Anchorage Mayor Bronson issues vetoes to city budget

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson listens during an Anchorage Assembly meeting on July 12, 2022. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson on Tuesday vetoed city money to permanently increase capacity at the Brother Francis shelter — and now says he wants to fund it with a grant.

The nearly $1.2 million cut is among Bronson’s largest vetoes to the next year’s city budget, announced in a statement Tuesday evening. The Assembly had passed the budget last week in a 9 to 3 vote and it totaled roughly $3.6 million more than Bronson had proposed.

Midtown Anchorage Assembly member Felix Rivera said the Brother Francis shelter, which is operated by Catholic Social Services, usually has a capacity of 75 people. Then in July, the Assembly gave it funding to operate at a surge capacity of 120. The funding vetoed by Bronson would’ve made the surge capacity permanent. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Bronson said he appreciates the work that Brother Francis has done, but said the shelter wouldn’t be able to “comply with the terms” of the capacity increase. However, Catholic Social Services spokeswoman Molly Cornish said in an interview that’s not correct. She said the shelter can keep its 120-person capacity but needs the money to do so. 

In a video statement on Wednesday, a day after he announced the vetoes, Bronson said he’d direct the Anchorage Health Department to prepare a grant agreement with Brother Francis staff to get them the funding they requested.

Bronson also vetoed about $45,000 in funding for more security at Assembly meetings and $150,000 for the Assembly to help with grants related to the alcohol tax. 

The Assembly is likely to override the mayor’s vetoes in the coming days, with eight votes required to do so.

This year’s cycle of budget vetoes is less contentious than last year’s when Bronson vetoed most of the changes made by the Assembly. The Assembly ended up overriding nearly all of his vetoes.

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Editor’s note: This story was updated with Mayor Dave Bronson’s statement on Wednesday that he wanted the Anchorage Health Department to work with Brother Francis to get grant funding.

Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org

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