Sullivan touches on a variety of topics

Mayor visits local chamber


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Area residents received a Municipal-wide update from Mayor Dan Sullivan when he addressed the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at the Eagle River Ale House.

He touched on everything from the budget to crime to homelessness to the Eklutna River Bridge.

Sullivan said this was the fourth year in a row the Muni finished with a budget surplus.

“This is something very rare these days,” he said.

The Muni also recently received an increase in its bond rating to AAA — the highest level — from Standard and Poor’s.

“It really is a tremendous accomplishment,” Sullivan said.

Thanks to an increase in commercial real estate, residential property taxes will decrease slightly, Sullivan said. The average homeowner will see a $9 drop in their property tax, he said.

Sullivan said he supports a sales tax to replace property tax dollar for dollar. Sales tax would give residents more control, he said, because they manage their amount of consumption. Property values, on the other hand, are out of homeowners’ control, Sullivan said.

Plans to reopen the Eklutna Bridge by 2015 are on track.

“The project is progressing as scheduled,” Sullivan said.

Bidding for the bridge, which was closed in May 2012 due to safety concerns, is slated to go out in summer 2014. Construction is scheduled for the following spring.

The Municipality had a slight increase in crime for 2012, Sullivan said. He said he wants to provide the Anchorage Police Department with the equipment needed to do its job.

“We try to make sure they have the best of the best,” Sullivan said.

The same goes for the Anchorage Fire Department.

Sullivan said he wants AFD to be well staffed and have top-notch equipment. Some of the latest additions include new ambulances, a watercraft and the Spenard Fire House that opened a month ago.

The city’s homeless population is an issue that Sullivan said he’s constantly addressing.

“We’re always working on homelessness,” he said.

Sullivan said his administration has done well to combine efforts of organizations all working to help the homeless.

“Nobody is going to cure this, but I think we’ve made some pretty good steps forward,” he said.

The faith community has been a huge help in housing the city’s homeless citizens, Sullivan said. Seven churches have received the necessary certification and provide beds during the cold winter months, he said.

“It’s made a big difference,” Sullivan said.

The mayor also discussed plans for Anchorage’s future, in particular, Ship Creek.

The area has a ton of potential, Sullivan said. Phase one of his plan would be to stabilize the banks and add structures, like fishing platforms.

The next phase, he said, would be residential and commercial development.

Sullivan also suggested filling in the mudflats to give the city a waterfront.

Though all conceptual at this point, Sullivan said his administration is looking at Ship Creek’s future.

“We’re working on it,” he said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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