Anchorage Assembly OKs 2024 budgets with veto-proof majority

the corner of the City Hall building
Anchorage City Hall on Dec. 8, 2020 (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly passed a spending plan Tuesday night that directs more than $1 billion for city services, capital projects and city-owned enterprises and utilities in 2024.

That figure does not include another roughly quarter billion dollars in local property taxes likely bound for the Anchorage School District, to be determined after the new year. 

The Assembly added about $16.5 million, or about 2.8%, to the city operating budget that Mayor Dave Bronson proposed last month.

Bronson said he supported about a third of the Assembly’s additions. That includes significant pay increases for Anchorage police officers and heavy equipment operators and technology upgrades to make Assembly meetings more accessible.

On the city’s capital improvement program, Bronson said he also supported a change to secure funding for a winter warming center at Cuddy Family Midtown Park in 2025, instead of 2029. The change would add $250,000 in debt to an upcoming ballot question.

Separately, city officials had previously signaled that a contract would be up Tuesday to pay for a 24/7 winter warming center for up to 50 people this winter. 

The contract would go to Graceful Touch Transitional Services, but no one brought it up at Tuesday’s Assembly meeting. The nonprofit’s founder, Stephanie Williams, said the Fairview Community Council pushed back on the concept Monday. 

Williams said council members visited the site on Gambell Street on Wednesday. 

“They left saying they’re very pleased and they want to see this open, we just gotta work together to do a few things,” she said. “So I’m confident that the warming center will go forward.”

How to budget for unusually high staff vacancies was one of the biggest disagreements between the Assembly and Mayor Bronson. Bronson proposed various cuts to more closely fit budgeted staffing levels with actual staffing levels.

Assembly Vice Chair Meg Zaletel co-chairs the Assembly’s budget committee. She said high vacancies have led to poorer city services, a loss of institutional knowledge and additional costs to hire private contractors to pick up the slack. 

“So we’re paying for it one way or another,” she said. “Without a well-staffed municipal workforce our city suffers. And this budget puts that front and center.” 

The mayor has seven days to exercise his line-item veto power. The Assembly can override vetoes with an eight-vote supermajority.

All of the changes the Assembly made passed with more than eight votes.

Jeremy Hsieh covers Anchorage with an emphasis on housing, homelessness, infrastructure and development. Reach him at or 907-550-8428. Read more about Jeremy here.

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