The Anchorage Assembly doesn’t think the city has decent childcare options. On Friday, members convened a work session to hear about high costs and limited availability, a first step in learning about the issue as they prepare potential policy proposals.
Assembly members heard the message from daycare professionals that quality childcare in Anchorage is not currently financially feasible. Care for a single infant costs $10,100 on average, and households spend nearly double a share of their income on childcare as is recommended by federal guidelines, 13 percent in the city compared to to seven percent.
Assembly chair Forrest Dunbar says the issue came on his radar during a short-lived proposal from him and member Suzanne LaFrance related to subsidizing daycare for elected members. In the process, constituents told him that even middle-class families with two working parents struggle to pay for childcare.
“It’s more expensive than a mortgage, more expensive than healthcare in some cases,” Dunbar said after an assembly work session. “It’s their single largest expense.”
Dunbar says the goal of upcoming meetings on the topic is to better understand municipal policies that can affect childcare costs and availability. That might include adjustments to zoning requirements or other code changes. He expects a potential ordinance could come during the summer.