(4-minute read) SCHOOL, ROAD BONDS FALL ON TAXPAYERS, NOT STATE
Anchorage voters face a decision about whether to approve bonds during the municipal election, which ends April 2.
Here are five things you should know about the Anchorage bonds
1. If they pass, your property taxes will go up further. A homeowner with a valuation of $300,000 currently pays about $4,035 in property tax (this varies) and would pay nearly $81 more per year if all six bonds pass. Renters will see this additional cost passed along in higher monthly rent ($6.75 is the amount that would cover it).
2. The municipality currently carries $1.06 billion in voter-approved debt. Over half of that is school construction debt.
3. The ballot that voters have in the mail by now asks them to add an additional $113.1 million to Anchorage’s outstanding debt, for a total of $1.17 billion owed by property taxpayers — an increase of 11%.
4. The $59 million in school bonds is not eligible for state debt service support. Debt service will fall entirely onto the shoulders of local property owners. Moreover, the State is considering reducing or eliminating debt service support for school bonds from past years, which would sharply increase local property taxes even without adding any new school construction debt.
5. Some of the bond measures will bump up the tax cap, because they include language for ongoing operations and maintenance. Bumping up the tax cap will lead to higher taxes next year. The city’s current budget is the highest in history at $522 million.
Here are the propositions that would add to Anchorage homeowners’ and renters’ tax burden. Note: Must Read Alaska is using a $300,000 valuation, rather than the $100,000 valuation used by the city. The average home value in Anchorage id $331,000.
Proposition 1: $59,113,000 capital improvement bonds for the Anchorage School District. A homeowner with a $300,000 valuation would pay an additional $40 a year in property tax.
Proposition 2: $5,936,000 for public safety bonds for the infrastructure of the Anchorage Area-Wide Radio Network, acquiring new ambulances and replacement cardiac monitors, upgrading transit facilities, acquiring and replacing transit vehicles, upgrading infrastructure and undertaking bus stop improvements and school safety zone improvements and related capital improvements. Approval will automatically increase the municipal tax cap to pay for annual operation and maintenance costs related to the proposed capital improvements. For a homeowner with a $300,000 home would pay an additional $4.02 in annual property taxes, plus another 6 cents a year to pay for annual operation and maintenance that would be related.
Proposition 3: $5,513,000 in capital improvements on municipal buildings, including roof replacements, HVAC, safety improvements, bathroom renovations. A homeowner with a $300,000 home would pay another $3.75 a year in property taxes to retire the bonds.
Proposition 4: $33,240,000 in general obligation bonds for roads and drainage. A homeowner with a $300,000 home would pay another $20 a year in property taxes and another $2.31 per year for annual operations and maintenance related to the improvements. This bond language increases the municipal tax cap going forward to include operation and maintenance. Chugiak, Eagle River, and Girdwood are excepted.
Proposition 5: $3,400,000 in bonds for parks, playgrounds, recreation facility improvements. This will cost a homeowner of a $300,000 property valuation an additional $3.90 per year in property taxes, and an additional $1.86 per year for the annual operation and maintenance costs. This bond language automatically increases the tax cap. Properties in Chugiak, Eagle River, Girdwood, and other areas outside the Service Area are excepted.
Proposition 6: $2,400,000 in bonds for fire service for replacing vehicles and equipment. A homeowner with a $300,000 valuation would pay an additional $2.46 per year in property tax, with Chugiak, Girdwood, and other areas excepted.
Proposition 7: $3,500,000 in bonds for the Anchorage Police Department’s Elmore Facility to expand the crime lab, and other police department improvements. For a homeowner with a $300,000 valuation, this bond would cost $2.43 a year in property tax, with Girdwood, Bird, Indian, Rainbow, Portage and other areas excepted.