The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the April 2 election to the Anchorage Assembly to answer a series of questions on issues facing those bodies. Many of the questions were suggested by readers. We’re publishing select responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style. See answers from all the candidates here. For School Board candidate surveys, click here.
Q: There could be tough budget times ahead with state cutbacks. What can the city do to make up for those cuts?
DISTRICT 2, SEAT A: CHUGIAK-EAGLE RIVER
We have always had budget concerns and of course those tough times will come again. Being concerned is a good thing, keeps us vigilant and helps keep out-of-control spending in check. We have a tax cap for a reason and that fundamental check needs to be protected. We should always be looking at where to make savings and there may be times when cuts are necessary. The taxpayers have to be involved in any discussion or approval of any potential tax increase.
The city will need to implement a responsible budgeting process, while rooting out inefficiencies, but the likely outcome will be the need to increase revenue. The reality is that our communities cannot afford to defund critical municipal services (police, fire, education, transportation) and hope to sustain a high quality of life for our citizens. We as a community will need to look at all avenues to fill the budget gap while limiting the tax burden on the people of Anchorage.
DISTRICT 4, SEAT F: MIDTOWN
Share the burden with the nonprofits and churches!
Anchorage has a strong economy and while local spending needs to be streamlined, we are well positioned for further growth and development. Sound economic policies need to be applied and maintained.
The city needs to do what every other city in a similar situation has done, which is to constantly reassess what’s necessary and re-examine how we do these things to find ways to do them for less. We need to figure out how to build a sustainable budget that supports a long-term vision of our city. The budget needs to have the flexibility to be reactive to uncertain state and federal funding.
DISTRICT 3, SEAT D: WEST ANCHORAGE
Be more efficient.
My primary concern for Anchorage is how these cuts are going to impact our schools. After serving on the School Board and raising my children in our school system, I know well the challenges that our district faces. And it’s not just our School District: this is a complex, state-wide problem, and I don’t believe there’s any simple solution. On the School Board, I combed through the budget to make sure that we put all of our funding to the best use possible, and advocated for more when necessary.
Make things like bird houses or furniture out of trash, give them away for early presents. “Nothing wrong with early.”
DISTRICT 5, SEAT H: EAST ANCHORAGE
There is no way for the Muni to make up for the level of cuts that Dunleavy has proposed. Anchorage’s legislators need to stand up for Alaska’s interests and resist radical ideology. A 40% cut to the university, a 25% cut to schools, and a massive cut to health programs would push Anchorage back into a deep recession. Regardless, we will continue our efforts to make Anchorage more financially self-sufficient, including using ML&P-sale revenue to pay down debt and bolster the Muni Trust.
DISTRICT 6, SEAT J: SOUTH ANCHORAGE, GIRDWOOD, TURNAGAIN ARM
In my 3 years on the Assembly we have faced costs due to state budget cutbacks every year. With the constraint of the tax cap, we will continue to pay for those new costs by cutting other things in the budget.