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Anchorage, Alaska

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Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska. It is the 64th-largest city and northernmost major city in the United States. Anchorage had 291,826 residents in 2010, and 380,821 residents within its Metropolitan Statistical Area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough. It is Alaska's largest city and constitutes more than 40 percent of the state's total population. Among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in the state's largest city.

It is a unified home rule municipality created in 1975 through the unification of the governments of the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough, making Anchorage one of the largest municipalities in the nation, encompassing nearly 1,955 square miles from Eklutna in the north to Girdwood and Portage in the south. As a unified government, the Municipality of Anchorage is responsible for services provided in other areas by both a city and a borough (or, in other states, by a city and a county).

Anchorage has been named All-America City four times by the National Civic League, in 1956, 1965, 1984/1985 and 2002. It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most tax friendly city in the United States.[1]

Elected officials

The Anchorage Assembly is the Municipality of Anchorage's legislative body. The eleven-member body is responsible for setting municipal policy through enactment of laws (ordinances) and adoption of resolutions. Each Assembly member is elected by section and serves a three-year term.

Budget

The 2012 budget was $452.3 million, which was $10.4 million less than a continuation level budget and came below the maximum amount of property taxes allowed by the tax cap.

The total budget held property tax increases to two percent higher than in 2011, or $7.24 more per $100,000 of assessed home value. Citizens approved half of that increase when they voted for bonds, and for the maintenance and operations costs associated with them. The remaining half was necessary to account partially for higher labor costs, with reductions in other areas accounting for the remaining increases. Included in the 2012 budget were costs resulting from the hiring of 29 new firefighters and safety officers, and 30 new police officers, reflecting Mayor Sullivan’s commitment to public safety as the top community priority.[2]

Stimulus

The city of Anchorage received $268,463,810.28 in federal stimulus funds in 37 contracts and 88 grants.[3]

Local taxes

Taxes collected in 2012 totaled $270,717,019, generating more expected revenue than in 2011 ($254,408,101). Personal property taxes were expected to generate $225,307,034, tobacco taxes $21,300,000, and MUSA/MESA taxes $13,187,332.[4]

Lobbying

See also: Alaska government sector lobbying

Anchorage spent $180,000 on lobbying the federal government in the first two quarters of 2010.[5]

Website evaluation

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Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying P
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Public Records Y
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Elected officials
    • Names of elected officials, individual email address, individual phone numbers, and a physical address is available.[6]
  • Meetings
    • The calendar of meetings, meeting agendas and minutes are available.[7]
    • Meeting information is archived to 2008
  • Administration
    • Names of administrative officials, individual email address, individual phone numbers, and a physical address is available.[8]
  • Budget
    • The current budget is published.[9]
    • Budgets are archived to 2002.
  • Audits
    • The current audit is published.[10]
    • Audits are archived to 1995.
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are available and tax rates are published.[11]
  • Contracts
    • Bids are posted, including approved contracts over $10,000.[12]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Permit applications are available for download.[13]
    • Zoning ordinances are available.[14]
  • Lobbying
    • A list of employed lobbyists is available and memberships to lobbying organizations and associated fees are available.[15]
  • Public records
    • A public records contact is available and public records policies are available in a central location.[16]

The bad

  • Membership dues for government sector lobbying associations are not disclosed.

External links

Municipality of Anchorage

References