Anchorage

Eagle River secession movement asks Municipality of Anchorage for funding

EaglExit, the group seeking to separate Eagle River, Chugiak and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson from the Municipality of Anchorage, is asking the city for money to support its campaign.

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson is not supporting or opposing EaglExit, said his chief of staff, but he is asking the Chugiak-Eagle River Advisory Board whether it wants to spend local parks and roads money on the secession movement instead.

A meeting of the board is scheduled for noon Sept. 25 at the Eagle River town center.

“They collect the mill levy, they collect taxes, it goes back into the service areas. The question is, how do you want to spend it? Do you want to put some of that money you get normally into this effort?” said Bronson chief of staff Craig Campbell.

The board’s recommendation may be included in the administration’s budget proposal for 2022. Any proposal is subject to approval by the Anchorage Assembly.

Michael Tavoliero, chair of EaglExit, declined to comment on the request, as did Anchorage Assembly member Jamie Allard, who represents the area. Assembly member Crystal Kennedy hasn’t returned calls seeking comment.

EaglExit’s draft plan calls for spending $513,977 on legal support, advertising and analysis. The group plans to submit a petition to the state’s Local Boundary Commission that calls for Anchorage Assembly District 2 to be split off from the Municipality as its own local government.

Last week, Campbell wrote to the co-chairs of the seven-member Chugiak-Eagle River Advisory Board, saying in part, “Since EaglExit is requesting government financial assistance ... Mayor Bronson considers it an appropriate expenditure for the taxpayers of Assembly District 2 to make, if it is the will of the residents to fund a portion of the EaglExit effort.”

The letter asked the board if it would consider “appropriating up to $174,000 from your 2022 budget to fund this process.”

Campbell said the figure was simply the EaglExit request, divided by three.

That money could come from accounts that fund local roads, parks and other projects, or residents could vote to raise their own taxes to pay for it, Campbell said.

“(The mayor) made a commitment during the campaign that if Eagle River and Chugiak said they wanted to detach, he was not gonna fight that. But they have to make that decision,” he said.

Debbie Ossiander, a co-chair of the advisory board, said she doesn’t know how the request will be received, but if residents are asked to increase taxes to pay for it, she said it would be “a pretty steep hill.”

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