Mayor Dave Bronson: Year-end report to Anchorage

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By MAYOR DAVE BRONSON

As we round out 2022, I want to reflect on the progress we have made over the last year to make Anchorage a more vibrant city to live, work, and play in. Before touching on those accomplishments, allow me to recognize our incredible Municipal employees.

Without the dedication and determination of our roughly 3,100 employees, we would not be where we are today. From our brave first responders at the Fire Department and Anchorage Police Department who keep us safe, to the compassionate health care providers in the Health Department, and of course our talented snowplow drivers who dug us out of December’s historic snowfall, I say thank you. And thank you to every employee who works for the city and helps serve our community. I am privileged to lead such a dynamic, talented, and productive team.

To improve our city, we need effective and responsible policies advanced across five areas: public safety, homelessness, the Port, property taxes, and housing and development. Despite what you might see in the news or read on social media, great strides have been made in each of these planks.

Public safety is the most important function of government, and I am pleased to report that under my administration nearly all forms of reported crime are down. Thanks to our pro-law enforcement approach, APD has successfully conducted multiple academies, including the largest since 2017, that have brought on dozens of new officers. In each of my budgets I have proposed increases to public safety.

We will not be defunding the police under my watch. Let me give you some examples. Some of our patrol cars have over 200,000 miles on them. If an officer cannot respond to a call because his car breaks down, what good is that officer?

To this end, my administration advocated for and secured $2 million in federal funds to replace patrol cars. Women and children are safer now thanks to the creation of a special unit focused on preventing and prosecuting domestic violence and crimes against persons. Violence against the most vulnerable will not be tolerated in Anchorage.

We are also beefing up AFD by securing a $10 million grant to hire 18 new firefighters and, working closely with Alaska’s congressional delegation, we received $4 million to implement the Municipality’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan. AFD has held one academy in 2022 and will start another academy in 2023. To attract more candidates, AFD is providing emergency medical technician training to those who do not possess an EMT 1 certificate prior to being hired. These type of changes helps us attract and retain a talented workforce.

Confronting homelessness remains at the forefront of my administration. Historic progress has been achieved to get people off the street and provide them the services they need. We have brought on hundreds of new housing units and supported numerous public-private partnerships which are crucial to solving this community-wide issue.

I am calling on the Legislature to make changes to state law this session, which will help get problematic people off the street and the help they need. Homelessness remains a complex and controversial issue: We need housing, mental health treatment beds, law and order and we need compassion. Together we can find solutions that help the most vulnerable and clean up our streets and parks.

I have said it before and I will continue to say it, if the Port of Alaska fails in an earthquake, all our other challenges become minor. The port is Alaska’s lifeline – bringing food and supplies to 90% of Alaskans. We need roughly $1.2 billion in the bank by the 3rd quarter of 2025 to begin construction on the docks. This spring, I worked with my fellow mayors and legislators to secure the largest state appropriation ever in Alaska’s history: $200 million to rebuild and modernize the port. Between the state appropriation, nearly $75 million from the federal government, the potential $367 million award from the MARAD settlement and $165 million in MOA bonding capacity, we have amassed over $800 million for this project. This is historic.

I will be headed to Juneau again this session with a $100 million ask of the state. I will also be heading to Washington, D.C. to secure further federal funds. I will not relent until we have the money to construct a seismically resilient port that delivers food security for our State.

Property taxes continue to be the largest share of the Municipality’s revenue stream, and largest tax burden on Anchorage residents. My commitment to reduce property taxes by making government more efficient remains the same. Through hiring freezes, smart management, and innovative efficiencies, we are curtailing the growth of government while maintaining fast and efficient services to residents. My first budget delivered a $7.5 million reduction and lowered property taxes by over $500 for the average single-family homeowner. This year, with upward inflationary pressure, my administration thoughtfully delivered a budget nearly $5 million under the tax cap to protect property taxpayers.

We know Anchorage faces a housing crisis. The average home is now over 40 years old. New construction faces a 20-30% premium over a similar home in the Mat-Su Valley; and with higher interest rates, younger buyers are finding it harder to purchase a home. To confront these issues, my administration has undertaken significant rewrites of zoning and building codes to incentivize development and lower the cost of housing.

Additionally, we have supported efforts to spur construction of affordable housing options like mother- in-law apartments (ADUs) and expanded reinvestment areas. With a limited amount of private developable land available, I have instructed the Heritage Land Bank to make as much municipal land open for development as possible. Efforts like the Holtan Hills Development in Girdwood are the type of projects Anchorage needs to grow and expand. Additionally, my administration worked with our congressional delegation to secure over $7 million to expand wastewater access to developable land, removing one of the costliest barriers of development.

We must breathe new life into downtown. The heart of every great city is a great downtown. Developments that my administration has championed, including the Block 41/4th Avenue Theater development, 6th Avenue hotel conversion, and Debenham’s 8th & K apartment complex are going to transform downtown as we know it. With over $300 million worth of investments announced thus far, we are well on our way to having a roaring 2020s downtown.

I am confident our best days are ahead. We live in the most beautiful city in the country. We have access to the best parks, trails, and outdoor recreation in North America. Anchorage is strategically located and will continue to benefit from the presence of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. As geopolitical disruptions continue, it is my goal that national and international investments are driven to safe havens like Alaska, where the rule of law is respected.

There is no limit to our potential. We must work together and unite under a common goal of making Anchorage a better place for the next generation.

God speed, and Happy New Year, Anchorage.

Dave Bronson is the mayor of Anchorage.

66 COMMENTS

  1. And no support from the assembly. He should state that he fought the lefts attempts to discredit him and fight him on every issue.

  2. Thanks for chosing “I will not relent” over the tired phrase “I will not rest”, and for avoiding “laser-focussed” 🙂 Impressive progress in areas immune to Assembly politicking! I wish there was something good to say about elected officials putting aside their differences and working together, but I guess you have to play the hand you are dealt.

  3. I’m happy with the job the mayor is doing, for the most part. It’s too bad that some of the assembly (Chris constant being the worst) do everything in their power to work against him.

  4. Thank you Mr. Mayor. Your service to this community is incredible. Stand steadfast and hang in there. May God bless you. Let the locusts attack, but they will not devour you.

  5. Great Mayor! Anchorage will never know his full potential until they clean out the rats’ nest in the assembly. They can’t clean out the assembly until they stop the voter fraud keeping them in office.

  6. Amen, Amen to that statement! Let’s get on with a positive goal and keep it in mind every turn of the clock!! Keep going Bronson!!

  7. How about the shuttering of local businesses because you didn’t plan for snow removal? In a internationally known winter city.

    • Were those the same local businesses shuttered by Ethan’s, Austin’s, and the Assembly’s COVID lockdowns? Or were they different businesses? Enquiring minds want to know.

      When you get 2/3 the annual snowfall in a 10-day window, things necessarily are stressed for a while. Most recent example is Buffalo, another internationally known winter city, which got a dump last week. They also ended up with dead people, something thankfully we didn’t. Cheers –

    • Maureen, queen of mean, are you kidding. Surely you jest. Making a historic snowstorm the equivalent of a government edict shutting down all businesses? The entire city was not shut down. There are words for people like you but Suzanne won’t let me say them. But your dishonest comments are so ridiculous, you have become a laughingstock. Happy New Year, try to not have such a miserable existence.

    • There is another “internationally known winter city,” Buffalo, NY. It is run by kind, gentle, caring communists, excuse me, Democrats and is about the same size as Anchorage. Just as Anchorage had several successive snow storms in a few days, so did Buffalo a few days later from the same system. Buffalo had about the same cumulative snowfall from the event as did Anchorage. Buffalo had to completely shut down. All traffic other than emergency travel was prohibited for the better part of a week. If you lefty idiots didn’t have double standards, you’d have no standards at all.

      • Serious question: are there any far north cities of similar size run by right to make a comparison?

        In fairness to Buffalo, this was one hell of a storm. Hard to imagine anyone doing much better, initially

        In the game of life, nature usually wins.

      • Man you must be a real joy to be around, lol. Are you related to Sen Joe McCarthy bye any chance? Looks like you can find Commies everywhere, just like him.

    • You must have a miserable life, Maureen. You camp out in an environment unsuitable for liberals and, I can only assume, in an attempt to “fix’ the low-born masses that you deem to be ignorant. Maybe you’re Frank Rast’s domestic partner; if not, you should be. If you haven’t figured it out by now, people can disagree and hopefully will continue to do so. You can continue to pursue your life’s goal by comment here but, no one here cares about your comments let alone the vapid CO2 that pours out of your lungs. I’m sure you love you some Joe Biden – Mr. 81 million votes – and, that alone constitutes brain damage. Frank, give Maureen a call and share how horribly stupid everyone else is other than yourselves and enjoy the intellectual braingasm that surely follows. I’m sure Frank will be premature, you’ll be left hanging and, regretfully, end up back here.

    • Worst. Assembly. Ever.
      Put the blame where it belongs, the commie assembly “members” the rest of us are now stuck with.

  8. Only wish I could muster up the same enthusiasm as the Mayor. It has to be extremely difficult working in such a hostile environment with a radical assembly majority that would argue the color of the sky. And trying to better serve the voters who put them there. Not many people who can actually turn the other cheek. Amazing.

    • Agree, cannot believe he hasnt filed a hostile work environment on those “members” of the assembly that are there to just destroy our once beautiful city and remove him as our duly elected mayor. They are the oath breakers for their tyrannical, bullying, and mean spirited policies and actions against not only the mayor, but we the people of Anchorage. If they put as much effort into doing their jobs for the betterment of our city and were actually fiscally responsible, what a city we could have!! Instead, they spend their time, energy, and effort, (and our tax money), destroying our liberties, rights, freedoms and figuring out how to undermine our elected conservative officials. What a pity they dont just do their jobs, what we are paying them to do. Pet peeves, pet projects, petty tyrants, and mean spirited legislation, thats all we get from this “majority”.

  9. I’m confident Bronson has done everything he possibly can considering the circumstances. It’s hard to captain a boat with 9 people actively trying to sink it.

    The Amy D situation has thrown some bad light onto some of the people he surrounds himself with. To get re-elected he’ll need to address this. Otherwise the Politburo will hang him with it.

  10. Overall with the Assembly over-riding all his decisions limits his actions. Overall, he has been doing a good job with what he has got. His not perfect, but doing a good job with what he has.

  11. Mayor Bronson has done a fantastic job leading the city out of the misdirected way things had been run under the previous (mis)administration. How sad that literally every step of the way he has faced relentless efforts to stymie everything he has attempted to do, especially in his efforts to shrink a bloated government and become fiscally responsible. For all of the nay-sayers commenting above, especially about what was termed snowmageddon by the media, grow up. Regardless of which direction the Mayor went, he faced Constant (pun intended) backlash. Even when he went along with the assembly’s Marxist agenda, they would flip the script and fight him. Enough is enough. Stop your petty complaining and appreciate what you have and where you live – or – go back to where you came from because real Alaskans do not want your left coast politics here.

    • I’m curious how you know the wants and needs of “real Alaskans?”

      Did you take a survey? What criteria (besides lockstep agreement with you) do you use to make your determination?

      I’m old enough to remember several democrat governors and mayors throughout the state. And more than a few worthless Republicans in the same offices.

      It is entirely possible, more likely probable, that there are a large number of “real Alaskans” who genuinely care for this state who hold different opinions than you do.

      Shocking, but true.

      • MA,
        I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t address any of the issues I brought up besides your clear partisan divide. My comments were written to shine a light on what has actually happened during the current Mayors tenure. I believe that while you troll this site with your counterpoint opinions, you miss the fact that, like any household budget, living beyond our means is untenable. The assembly does not appear to care as they continue to expand budget and government in direct opposition to common sense and the Mayor. Real Alaskans are fiscally responsible and pay their bills. Real Alaskans do not want taxes raised. Real Alaskans believe that work is required to stay here. Real Alaskans inconvenience themselves to support themselves. Real Alaskans know that wintertime can and does bring real-time challenges that require both time and effort to overcome. Real Alaskans do not confuse genuine care for the state with innumerable government gimme programs, although we care for our neighbors in need. Real Alaskans know that there is an abundance of crap in both the Republican and Democratic parties, Real Alaskans oppose that type of behavior. Real Alaskans know that condemning a politician for real and worthwhile efforts because of their political ideology is a waste of time and energy. Real Alaskans realize that there are more than a few imposter Alaskans living in the cities that support non-Alaskan values.
        .

        This may be shocking to you, but it is true.
        .

        The question that remains, MA, are you a Real Alaskan, or an imposter Alaskan who cares nothing about fiscal responsibility and who complains about things that are not in lockstep agreement with you?

        I eagerly look forward to your certain response.

  12. Having a little cocktail tonight so I’m feeling like I can just lay it on the line here. I don’t know how one could argue with anything Bronson said. Our port needs to be 100% functional. Ask any body that lives outside of Anchorage. It only take minutes for the grocery shelves to empty. I’ve seen it. A good reminder to have your Emergency Kit stocked and accessible. We had ours easily accessible for the big one a few years ago and used almost everything in it (including the skittles).
    As far as crime rate – car theft was up 300% under the Berkowitz admin! If your car wasn’t stolen, then it doesn’t matter to you. But of it was – it matters. Imagine being the victim of a crime and being told to just file a report on line.

  13. Did anyone here do a search on Maureen Suttman, lurker of all things against her grain? She’s a Licensed Practicing Counselor. Commenting from a position of knowing such animals, and those associated with counseling, many appear to have been embroiled in the same problems they now feel they can counsel others out of. Meaning… “I’ve been down that dirt road; I can help you recover.” Maureen… are you a recovered conservative? In digging deeper, I searched for Maureen Suttman and associated Health Grades. There were ZERO reviews and ZERO Health Grade results. Maybe you’re in here so often because you have nothing to do. There very well may be some Freudian disfunction associated with your online commentaries and the compulsive nature in which you correct those of which you disagree. Hmmmm. Is it possible that you should seek counseling. Frank Rast may be able to ease you away from the ledge.

    • Have been waiting for someone to look me up from MRAK. Thanks for taking me seriously. Of course you could have just asked me, too.

      I WAS a licensed professional counselor and counselor supervisor.

      Look into my license (public records) and you will find that I was a counselor and a counselor supervisor. You’ll see that it has been some time since my license was active. You will also find one report that I was accused of sexual abuse but was not arrested, charged or sentenced for the report. My life was hell during and since given that report but I participated fully, did all specs as laid out by my licensing board, and kept my licenses. I quit because of the terror inflicted on me from people NOT in the know, who thought they were.

      Go a head lay it on me. I’m already dieing of cancer. Go a head kick me for something I did not do.

      I’m here because I am concerned for the community I live in and understand this is must read information. So I am. Glad you are too.

      Health Grade is a business trying to

      • I really don’t care about your past nor did I “dig” into it beyond finding out what your profession was and that there were no reviews. Period. You divulging the rest would be nothing that I would share in here even if I searched for it and found it. I find that you bring quite a bit of condescending commentary in here with you. Yes, you have a DRASTICALLY different world view than myself – and 98% of those of us in here. In my opinion, what you post shows a disconnect with what IS good for the community – the one that I was born and raised in. And, in reading other’s responses to you, they agree with my sentiment. I wouldn’t call what I wrote “laying into you” but, if you can dish it out, you’d better be ready to take it. And, it keeping with theme of the thread, Mayor Bronson could have been a great mayor if he didn’t have a deeply socialist/progressive Assembly hindering him.

        • Brad thank you for explaining to her that she is in a minority and her views are not in line with American values. But what would we expect from a counselor.

        • YOU called me a lucker after lurcking on me.

          Bronson would do a lot better to function in the reality of his role. Instead he gets all flustered when he realizes he is only a part of governing, not the sole governing entity.

          I bring a different point of view, when I do people have responded by wishing me an early death, that I getstuck in my driveway (stage IV cancer patient with serious medical needs), and a host of negative names.

          Must Read Alaska is being read by Alaskans and they are talking in comments.

          • Actually, no, Lucinda, and for once you are correct. I have at several different times in my life sought help and assistance from counselors. And I was alternately mocked, belittled, insulted and abused by those various counselors, each of whom had their own preconceived notions of what my problem(s) “must” be, and tried to shoehorn our discussions, and their advice, into those preconceived patterns and agendas. So forgive me for being skeptical and unimpressed with ‘professional’ counselors.

        • Gee Brad. Maybe counselor Suttman could deduce that you’ve a hatred of nonconservatives; a hatred of women; a need to express anger; an insecurity that underpins your relationships with your family, coworkers and peers.

          And yes, I am a counselor too.

          • Laughable, Lucinda. Your post explains more about you than it does me. All three of your patients should run the other way. You’ve already used your misogyny card so that leaves you with the Racism and Bigot Cards. Be sure to toss around the term “BIPOC” so you can cover everyone.

          • Well that makes perfect sense that counselors are trying to know right from wrong but can’t tell the difference .

  14. Mayor Bronson:
    Thank you for working hard to make sure Anchorage doesn’t become the San Francisco rathole of the North.
    Happy New Year!!!

  15. Bronson has single handedly made Anchorage seem like a third-world country run by some crooked appointed official. More homeless in the streets than any one can remember. Knowingly understaffing snow removal and other critical services only to hand out supplemental private contracts to financial supporters of his campaign. Sounds like communist Russsia (guess what people, city snow removal, like the US postal service is technically a socialist system by definition).

    • There is an uptick in the homeless due to a continued social degeneration and an Assembly that would rather love them to death and virtue signal rather than make them engage in their recovery. Who runs Seattle, Portland, San Fran and LA? Liberals. Who runs Anchorage? The Special Needs 9 and everyone knows it.

      • Median house price in Anchorage is well over $400,000. THAT is a big problem fueling the homeless.

        Brad do you realize how much of our population joins the military because they don’t have the resources to get by? Our Military is a GIANT social service program.

        We are ALL in this together. It’s tougher to figure out things when foliks don’t realize that.

        • I think we can trace “much” of this inflation and the homeless increase to bad policy on a National and Local level. Yes, I know that some people join the military to get by and, many join out of a sense of family history and patriotic duty. I’ve always been a proponent of getting ALL people to vote and to take a vested interest in researching the candidates and who backs them. Unfortunately, 20% voter turnout seems to be considered average. IMHO, social degeneration (including disintegration of the family unit), drugs and lack of accountability creates many of the homeless nationwide. It’s sad. Our Assembly doesn’t have the answers; money doesn’t fix everything.

    • Chris you’re so off base you can’t see the truth from all the smoke and mirrors the assembly and non taxpayers are spewing

      • Mark. The non-taxpayers? To whom are you referring exactly? We all pay taxes. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, you’re paying taxes. Perhaps not the homeless but how would you reasonably assume they have the wherewithal to provide “smoke” in this situation. No. What we have is an inept mayor who has based his position in office on trumpian, non-existent qualities and virtues. He has failed as a leader of the City, and is doing no one any good whatsoever. His inability to coalesce with the democratically elected assembly is a virtue of his absolute failure. Anyone, please prove me wrong by suggesting anything that you have benefitted from this mayor…

        • Chris C, it is YOUR failure to compromise with Mayor Bronson, along with the failure of each of the other Marxist Nine on the municipal ass-embly, that has directly led to the current impasse on just about everything facing the municipality. Your petty power games, unbridled arrogance, and endless parading of your self-perceived victimhood have not helped, either.

        • They are called the 907 Initiative, sorry you don’t know who affects our elections outside of Alaska. And yes smoke and mirrors is like magic tricks look one way and miss the other hand. You are just not a conservative voter who is tired of my tax dollars being spent foolishly.

    • Not surprised. He’s literally done nothing well, and only has his name and image to appease his sheep. They all seem to love it!

      • I am glad you don’t care for the mayor. Maybe you can give me some money to campaign against him. Trust me

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