ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Having recently won his bid for reelection, Anchorage mayor Ethan Berkowitz says he has three main objectives for his second term.
“I’m focused on making sure Anchorage can be a safer place for everybody who lives here, making sure our fiscal situation is balanced, and also preparing us to take advantage of all the opportunities that are coming our way,” Berkowitz said.
The mayor plans to continue his policy of expanding the Anchorage Police Department to a projected level of about 450 officers. Currently the city has about 435. Berkowitz added that increased access to addiction treatment is also an important part of his public safety plan.
“Those require prevention and treatment and we don’t have those prevention and treatment facilities available to the degree that we should and we’re going to work to continue to expand those as well,” Berkowitz said.
Berkowitz says the city has “definitely made progress” on reducing homelessness, but there’s more work to be done.
“We’ve done a lot that’s sort of behind the scenes and foundational,” he said. “Over the next couple of weeks we should be announcing some initiatives that I think will give people some comfort that we’re making real progress.”
As for financial stability, during his candidacy the mayor touted Anchorage’s AAA bond rating, promising to maintain it through uncertainty at the state level. He says the results of the election show voters are confident in where the city’s heading.
“I think it’s worth noting that the bonds passed so overwhelmingly,” Berkowitz said. “And they passed overwhelmingly because people have a sense that Anchorage has direction now, that Anchorage has unmet needs that we can’t rely on the state to provide our capital budgets the way we have in the past.”