Sunday, January 29, 2012

First Look At General Obligation Bonds And Ballot Propostions For The Anchorage 2012 Municipal Election; $90 Million At Stake

Update April 1st: All the bad links to source documents have been updated and corrected.

During the regular meeting of the Anchorage Assembly on January 31st, 2012, several ballot propositions and general obligation (G.O.) bonds for inclusion on the April 3rd, 2012 Municipal Election Ballot were presented for discussion. This post will first focus on the bonds, since they cost us property taxpayers money. If all prospective G.O. bonds are passed, property taxpayers will see an increase of $16.37 per $100,000 assessed value on their properties (assuming 70 percent debt reimbursement on the school bond). The Municipality of Anchorage has not yet disclosed how much in previous bonds will be retired this year.

A preliminary list of mayoral and school board candidates is available HERE. No Assembly seats are up for grabs. A more current filed candidate list is available HERE.

The bonds and propositions have now been formally enumerated and are available on the Municipality of Anchorage's election page. Summaries presented below:

General Obligation Bonds:

-- PROPOSITION 1, School Bonds: Reference AO 2011-119(S): This was already approved on December 6th, 2011. Provides $59,077,000 to the Anchorage School District to pay the costs of educational capital improvements, career and technical education upgrades, design projects and districtwide building life extension projects; the link posted above also includes a list of the projects. The bond is eligible for 70 percent state debt reimbursement.

----- With 70 percent state debt reimbursement: It will increase property taxes by $6.51 per $100,000 assessed property value.

----- Without 70 percent state debt reimbursement: It will increase property taxes by $14.67 per $100,000 assessed property value.

-- PROPOSITION 2, Road Bonds: Reference AO 2012-3: Provides $27,472,000 to pay the costs of various road, storm drainage and related capital improvements; a list of projects is available on page 3 of this supplement. Applies only to the Anchorage Road & Drainage Service Area (ARDSA), although all voters within the Municipality of Anchorage will vote on it because of the "full faith and credit" clause. If approved and passed in present form, it will increase property taxes within the ARDSA only by $8.68 per $100,000 assessed property value.

-- PROPOSITION 3, Parks Bond: Reference AO 2012-4(S): Provides $2,750,000 to pay the costs of constructing, renovating and equipping various park and trail improvements and recreational facilities; a list of projects is available on page 3 of the supplement. Note that this parks bond is more important than most because it calls for the repair/replacement of failing bridges on the trail system. If approved and passed in present form, it will increase property taxes by $0.79 per $100,000 assessed property value.

-- PROPOSITION 4, Emergency Medical Service/Public Transportation Bonds: Reference AO 2012-5: Provides $1,588,000 to pay the costs of Areawide Emergency Medical Service and Public Transportation Improvements and related capital improvements; a list of projects is available on page 3 of the supplement. If approved and passed in present form, it will increase property taxes by $0.39 per $100,000 assessed property value.

Ballot Propositions:

-- PROPOSITION 5: Gay Nondiscrimination Initiative. Since this was accomplished using a petition campaign, no Assembly ordinance was necessary. Here is the wording of the question to appear on the ballot:

“Shall the current Municipal Code sections providing legal protections against discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, physical disability, and mental disability be amended to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity?”

If passed, it will get applicable sections of the Anchorage Municipal Code updated to add the phrase "sexual orientation or transgendered identity" to the laundry list of protected classes, but employers and proprietors would still be allowed to maintain separate-gender restrooms and to impose reasonable dress codes upon employees. In addition, the initiative leaves untouched existing law (AMC 5.20.090) that allows religious groups and denominational institutions to give preferential treatment to people of the same faith.

-- PROPOSITION 6: AO 2012-11: A ballot proposition amending Anchorage Municipal Charter Section 17.13, Definition of "Publish", to allow electronic publication instead of newspaper publication.

-- PROPOSITION 7: Reference AO 2012-1: Authorizes the Municipality of Anchorage to grant a real property tax exemption of the first $150,000 of assessed value to the eligible widow or widower of a person killed in military service of the United States.

Not formally enumerated, but of interest to those living in the South Goldenview Rural Road Service Area (RRSA), is AO 2012-9, which would annex a subdivision block and amend the boundaries of the RRSA.

The following proposition was NOT APPROVED by the Assembly during the January 31st meeting and WILL NOT appear on the ballot.

-- AO 2012-2: Authorizes personal use of certain common fireworks on private property without a municipal permit for a limited number of hours in annual celebration of the new year, subject to restrictions. It will be restricted to the three-hour period beginning 10:00 P.M. AST on December 31st and ending at 1:00 A.M. on January 1st.

This has been replaced by AO 2012-17, which will amend Anchorage Municipal Code Section 8.75.040 to provide for personal use of certain common fireworks on private property without a municipal permit for a limited number of hours in annual celebration of the new year, subject to restrictions; to provide annual designation of certain neighborhood park areas for discharge of lawful fireworks within the time limitation; and to authorize confiscation of fireworks from a motor vehicle for public safety disposal. This question will not be placed on the ballot, and the ordinance will first be introduced during the Assembly's February 14th meeting.

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