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Assembly candidate Q&A: Does the city's budget have room to grow?

Anchorage residents will vote on candidates for six open seats on the 11-member Anchorage Assembly at the municipal election on April 1. To give readers a better sense of who they'd be voting for, the Daily News asked each of the 13 hopefuls a series of questions on their backgrounds and on key issues facing the city. In the days leading up to the campaign, we're printing answers to selected questions in the newspaper, while full responses are posted at adn.com/assemblysurvey.

 DOES THE CITY'S BUDGET HAVE ROOM TO GROW? DOES IT NEED TO SHRINK? OR IS IT JUST RIGHT? IF IT NEEDS TO GROW, WHAT SHOULD THE MONEY BE SPENT ON? IF IT NEEDS TO SHRINK, WHAT WOULD YOU CUT?

East Anchorage

• Adam Trombley: The City's budget can and should be reduced. This is possible if there was a greater effort places on providing certain city services in a competitive manner.

• Mao Tosi: I think it needs to grow and funds should be spent on strengthening our police force. We are seeing an increased number of crimes in our city, which will continue. So it is important to have strong law enforcement along with prevention programs also in place.

• Pete Petersen: The city spends too much money on administrative expenses that do not result in better services. For example, they have wasted millions on a new payroll system that just doesn't work. Eliminating this waste will allow greater investment in schools, roads, and public safety.

South Anchorage

• Pete Nolan: The primary role of government is public safety, infrastructure, education and maintenance of our public trust properties. Growth of our budget requires growing monthly mortgage payments for residents. We cannot keep increasing this cost on the backs of our taxpayers.

• Bill Evans: Elected officials should always focus on shrinking the government footprint. Every department must rethink how it operates - just as the private sector would do if faced with revenue constraints. Bureaucratic inertia causes government to operate in only one manner with the only variable being the amount of money consumed.

• Bruce Dougherty: We are in dire need of more police officers in particular and a greater emphasis on allocating funds to fulfill the basic obligations of our city government both in terms of public safety and education.

West Anchorage

• Phil Isley: I think the budget is probably about right. We need to increase the private sector and reduce the government sector to balance the city. I do not believe we can tax people enough to continue to increase the city government in the near future.

• Tim Steele: The City budget needs to be adequate to fund the needs/wants of the people of Anchorage. The tax burden needs to be fairly shared by all not just by the Residential Home Owners. We should expect the budget to grow along with inflation and population increases.

Eagle River-Chugiak

• Bill Starr: Too big and increasing too fast. We need to reduce spending and labor costs. At current trends our ability to pay our increased expenses will exceed our ability to generate enough revenues to pay them. Our labor costs and health care benefits need to be brought into line with other like industries and similar sized Cities.

• Sharon GIBBONS: Rather than focusing on the need for the budget to shrink or grow, I think it's more important to look at what services are being provided in exchange for tax dollars. Many residents have an expectation that their tax dollars will be spent to help educate children in their community. If city leadership doesn't have the same priorities then the Assembly's priorities should hinge on whether we are meeting the citizens' basic expectations for use of their tax dollars.

Midtown

• Elvi Gray-Jackson: Needs to grow. The "Tax Cap" allows the City to collect enough taxes based our two important variables included in the calculation - the five year population average and the five year average change in the CPI. We should spend the money on public safety, libraries, parks and recreation, and expanding public transportation.

Downtown- Mountain View

• Patrick Flynn: There is room for budgetary growth, though it needs to occur judiciously. Public safety (police & fire), parks and libraries, in particular, need attention.

• Mark Martinson: Let's do with what we have, and then take it from there.Assembly candidates on the issues

 



Anchorage