Anchorage Assembly approves $2.4 million payout on navigation center


The Anchorage Assembly is approving a settlement payout of nearly $2.4 million, requested by Mayor Dave Bronson, to contractor Hickel Construction for work and materials for a navigation center for homeless people. Assembly members Karen Bronga and George Martinez voted against paying the outstanding bill.

The work had been completed without official approval by the Assembly, although it had earlier approved the concept and initial expenditures. Hickel was ready to go to court to collect the money for the work done in good faith.

According to Assemblyman Chris Constant and the Anchorage Daily News, the $2.4 million is going to hit Anchorage homeowners in the form of increased tax bills, and they want taxpayers to blame it on the mayor.

In reality, the additional cost from this settlement will be less than half a percent of the total property tax revenue that Anchorage collected in 2022 – which was around $600 million. The legal fees that the Assembly has run up since Bronson took office are likely to have a bigger impact on property taxes, along with the purchase of the Golden Lion hotel for $9.5 million to create a drug rehab facility — something done under the administration of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

Critics point out contend that had this navigation center been built and operational during the previous winter, the cost savings by addressing homelessness would have been significant.

Instead, homeless were housed for a third year at the Sullivan Arena, which taxpayers built for an entertainment venue.

The Bronson administration has estimated that the Sullivan Arena that every five months of operation of the Sullivan for homeless shelter for those who cannot follow the rules of structured shelters would cost between $1.7 million to $3 million, depending on the number of homeless housed.

Assembly Member Kevin Cross, a proponent of finishing the navigation center, said it is “, “The navigation center is “probably our most realistic for the amount of people that can service, that we can have in place before cold weather.” If the Assembly doesn’t act soon, “then the reality is we’re just going to be opening the Sullivan Arena back up,” he said.

Bronson’s administration estimated the cost for the construction of the navigation center to be $12.2 million. Operating it could cost $7.9 million a year. The money to complete the project appears to have been siphoned off by the Assembly for other uses, and so there seems to be no path forward for the navigation center at this juncture.

“I don’t deny that it could possibly do good in our community if it’s a well-planned facility, but it’s not going to solve our staffing needs for social workers or for treatment beds. It’s not going to solve our need for housing, which is the solution to homelessness, and it’s not going to solve all of our need for the winter,” said Assemblyman Felix Rivera, who has opposed the navigation center all along.

Due to the Assembly’s refusal to work with the mayor, the materials for the project, already purchased, shipped, and received by the municipality, are gathering dust in a warehouse in Eagle River – -a facility built for city equipment but now repurposed as a makeshift shelter for materials that were intended to shelter humans.

Meanwhile, some members of the Anchorage Assembly are exploring purchasing and assembly homeless shacks called “pallet homes,” which have been dubbed “sugarcoated slave shacks” by critics who oppose them in Seattle and other places, because they are government-constructed slums that resemble those in third-world countries, such as Soweto, South Africa.


    • Constant and his/her merry band of commies could not care less about any of us.
      This is so that they can use the materials for their ALTERNATE homeless shelters.
      I am sure there was a lawyer that told him/her his/her odds of winning this fight were ZILCH.
      This was about not having to pay more and wait for materials….

  1. Appears the mayor was right.

    The additional costs for the contract and legal fees should come from the reserves.

    If I see a special tax youre going to hear about it, Assembly.


  2. Majority Assembly members indeed did push for stepping the Navigation Center ahead last year & purposely set Mayor Bronson up to blame him, a ridiculous waste of time & efforts that are self-seeking, with zero going to actually help those in need.
    Of course Constant’s familiar smear tactics also use every opportunity to try & push more increased taxes, while blaming it on Mayor Bronson, specifically to discredit him, going into an election.
    As a former mental health professional, a “Navigation Center” has been precisely what we need to effectively provide in an area localized to clients, as a starting point.
    It is a many faceted and stepped process needed to assist a mixed population that comprise the homeless, an issue successfully addressed for decades by many Outside cities.
    Anchorage “officials” need to remove their hands from their too full pockets & focus on putting the $funds to use to actually helping these people to help themselves.
    BTW, the location of the Navigation Center is an excellent location, also central to hospitals and services, while not sitting on top of residential neighborhoods, and central to accessible transportation & bus lines.

  3. Housing is not a ‘solution’ to to the causes of homelessness. Simply providing shelter is not a ‘cure’ and chances to further enable the actual causes. A navigation center is needed. Along with more mental health and addiction services. Maybe Rivera is most interested in just store housing dependent votes.

  4. Constantly complaining and constantly wringing his/her hands over some ecil deed he/she is doing, Constantly.
    Really had it with the commie nine, ready for them to resign as the complete disgraces and traitors that they are.
    Their oath is to the freak flag they fly in our assembly chambers, not to any of us.
    Vote early and vote every election.

      • And, gerrymandering will ensure they get elected again.
        A glass of water with a (D) behind their name would get elected in Constant’s district. (And, yes… I know the assembly elections are non-partisan.)

  5. The 9 asssmbly members should pay out of their pockets and/or war chests for decisions made that do not reflect We the People…we wanted, and they approved the navigation center through a bipartisan communitygroup. This would have been active thriving center today had it been followed through with.

  6. Think about this.

    Had the moronic Assembly not ended the construction of the ‘Navigation Center’ simply because it was not ‘their’ idea and had no financial entitlement unto their own bank accounts, said ‘Navigation Center’ would have been completed by now, and within operation.

    So now, finally, they have paid for the initial work provided, and are just now having meetings regarding the continuance of construction of said ‘Navigation Center’, when they could have just allowed it to finish within its construction and operation as intended and allow the chips fall as they may.

  7. Well. Despite their personal opinion I am thankful this Assembly made the pay-out. This Assembly’s own stubbornness and unforgiveness holds our city back. This is one struggle passed. 1 down now 99 more to go.
    A navigational center doesn’t sound like a horrible idea when homeless peoples have different needs, it may actually help quickly get those who can work up and working faster earning money for basic needs than hanging out within homeless population waiting for someone to find them.

  8. The Anchorage Assembly has spent $161 million on the homeless problem, and all they have to show for their efforts is more homeless.

    • Just like Seattle, Portland, San Fran, etc…
      But, I am sure the assembly 100% believed that Anchorage doing EXACTLY the same thing would be different here because… reasons… or something.

      • C’mon Maureen!
        That’s not even an “Apples to Oranges” comparison and stupid to boot. Many a heart condition you can not fix with surgery.
        The assembly has wasted $161 million of our tax dollars and now wants a “clean slate” to start over wasting another round of funds on what? Studies, meetings, more dilapidated buildings?….and in the meantime people freeze, drink themselves to death and get criminally assaulted. Some compassion…
        As Taxpayers we should demand that the navigation center gets stood up. It is after all paid for. Where is Meg’s Coalition? They got a ton of Muni funds and should now step up and operate it, along with all those non-profits they supported.

        • It is too.

          Lots of similar planning went into Providence Hospital. Still health continues to be a problem. Theystill smoke and eat bad and have severe hereditary diseases.

          We keep giving the healthcare industrial complex so much money and still we are sick.

          • Wow!
            I guess Maureen, you demand to live forever. Death and disease will come to us all. It is after all our mortality that defines us. You really think spending $$$ on a facility equals health care to fix your genetics or any and all abuses you perpetrated on your body? That’s simplistic and unrealistic. You should be glad for the medical advancements we do have, otherwise many more would have died sooner or never had a chance at all.
            But here we are still not talking about healthcare. We are talking about the city and the different philosophies at war. On the one hand you have the assembly 9, who think, if you just throw money and free stuff at it and hold meetings to wax eloquently, the problem will go away. On the other hand you have the mayor, who wants a strategic approach and focused help for individuals. Lazy enabling or tough love!

          • This one is even a stretch for you.
            First of all, you comparison is not apples to oranges, it is apples to automatic transmissions, at best.
            Next, the healthcare industry is overpriced because of your favorite entity, the all powerful State. Get government funding out of it, stop thinking medical insurance should pay for everything, and reduce the regulations to safety standards only. But, nope… I bet you think Obamacare was a good thing.
            And, yes, we put a lot of money into medical facilities, and yes, people still get sick and die. But, the overall health of the human race is improving and has been for centuries.
            On the other hand, we throw good money after bad to help the homeless, and the homeless population does not get helped. Their numbers do not go down. The addicted remain addicted. The mentally ill get no treatment. But, we throw money at the issue and create a worse issue.
            If building Providence hospital created more sick people, you might have a semblance of a similarity. But, everywhere new hospitals are built, the populations average overall health gets better.
            Totally the opposite of what the assembly is doing with the homeless.

  9. One-Way Plane Tickets to Honolulu, Seattle, Portland, SF, LA … Might just prove to be more humanely for the Homeless and, economical for the Property Tax Payer. AND(!!!), the Assembly might save face?

    • Not according to the mayors of those places. Just look at how NYC, Chicago, etc… are reacting to the illegal aliens showing up. It is “cruel and inhumane” to send them to sanctuary cities. I think the cruel and inhumane they are referring to is forcing them to live up to their ideals. They seem to hate that.

  10. The Sullivan arena will never be used for sporting events of public events venue you again you watch. There will never be another pro hockey team here because of market politics and honestly Anchorage isn’t a hockey town anymore and conditions in Anchorage overall., the building will be a shell of itself and within a decade will be torn down.

    Sad state for a facility that has done so much for the community since it was built

    • The Sullivan Arena is a money loser, time to tear it down along with the outdated Boeke Arena and build a three rink facility that can actually pay for itself

  11. “Haha! We sabotaged a project to help homeless people and set up a lawsuit the taxpayers will have to shell out for to pin on Bronson! What a victory!”

    It’s no wonder we’re seeing Democrat-run cities collapse with psychos like this in charge.

    • that is the problem with leftists.
      They think like toddlers. Yes, they are adult sized, and sometimes they have adult level vocabularies, but their solutions to issues is 100% those of a five year old. Which means, we get crap like this.

    • In reality, this IS NOT to blame Mayor Bronson.. It’s all on the Assembly’s feet. They are the Guilty and ONLY the guilty ones. After they ALL agreed to it, then they reneged on their agreement, because it wasn’t one of their “cash cows”.

  12. Everyone who supports wasting public money on the homeless should be forced to take one of them in. That would be true charity.

  13. I think we have discussed this matter before. At the time, I asked why would a credible contractor proceed with work on a City public works project without a bona-fide contract? I completed hundreds of municipal contracts in the last 50-yrs and I’ve never heard of it being done without assembly approval. Generally, the City Chief Executive has a small-works provision that allows him to issue contracts up to $50,000 without assembly approval. I would not want to go to court with this if I were Hickel. I’m sure his contracts manager was excoriated.

    • The assembly originally approved this project and pulled the money back when Bronson came back for more. This is a political BS story of the nth degree. I watched the assembly meeting when the made the agreement and voted on it. When Bronson couldn’t give them the Golden Lion for their homeless BS, they claimed that justified them pulling the funding. This was a setup of the mayor from the beginning and these assholes need to be prosecuted for racketeering and money laundering. It is blatant and there is public evidence that they are doing it.

      • Robert, my observation was based upon the brief storyline seen in the media. The additional facts you point out surely change the picture significantly. If the assembly approved the contract and then reversed themselves after work began then the contractor would be entitled to all costs up the point of effective termination. If the contractor could show the assembly acted in bad faith, then he could recover punitive damages atop his cost entitlements. In summary, accountability is a good thing. The people of Anchorage should held accountable for the consequences of who they elect.

  14. Typical Blame game response from Constant Complainer. Anchorage taxpayers need to call for an audit of the 157 million Anchorage received from the Cares Act. It was reported out of the 15 million appropriated for small business only 7 million went to small businesses. 7 million to tourism and 3 million for utility relief.
    Come on Constant Complainer, let the taxpayers follow the money. then blame Mayor Bronson for being alive.
    Don’t you wonder how much the LLC’s of Mark Begich received.?

    • How much COVID loot did Felix and Chrissy shovel over to their cronies at the Black Caucus?? A whole building worth. Now they want everyone else to backfill their slush funds!!

  15. Wait just a second…
    When did Constant care about the effect on taxpayers? Suddenly, after years of throwing good taxpayer money after bad at every hairbrained scheme he and his buddies on the assembly could think of, now…now he cares about the impact on the taxpayers?
    I wonder how much construction we could get for the amount the assembly spends on the homeless in one month.

  16. This is on the assembly they approved it then tried to weasel out of it, explain this to the voters on election day.

  17. I am certain this trainwreck Assembly will certainly find ways to squander as much taxpayers money as possible to fill their pockets with overflow of cash from all the “nonprofits” they are channeling massive amounts of revenue through. We still havent heard details on the Golden Lion purchase agreement. how do they come up with 9.5 million for a run down hotel that doesnt meet code requirements and takes millions to renovate while the state needs the property to upgrade the worst intersection in Anchorage. Which children came up with this idea and who’s friend owned it prior to the muni’s purchase agreement?

    Lots of unanswered questions here but answers will be like getting blood out of a turnip.

  18. They just dont get it. Nobody wants this homeless mess in their backyard including all the overpaid liberal UAA professors that have expensive homes on Lake Otis with the homeless rummaging their backyards helping themselves to the propane bottles for their outdoor BBQ’s. They wander around the lake in the winter time scoping backyards in search of survival gear and goods trade for alcohol and drugs. Ive watched it happen and thankfully they target the liberals that voted these clowns into office.

  19. Once again MRAK has blamed the Assembly for an incompetent Mayor who does not understand the first thing about administering a Municipality. The next Mayoral election can not come soon enough

  20. I imagine that your ‘mention’ of Providence Hospital is because it is a supposedly faith-based organization.

    That said, your supposed ‘argument’ is specious and disingenuous at best.

    Let us look critically and honestly at your ‘apples’ argument versus the ‘oranges’ argument presented within this article.

    Within your ‘apples’ argument, heart surgeons, within hospital settings, are afforded increased funding so as to better treat heart patients so as to prolong, if not save their lives upon a daily basis, and so that creates more survivors from said treatment, right? And who pays for said treatment? Hospitals, insurance companies, and those private individuals through insurance premiums especially, but the bottom line is that the more successful the heart surgeons are, the less there are of negative associated results because of said spending.

    Now, let us look at the ‘oranges’ argument presented within this article, and it’s meaning throughout.

    Politicians, within Assembly grifting settings, are afforded increased funding so as to better treat and address the ‘homeless problem’ so as to provide for, if not supposedly save their lives upon a daily basis, and so that creates more ‘homeless’ because of said treatment, right? And who pays for said treatment? Taxpayers, through increased property taxes especially, but the bottom line is that the more successful the Politicians, i.e., Assembly are, the more there are of negative associated results because of said spending, and the greater the homeless problem becomes, year after year.

    And the more the grifting by the Politicians, i.e., Assembly, the more their bank accounts expand, whilst the actual verifiable benefits unto the homeless diminish, because they, the homeless are nothing but numbers unto the Politicians, i.e., Assembly, leading unto a paycheck of their own making.

Comments are closed.