Four Propositions on April 2nd Muni Ballot

Voting Place 3There are four different bond propositions on the upcoming municipal election ballot.

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The bond propositions on the Anchorage ballot would pay for education, emergency services, public safety, public transportation and road and park projects. Mike Abbott is the chief operating officer for the Anchorage School District. He is advocating for Proposition 1, the education infrastructure bond.

“Proposition 1 will fund 55 million dollars of educational improvements that will address deficiencies in structures that can’t currently perform educational services, fire alarms, roof, boiler systems, etc.,” Abbott said.

Abbott says the bonds will help the district maintain their 93 buildings. He says the bonds won’t drive the district any further into debt because they’re paying off old bonds. Lance Wilbur is the Director of Public Transportation for the Municipality of Anchorage. He is advocating for Proposition 2, the emergency service, public safety & public transportation bond. The three services are combined because the services are area-wide. Wilbur says the transit part of the bond is critical to public transportation in Anchorage.

“For the transit element, that 525,000. We use that to match our federal program that we receive every year, with basically a 4:1 return. So that 500,000 dollars will get us over 2 million dollars in federal funds,” Wilbur said.

Wilbur says the funds help the Municipality pay for a variety transportation projects, including building bus stops and replacing busses. In addition to the transportation element, Proposition 2 includes upgrades to the 911 service. The total amount of the bonds is just over 2.5 million dollars. Jacques Boutet is an engineer who could benefit from the passage of the roads and parks bonds and is a volunteer with Anchorage Tomorrow, a political action committee advocating for the bonds. Proposition 3, the Anchorage roads and service area bond asks for about 20.5 million dollars to preserve existing infrastructure. If funded, Boutet says Proposition 3 would pay for drainage and road projects.

“We’re faced with degradation of our pavement, which we all recognize of course as the potholes and cracks in the pavement that make our driving experience a little bit more miserable. But moreover we also have our underground system — the storm water system that carries, that pipes the water from the streets and properties out to treatment and on into the inlet, or our creeks anyway, and that area is also in desperate need of rehabilitation,” Boutet said.

Boutet says the projects will help eliminate road flooding, oversized puddles and sink holes. The municipality has requested about 29 million dollars in matching grants from the state legislature for the drainage and road projects. Proposition 4 is the parks bond. It asks voters to approve 2.5 million dollars. Boutet says that, if passed, Prop 4 would fund three major projects.

“The first one is a rehabilitation, a long overdue restoration of the Chester creek bike trail. We want to finish our restoration of the Anchorage veterans memorial in the Park Strip. And then finally, is a group of neighborhood park improvements, going into these neighborhood parks, replacing playground equipment, adding trails, adding lighting where it’s appropriate,” Boutet said.

Boutet says Proposition 3 park bond monies would be matched by almost 3 million dollars in public and private funds from state grants and other funders such as The Parks Foundation. Both Proposition 3 and 4 are requesting smaller amounts of money than in recent years. All four Propositions will appear on the April 2 Municipal Election ballot.