Anchorage, Alaska Update:
The Anchorage assembly voted eight to three in favor of Assembly member Bill Evans' ordinance to add 116 new taxicab permits over the next five years. Assembly member Forrest Dunbar offered an amendment to change the way permits are issued from a lottery system and flat fee of $1,980 to an auction.
The amendment was approved ten to one.
Several taxicab drivers spoke during a public hearing concerned the value of the permits they currently hold will plummet.
"I saw in my short 24 years of life how my parents busted their backs on cold winter nights to be able to save up the money to be able to afford the permit. It seems completely insensible to me that the entire family’s hard work would go down the road in the blink of an eye," said Nancy Barbosa, the daughter of a taxi cab driver.
Patrick Reinhart with the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education supported the change, "We’ve done a number of surveys and studies over the years and gotten plenty of comments about there not being enough accessible vehicles out there," said Reinhart.
The first 20 permits would be issued in 2017.
An ordinance to put on the April 4th 2017 ballot a spending limit in addition to the tax cap was removed from consideration before a vote, as was a proposal for the city to collect a processing fee for credit cards used for taxi services.
Late in the evening the Assembly voted to support a rate increase for Municipal light and Power customers of up to 35%, an increase which must still be approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.
The Anchorage Assembly is meeting at the Loussac Library Tuesday night, where a discussion on adding more taxicab permits is expected to continue.
The proposal to open the industry to anyone who qualifies and add 116 new permits over the next five years through a lottery system packed the room two weeks ago.
A two-year sole source contract with Whittier was approved, allowing police under a short term contract to remain in Girdwood. The annual cost through December 31, 2019 is $618,000 for Girdwood property owners.
Also on the agenda are public hearings on a rate increase for Municipal Light and Power customers of up to 35%. The public utility looked at its revenue in 2015 and found a rate increase is necessary to maintain its current level of service. ML&P has more than 30,000 customers.
A public hearing was scheduled on an ordinance to create a review process for historical properties being considered for demolition. The proposal was introduced after contractors working for the owners of the 4th Avenue Theater applied for a demolition permit.
This is a developing story.