Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has issued vetoes that eliminate multiple changes made to the city budget last week by the Anchorage Assembly during its annual budget revision process.
Bronson’s vetoes cut funding from several programs and departments — additions and changes to the city budget that the Assembly had voted unanimously to include last Tuesday.
The mayor’s cuts include slashing nine months of city funding for school resource officers in the Anchorage School District, cutting some funding for the city’s new mobile crisis team, eliminating some building inspector positions, and changing the funding source for some Health Department positions back to money from the alcohol tax, among other vetoes. (Instead of the city paying for most of the school resource officer program, the Anchorage School District will pay for it, under Bronson’s veto.)
The mayor’s office said in a news release that Bronson’s vetoes will keep the budget $4.7 million below the municipality’s tax cap and save taxpayers $3.4 million. Also, Bronson did not veto several of the Assembly’s other budget changes. He kept additional funding in the budget for programs such as a grant to a sexual assault prevention program, arts grants, money to pay for four more full-time firefighters, and funds for the city’s upcoming June special election, when District 1 residents will vote in a 12th Assembly member.
The mayor and Assembly have been volleying vetoes and veto overrides back and forth since Bronson took office last year. The Assembly needs a supermajority of eight votes to override Bronson’s vetoes.
During the city budgeting process last year, the members overrode all of Bronson’s vetoes but one.
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After that, the mayor did not actually implement the city budget that the Assembly had passed in December, another chapter in a continuing conflict between the mayor’s administration and Assembly over who has the ultimate power over city spending.
It wasn’t until the city tackled budget revisions last month that Bronson officials agreed to use the Assembly-approved budget as a baseline for changes.
During the city election last month, the Assembly’s majority of moderate-to-progressive leaning members retained enough seats to keep their voting bloc’s veto override power, and it is likely that the city will again see the Assembly override Bronson’s vetoes.
Bronson had hoped to flip more Assembly seats during the 2022 election, adding members friendlier to his agenda. All Assembly incumbents except one were reelected.