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Monday, December 11, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsSticker shock: Anchorage Assembly hikes property taxes 5.3 percent

Sticker shock: Anchorage Assembly hikes property taxes 5.3 percent

Anchorage skyline (photo by Frank Kovalchek, Creative Commons)

LARGEST BUDGET IN ANCHORAGE HISTORY

The Anchorage Assembly raised property taxes by 5.3 percent on Tuesday night. At the same time, the Assembly passed the largest budget in Anchorage history, for the first time ever piercing the half-a-billion-dollar mark.

Hawkins

The new budget for 2017 is $509 million. It will cost homeowners hundreds of dollars more on their property tax bills.

Last year, the city over-collected property taxes by about $15 million. In late summer, the Assembly told taxpayers that they’d refund $5 million of the money, but wanted to hold onto it in case it was needed.

In 2016, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, left, rallied for AFL-CIO  President Vince Beltrami as he mounted an unsuccessful attempt to win a seat in the Alaska Senate.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz cautioned last year that city should wait until the State Legislature resolved the state’s fiscal crisis before refunding over-collected taxes. By late fall, the money was spent and taxpayers didn’t get their rebate. So much for holding on to the money.

For the next property tax billing cycle, a home appraised at $400,000, which pays about $6,500 in property taxes now, will be taxed an additional $344. A $300,000 home will be taxed an additional $243.

Amy Demboski, an assembly member from Eagle River, last year offered amendments for some $4 million in property tax relief, but was outvoted.

Last night, she offered a less ambitious $1.6 million in budget reductions — to no avail. She and fellow Assembly member Fred Dyson were outvoted 9-2.

To address overtime at the fire department, which has been driving up the budget, Demboski suggested moving a $300,000 storm water study item over to help create a firefighting academy, so that 12 departing firefighters can be replaced. Otherwise, overtime will continue to mount due to laws requiring mandatory staffing levels.

The water study will likely lead to the creation of a new storm water taxing district, which would be a new revenue stream for the city.

The original 2017 budget was $499,218,718; $509 is the revised budget passed on Tuesday.

In 2015, the city’s budget was $484 million.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Eagle River needs to form it’s own BOROUGH!!!!

  • Refund money ha ha ha oh wait, you were serious. ha ha ha ha ha

  • Property taxes are too high , especially since there is not even a sales tax to help ease the burden.
    The property tax rate on anchorage is higher than California. Why isnt anyone screaming about how unfair
    It is for property owners to football the bill. And they just passed the highest budget in history. What is going on ?