisions, a yes-or-no answer. Should the borough issue up to $5.5 million in bonds to pay for capital improvements in our local public schools?

If the bond passes, the state would actually fund nearly $3.8 million of the total, or 68 percent. Taxes would not be raised to fund the bond; the Assembly already has appropriated more than is needed to pay for the remainder.

If the bond fails, the school district would take another look at its capital projects and probably defer some of them.

Projects proposed under the bonding are $1.94 million for the high school in the form of Dudley Field improvements, new stage lighting, replacement of the clock system, energy efficiency measures and air handler control installations.

There would also be upgrades to Kayhi’s pavement, replacement of the Kayhi telephone system and the sound system in the gym, and the replacement of worn flooring at several schools.

Also in the bond proposal is $1 million to demolish the Mike Smithers Community Pool, $282,390 for Houghtaling Elementary playground improvements and sidewalks and a Point Higgins Elementary fire department hose connection.

The bonds would also cover $925,700 for Fawn Mountain Elementary arctic entries, field restrooms and changing facilities; an emergency generator; surfacing of the kickball field, and sidewalk maintenance.

Schoenbar Middle School would get $217,280 for fence and sidewalk upgrades.

So it’s important for borough residents to go to the polls Tuesday for that bond issue alone.

Borough residents who live within the City of Ketchikan are asked to fill two City Council seats with two candidates: Robert Sivertsen and DeAnn Karlson, both of whom already hold those seats.

But there are two candidates for the single job of city mayor: incumbent Lew Williams III, and challenger Lewis Armey Jr.

City voters, then, have two decisions to make: School bonds, and who should be mayor.

Both are meaningful decisions with implications for our shared future.

It’s also meaningful to candidates who have filed to get our support in their work ahead.

We thank them for stepping forward to run and take their turn sharing the official burden of making our community work the way we want it to work.

You can vote at Schoenbar Middle School, The Plaza mall, the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry terminal, North Tongass Fire Stations No. 6 (755- N. Tongass Hwy.) and No. 8 (13110 N. Tongass Hwy.), the Saxman Community Center and Fawn Mountain Elementary School.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Please vote.