News from Patrick Flynn

More on bonds

At the last Assembly meeting on January 19 six different bond proposals were introduced and will receive a public hearing on February 2, with those approved slated to appear on the April 6 municipal election ballot.  After working through the budget process during the last couple months I expected to see one, or maybe two, bonds this spring so even though there are a couple nearly-duplicate submissions I’m a little surprised.

Here’s the bond ideas we’ll discuss:

  1. $35.1 million for a road & drainage bond proposed by the administration that would fund a variety of road projects throughout the Anchorage Road & Drainage Service Area.
  2. Alternatively, $37.1 million road & drainage bond proposed by Elvi Gray-Jackson that, while I haven’t seen the final project list, would presumably add a few more projects to the administration’s proposal.
  3. $1.15 million to replace fire engines, as proposed by the administration.
  4. $932,000 for public transportation capital improvements, also proposed by the administration.
  5. $250,000 for an ambulance to serve the Sand Lake area, a late-breaking proposal from the administration.
  6. Alternatively, adding $250,000 to item #3 to include an ambulance to serve the Sand Lake area, proposed by Matt Claman after administration officials told the Sand Lake community council said ambulance had to wait another year or two.  (As item #5 suggests, the administration has since changed its stance.)

Meanwhile, the School Board appears to be sticking with Superintendent Comeau‘s suggestion to not offer any bonds this spring.  That suggests my idea of a bond holiday took root somewhere, if not at the municipal level.  With no school bonds slated for the ballot and municipal bond proposals at a relatively low level there appears to be recognition that the electorate is feeling cautious about spending issues.  But it’s also fair to say that there’s a wide variety of perspectives on bonds; if you have kids at Service high school, which is next in line for reconstruction, you may not be so thrilled about the School Board’s decision while neighbors with kids at South high school, which is relatively new, might feel just fine.

All that said, it’ll be interesting to hear the discussion on February 2.  Only three of eight bond proposals gained voter approval last year (roads, fire and public safety & transportation [barely]) so I’m curious to see if the bond holiday remains a popular concept the School Board was wise to adopt or if the idea has lost favor with Anchorage residents.  We’ll see…



This contribution was made on Thursday, 21. January 2010 at 03:14 and was published under the category Fiscal matters. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

«  –  »


  1. I may be running in the wrong circles, but I have heard quite a few people say they will not be supporting ANY bonds for anything. Calling it a “bond holiday” is a good idea, but a better one might be to state unequivocally: NO NEW SPENDING until Anchorage gets out of the fiscal hole Mark Begich dug–or until some other source of revenue is found besides taxing homeowners.

    Carol Comeau got the message. The Assembly members who propose new bonds do so at their own political risk.

    Comment: DonnListon – 21. January 2010 @ 9:46 pm

  2. Patrick:

    While I concur with the comment above, (a bond holiday for all bonds is a good idea at this time) and most likely I would not support any bonds; I am continually amused that all blame for any perceived crisis regarding the current municipal budget is laid upon the former mayor. With 4 proposed bonds being forwarded by the current mayor and his administration and 2 proposed by members of the assembly; it seems some or many don’t seem to understand that most citizens are plain “taxed” out of patience. While there is a viable need for some road bonds, transportation bonds and fire bonds, I don’t see many voters supporting any bond at this time. I agree that Ms. Comeau understands the current will of the voters; I think Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Vakalis, Ms. Jackson, and Mr, Claman might reconsider their positions. Thanks. doug

    Comment: Douglas Johnson – 22. January 2010 @ 5:33 pm

  3. Here is the problem with the above line of thinking. We have a problem because of the investment side of the house. Revenue dropped off on the city investments and on tax revenue related to tourism. All national economy stuff. We had no control over it. Propety owners pay for roughly 55 percent of the muni budget. That source of revenue was fine.

    We have a system in place that allows properrty taxes to go up by inflation, growth, I think law suits and bonds or something like that. That means the Gov you have today is the gov you will have tomorrow. If your police department is too small the only way to add to it is cut elsewhere or bond the expansion. If you have road repairs that need to be made and they do not fit in the budget then you must bond for them. If you want to upgrade a park or build a library you have to bond.
    If you owned a home and the roof was leaking and you did not have the money would you borrow to repair it? Or would you let it leak and have water damage on top of your leaking roof. If the city has needs they should be addressed. The way we do that now is to bond.

    If the people of Anchorage do not like the current tax structure then that is what needs to be changed. If property taxes are too high maybe we should have a sales tax to offset property taxes. We should not neglect the needs of the city because they will only be more expensive in the future after our neglect.

    We have a fiscally conservative Mayor who has made cuts to the city. His conservative administration has deemed these projects a needed. He put his name on them. I would assume they are really needed.

    The state has neglected the roads in Anchorage. The glen highway is a prime example. Every cars that wrecks as a result of the unsafe ruts is paying a tax. They might pay it to the auto body shop, maybe the tow truck driver who gets them out of the ditch, maybe in the form of higher insurance because they wrecked, or maybe even with their life if the accident is bad enough.

    I want to live in a good city with good services. That does not mean I will say yes to every bond but it does mean I will look into them and judge them on their merritt. Neglect of our city will cost us far more in the long run.

    Comment: TW – 22. January 2010 @ 6:36 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.



Community councils


Local government


State government


RSS Feeds – Admin


Copyright - Patrick Flynn, All Rights Reserved