Mayor Bronson’s vetoes likely to cause delay for some projects

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson vetoed a portion of the Anchorage Assembly’s spending plan on Tuesday to distribute American Rescue Plan Action Funds.

On August 9, the assembly passed a resolution that was set to distribute $51 million in ARPA funds to nonprofits, local businesses, and organizations. Bronson vetoed 10 line-items of AR 2022-178(S). The line-item vetoes total $16,199,091 of ARPA funds.

“After close examination I was compelled to veto items that funded duplicative services, went to organizations who had previously received federal COVID-relief funds, or were not properly vetted projects,” Bronson stated in a press release.

Among the 10 line-items that were vetoed include the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, the Alaska Community Foundation, and Alaska Black Caucus were amongst the most severely reduced by the vetoes. Members of the assembly said that the vetoes will cause these organizations to experience project delays as they wait to see if funding is approved.

“It’s not the first time we’ve been here,” ABC President and CEO Celeste Hodge Growden said. “We knew that it would be a struggle.”

Hodge Growden had planned to use the money to build an Equity Center. The center would be used as a gathering place for Ingenious, people of color and allies — something that she said is long overdue for the community.

“This is something that we’ve needed and not just Anchorage, but in this state for a long time,” Hodge Growden said.

In the mayor’s veto statement, Bronson indicated that ABC had recently received $437,500 in funding through AR 2021-167(S).

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“The administration believes in a more equitable distribution of funds throughout the community,” Bronson said in his memo regarding the ABC veto.

Members of the assembly said that their decision for granting money towards projects in the community was based off of equity funding and long-term investments into the community.

“We wanted to make sure our funding was equitable, that we were taking care of individuals who were struggling because of the pandemic,” said Anchorage Assembly Vice-chair Christopher Constant. “We’d make investments that are enduring.”

Moving forward, the assembly will have 21 days after the vetoes were filed to make a motion to override the vetoes. Constant expects that meeting to likely occur next week.

Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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