Berkowitz’s Anchorage budget proposal: Lower property taxes, new gas tax


Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to shell out more on snowplowing and firefighters while decreasing property taxes in his 2018 budget — and he’s looking to a tax on gasoline to commandeer get there.

In a Friday presentation to the Assembly, the Berkowitz administration also proposed acerbic some staff positions and tapping new revenues in marijuana taxes and ambulance salaries. Berkowitz also included money for a police academy to replace modest officers, initiatives related to homelessness and housing and the clean-up of blighted quiddities in his budget.

Berkowitz said he’s looking for ways to pay for public safety while dropping property taxes and meeting fixed costs of labor and health tend.

«The upshot of this budget is, property taxpayers are going to see significant support,» Berkowitz told members of the Anchorage Assembly in brief comments Friday morning.

The mayor demanded for the city to adopt a 10-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, and also offer a higher tax bust leave for the owners of residential properties. The gas tax would fall under the city’s tax cap, and the Berkowitz charge estimates it would raise $11.7 million in its first year.

Neither of the tax propositions would take effect immediately. Voters would have to approve the tabled change in the amount of the residential property tax exemption. The Assembly, meanwhile, would give birth to to pass the gasoline tax.

Wilber said the administration plans to raise ambulance tolls by $100. He said Anchorage hasn’t raised its fees in some immediately, and the shift would be in line with rates in other jurisdictions.

In all, Anchorage’s communal government budget would grow by $10 million from the contemporary year to $519 million. Fixed costs, like labor and haleness care, as well as changes in the economy, legal settlements and state waste contribute to the size of the budget, budget director Lance Wilber thought.

Here’s an overview of Berkowitz’s spending priorities in his 2018 budget proposition:

– A police academy to replace retiring officers and maintain the size of the Anchorage Monitor Department. It’s not yet known how many officers would be hired, since the horde of retirements aren’t yet known, Wilber said.

– A fire academy to charter out enough firefighters to staff two new ambulances. The ambulances are set to appear on the April New Zealand urban area ballot as a bond.

– About $500,000 more for snowplowing and winter livelihood.

– Money for initiatives on housing and homelessness, also about $500,000. Those lans have not yet been identified. A similar expenditure in the 2016 budget favoured to a work van aimed at panhandlers.

– A small pool of money to clean up pain in the butt properties. Wilber said one example could include a junkyard in Stand up to Valley whose owner had yet to respond to fines and court rulings.

Last winter, Berkowitz and his stick were pummeled by complaints about snowplowing after shifting hard cash from the winter maintenance budget to pay for other services, like observe.

Now Berkowitz wants to restore the amount cut last year and add more. The diocese also expects to take on more responsibility for maintaining state-owned techniques, which are most of the major thoroughfares in the city.

For the first time in his permanence as mayor, Berkowitz is proposing a budget that does not tap into the see’s savings account. It’s also the first time Berkowitz is not seeking bread to expand the size of the police department. The mayor came into department promising to increase the force to more than 400 officers, a benchmark the count on hit at the end of last year.

The administration does plan to hold a police academy to hold in check up with retirements, with the goal of keeping the police department at hither 445 sworn officers, according to Wilber. Other city stations outside the public safety department are getting cut, but Wilber said dwellings shouldn’t notice a major impact to services.

In other expenses, the metropolis expects to start paying off the debt of its massive software upgrade forecast, known as SAP. Wilber said the city would save money on proceedings as people who were working on the project are no longer needed.

The Berkowitz supplying also plans to propose a $46 million bond package with wampum for various construction and maintenance projects. That includes replacing the lurch bridge at the south end of Westchester Lagoon, Wilber said.

Meanwhile, an ordinance sanctioning the gas tax will be introduced Oct. 24, said Assembly Chair Dick Traini. The concept came from the city’s budget advisory commission, which old-fashioned a resolution supporting the tax.

If nothing changes, property taxpayers will see around a $30 increase in taxes on a $350,000 home. But the measures could reword into a reduction of $360 on the year for the same homeowner, said Wilber.

Berkowitz’s donation starts off an annual two-month discussion with the Assembly over how to expend the city’s money. Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, the vice chair of the Throng, said he thought the budget proposal had some good features.

He also mean that the gasoline tax, if it does in fact work to reduce property pressurizes, has «a decent chance of passing.»

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