Fungibility: The way the city can use CARES money for homeless hotel project - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 19, 2021
HomeAnchorage Daily PlanetFungibility: The way the city can use CARES money for homeless hotel project

Fungibility: The way the city can use CARES money for homeless hotel project

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It is getting so that we are afraid to leave town for a few days because of what we might find has happened while we were gone.

This time around, the U.S. Treasury gave Anchorage two ways it could purchase buildings the public has said emphatically it does not want for use as homeless shelters using federal CARES Act funds intended as aid for individuals, businesses and nonprofits devastated by COVID-19.

The public, mind you, spoke out over five days of testimony mostly against Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s use of the money to purchase the aging buildings.

CARES Act money, $12.5 million of it, anyway, would buy the former Alaska Club building on Tudor Road, the Bean’s Cafe campus and Americas Best Value Inn & Suites in Spenard. A fourth building, the Golden Lion hotel, would be bought with $10 million from the city’s $1 billion sale of the Municipal Light & Power utility to Chugach Electric.

Treasury’s inspector general, after complaints about the proposed purchases, nixed the idea of using the federal money to buy the three buildings, but said Treasury would make the ultimate decision.

Treasury met with city officials and thoughtfully offered two options: One would have the city spend its CARES Act funds on its first responder payroll, and then use general funds the city would have spent on payroll for projects such as the purchase of buildings.

The second option would be for the city to buy the properties with CARES Act funds and use them long-term — but with the proviso that services must be available in the building by Dec. 30, the deadline to spend CARES Act money.

There was not much talk about $300K in property taxes being wiped off the tax rolls or the $7 million a year in operational costs for the buildings. Taxpayers will get to eat that expense.

It is always nice to see different levels of government working diligently together to jam something down our throats we do not want, but we find ourselves wondering about a third possible option:

The city and the mayor actually listening to residents and not buying the buildings and trying to devise a homelessness plan the public can support – while at the same time getting CARES Act funding out to individuals, businesses and nonprofits devastated by COVID-19.

That is something we could support.

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Latest comments

  • But they are so much smarter than you! They know what is best for you whether you realize it or not. Just ask Kim Jong-un, or the people who lived under Stalin or Mao. Of course the great leaders know best and the ‘little people’ just need to follow and shut up (or face the consequences).

  • Once again, fraud. Using money for one thing and stealing that to buy the building.

  • I could support recall of the Mayor and the five Assembly members who do not care about their constituency. And then we would lose the CARES money altogether because we’d be embroiled with municipal politics. But we might be happier.

    I would like to see input on the idea of recall of Mayor and five Assembly members.( right now) Then this city and state pull together and shop, eat out, support small business on our own. We always did. Alaskans shop! We’re very good at it! And the restaurants were full before Wuhan virus. I would like to say… in the future that Anchorage is one city the Democrats were not able to destroy!

    The current Mayor and Assembly are not supporting the population anyway. Why keep them?

    • I concur

      • To Anthony Bradford.
        Simply put, thank you. I am a product of fair governance. This latest lunacy from at least 5 members of the assembly…main focus being sexuality, has nothing to do with running a city.

  • These “treasury” officials that give little Ethan two different options to defraud Alaskans out of the CARES funding wouldn’t be leftist holdovers from a prior administration, would they? In the old days, citizens could have a U.S. Marshal ride into town and take care of the evil politicians. Now those keepers of the “purse” (treasury) and enforcers of “justice” (DOJ) are likely to be on the bad guy’s side. At least it seems that way, more often than not. The damage being done to Anchorage, in particular, is generational, not just current events. The citizens and small businesses needing help are being ignored and can’t expect help from any follow up emergency federal funds with the left driving, either. We are on our own, Alaska. The drunks, addicts and leftist politicians can better use your emergency funds. They need taken care of, not Alaskans, many with their life savings at stake during and in the aftermath of the wuhan v scamdemic. The federal money will not last long. What then? Even if the emergency funds were used as intended, there would still be tremendous damage to everything the leftists touch. Lies will flow like the Yukon river, from the left side of political mouths, blaming everyone but themselves for their incompetence. It will be over one day but by then Alaska may be unrecognizable as the paradise it was. Optimism is getting harder to come by.
    Vote like your life depends on it. It may.

  • Swampers gotta swamp.

  • That’s money laundering and Anchorage does not approve! There are many plans that sound workable including Intervention2020 which Nick Begich Sr. told us about when he testified to the Assembly and Mayor Dan’s excellent article in the ADN. The Assembly’s plan would not solve homelessness but rather invite more “revolutionaries” from the lower 48 to live off of us. Their plan makes no sense unless it is to line their own pockets.

    • Oh man, I didn’t even think of “revolutionaries” from the Lower 48 coming up here (most likely to escape justice down there). You’re right. This needs to be nipped in the bud. I agree with another comment made that this is money laundering…blatant and in-your-face-you-can’t-touch-me theft!

  • The mayor and the assembly have no desire to do what is right by the citizens of Anchorage, they choose to advance a failed method of government don our throats. And none of what they have done is constitutional.

  • Seriously, what city ever saw their homeless problems get reduced by providing more services? Not a single one. Not in the history of human existence has anything other than MORE homelessness resulted from providing more shelters.

    Yet, here we are. Doing stupid again.

    A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from other people’s mistakes. Apparently the Assembly and Mayor are neither smart or wise.

  • It’s the same damn difference!!! What are they playing at? That’s like giving someone money to pay for their unexpected astronomical medical bills, then the recipient taking the money they had saved up to pay something like that and using it for a trip to Tahiti. I call BS! A complaint needs to be made higher up the food chain, IF you can find someone honest enough they can’t be bought like the folk from treasury obviously can!. This whole thing is disgusting. Get rid of Berkowitz before the whole city implodes.

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