Anchorage Assembly members say they want to ensure the mayor follows the city budget they approve. To try to do that, the body approved an ordinance Tuesday to clarify that budgets can be passed without funding certification.
The issue stems from late last year when the Assembly passed a version of the budget different from what was submitted by Mayor Dave Bronson. Bronson then made vetoes to the Assembly’s budget and the Assembly overrode most of them.
While, per city code, the mayor should have followed the final budget passed by the Assembly, Midtown Assembly member Meg Zaletel said that didn’t happen when the budget took effect in January.
“The Assembly was working from the budget that they passed, and approved and overrode the vetoes on,” Zaletel said. “And the mayor’s office was working from the submitted budget.”
At the time, the mayor’s administration justified its decision by saying that the chief fiscal officer couldn’t certify the funding projections in the Assembly’s budget. Zaletel said no Anchorage mayor has done that before.
During this year’s first-quarter budget revisions, the city began using the Assembly’s budget. Zaletel said the ordinance passed by the Assembly Tuesday night further asserts in code that fund certification will only apply to the actual spending of money, and not for budgeting.
“The original budget the mayor puts forward is a submitted budget. It is not a passed budget,” Zaletel said. “And that fund certification is a non-discretionary ministerial act. And that it’s not required for the general approval of the budget.”
Assembly members Jamie Allard and Randy Sulte voted against the measure.