The Anchorage Assembly has approved its budget revisions for the first quarter of this year, adding more than $5.6 million for a list of items including police officers in public schools, operating the mobile crisis team 24/7, more firefighters and restoring grant funding for sexual assault prevention programs.
The Assembly approved the additions late Tuesday night in a unanimous vote that included newly-elected members Kevin Cross and Randy Sulte.
A little under $1 million of the added funding comes from unspent alcohol taxes from last year. Assembly member Forrest Dunbar said the increase in spending from general property taxes falls under the tax cap.
“By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, we’re about $841,000 under the cap when you add the smaller amendments that we passed over the course of the night,” Dunbar said. “Mostly this just gets us back to zero. It gets us back to the 2022 budget that the Assembly passed and then the mayor did not implement.”
The funding adjustments Tuesday cap months of budget disputes between Mayor Dave Bronson and the Assembly.
Earlier this month, Bronson had proposed adding $5 million to the Anchorage police and fire departments’ budgets. However, Bronson was using a city budget that was not passed by the Assembly when he made that budget proposal. He switched back to it last week.
Assembly member Jamie Allard, a staunch supporter of Bronson’s, said she hopes not all of the Assembly’s budget changes stick.
“I don’t agree with everything in this budget,” Allard said. “But there is some things that I do agree with, and I do look forward to — hopefully — that there will be some items that will be vetoed.”
If Bronson does veto the budget, the Assembly would need eight members to override him.
As for the proposed homeless shelter in East Anchorage, the Assembly pushed its vote on funding for construction to a special meeting on Thursday.