Anchorage

Cops, contracts: What to know about Tuesday's Anchorage Assembly meeting

The Anchorage Assembly meets Tuesday at 5 p.m. on the bottom floor of the Loussac Library.

It's only been a week since the last Assembly meeting, so the agenda is fairly light.

Here are a few things to know.  

New Turnagain Arm police service area

With the looming withdrawal of Alaska State Troopers from routinely patrolling Turnagain Arm, voters in Rainbow, Portage Valley, Bird Creek and Indian could be asked to tax themselves for police protection. Only people who live on Turnagain Arm outside of Anchorage and Girdwood would vote on the measure, proposed by Assemblyman John Weddleton.   

The question will go on a special ballot in the April 4 city election with Assembly approval Tuesday.

Expected Assembly action: Vote

[Read the latest version of the measure here]

Raises in union contract

In early January, city labor negotiators deadlocked with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 367 on a new three-year contract. A major sticking point was a 5 percent raise sought by the union for the rest of 2017, bringing the total cost of the contract to about $3.6 million.

The matter went to an arbitrator, who sided with the union on the wage increase.

Documents show the city arguing that it can't afford the raise because of budget pressures. Union negotiators argued that most of the wage increase would come from utility rates instead of taxes. Sixteen union members are directly employed by the city; 128 work for Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility.   

If the Assembly votes against accepting the arbitrator's decision Tuesday, the union has the right to strike.

Expected Assembly action: Vote

[Read the arbitrator's decision]

Students present on cops, homelessness; railroad complaints

Students from Gruening Middle School in Eagle River are scheduled to present projects on homelessness and public safety to the Assembly.

According to their teacher, one student group will talk about the number of officers in the Anchorage Police Department while a second will discuss "zoning and permitting for tiny homes as a way to address homelessness."

A group of citizens are also slated to speak about the Alaska Railroad's use of its right of way. The citizens are supporting a bill in Juneau that would limit the railroad's ability to challenge the land claims of adjacent landowners.

Expected Assembly action: None

New ordinances, SAP funding request

Several items are up for introduction, including:

• A proposed rewrite of Anchorage ethics code, which regulates ethical standards for elected officials, city employees and board members, such as gifts and the use of municipal resources. Simplifying the code was a main goal of the rewrite, according to documents submitted to the Assembly.

[Read the proposed ethics ordinance]

• An ordinance stating that money from building permit application fees can be used only on building safety permit services.

[Read the proposed permit fees ordinance]

• A $4.5 million funding request from the administration of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to finish the city's beleaguered effort to update its business software. The SAP project, which Berkowitz re-started on the advice of a steering committee in fall 2015, is in its sixth year and on track to be done this summer, at a total cost of about $75 million.

[Read the SAP funding request]

• Authorization of the sale of city land at Seventh Avenue between I and K streets in downtown Anchorage to Cook Inlet Housing Authority for a development that mixes apartments and shops.

[Read the proposed sale document]

Expected Assembly action: None. Public hearings will be set for a future meeting.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.

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