Anchorage

Anchorage Assembly overrides Mayor Bronson’s vetoes to 2022 city budget

The Anchorage Assembly has voted to override all of Mayor Dave Bronson’s vetoes to 2022 city budget changes that the Assembly had made last month during its annual budget revision process.

On Friday in an 8-3 vote, the Assembly reinstated all funding cuts and reversed all changes to the budget that Bronson made when he issued the vetoes earlier this month.

That means a full level of city funding is back on the table for school resource officers in the Anchorage School District (Bronson had wanted the district to bear more of the cost for school resource officers) and full funding for 24/7 operations of the city’s new mobile crisis team, among other reinstated funds.

Bronson had cut some building inspector positions from the budget and had changed the funding source for some health department positions to revenue from the alcohol tax. The Assembly reversed these changes, among other vetoes that Bronson had issued.

Although the Assembly had voted unanimously to pass the initial budget revisions, Assembly members Jamie Allard, Kevin Cross and Randy Sulte voted against overriding Bronson’s vetoes. (The 11-member Assembly needs eight votes to override a veto.)

Since the mayor took office last year, he and the Assembly have engaged in a volley of vetoes and veto overrides, and during last year’s process to develop the 2022 city budget, the Assembly overrode all of Bronson’s vetoes but one.

But after that, Bronson didn’t implement the Assembly-passed city budget, in a continuing conflict between the mayor’s administration and Assembly over who has the ultimate power over city spending.

Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant and several other Assembly members have called the mayor’s initial refusal to use the Assembly-passed budget illegal and unprecedented. Bronson officials have argued that the Assembly’s budget used revenue projections that the administration at the time couldn’t verify, so it could not spend money they were unsure would materialize.

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 — but only after first putting forward their own version of a city budget as a baseline.

That move is what prompted Constant to introduce legislation that would codify a process for removing a mayor from office for a breach of the public trust, he has said. Bronson, in a statement this week, called the proposal “shocking” and “a blatant attack on the Office of the Mayor.”

The Assembly is slated to hold a public hearing and vote on Constant’s proposal later this month.

Emily Goodykoontz

Emily Goodykoontz is a reporter covering Anchorage local government and general assignments. She previously covered breaking news at The Oregonian in Portland before joining ADN in 2020. She earned her degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. Contact her at egoodykoontz@adn.com.

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