The Anchorage Assembly has overridden all of Mayor Dave Bronson’s line-item budget vetoes for the city’s operations in 2024.
The Assembly had added $15.6 million to Bronson’s proposed operating budget of $598 million. Bronson’s vetoes would have reversed about half of the additions. But the Assembly voted 8-2 at its meeting Tuesday night to keep their budget amendments intact.
In a statement announcing the vetoes, Bronson justified some cuts over what he sees as procedural missteps, some to protect property taxpayers and some he sees as maintaining voters’ intent for how the city’s alcohol tax should be spent.
Some Assembly members took issue with Bronson’s stated rationale for the cuts, and the Assembly and mayor debated the veto overrides for about a half-hour Tuesday night.
“I could dredge up a lot of other issues, but I won’t,” Assembly member Felix Rivera said. “We have the votes to override. Let’s override.”
Members Kevin Cross and Randy Sulte voted against the veto override. Members Kameron Perez-Verdia and Scott Myers were absent.
In other news from Tuesday’s meeting, the Assembly voted down a mayoral appointment for Aaron Rhoades to serve on the city’s Human Resources Advisory Board.
Assembly member Karen Bronga took issue with how Rhoades, as acting human resources director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, reportedly handled an employee’s sexual harassment complaint against then-borough Mayor Charlie Pierce in 2022.
The meeting also included a brief protest by members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation Anchorage, who voiced their support of Palestine.
After two protesters spoke out of turn and disrupted the meeting, Assembly Chair Chris Constant took a dinner break and ordered the chambers cleared. At the end of the night, two protesters spoke during audience participation and asked the Assembly to take up a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.