ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) Three former republican Anchorage mayors object to raising the tax cap as part of a bond proposal to purchase two new ambulances.
“This issue is the huge amount of labor attached to this over the next ten years,” said former Mayor Rick Mystrom, who joins Mayors Dan Sullivan and George Wuerch in opposing the bond.
Proposition 2 includes transit facility upgrades, bus stop improvements and school safety zone upgrades along with the purchase of two ambulances for $650,000. To pay for the 14 EMTs that will staff them the bond includes a $2.3 million annual operations and maintenance cost, achieved by increasing the tax cap.
“I think that if it were more candid about how much this was going to cost it would have been easier to swallow,” Mystrom said.
Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc says tax cap increases brought on by inflation, new construction and population growth can fund government, and these kind of purchases require more staff.
“When you add new apparatus, additional apparatus you have to be very dynamic in change and the tax cap does not allow for dynamic growth and that’s what the former mayors seem to have a little amnesia about. They did it themselves. It’s the only way to do it,” LeBlanc said.
The Firefighters union said bringing two basic life support ambulances online permanently will free up advanced life support ambulances for critical calls.
“…like a cardiac arrest or you know a couple months ago we had the Royal Suites fire it gives us more capacity to take care of a growing call volume,” said Vice President of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1264 Eric Tuott.
The estimated cost to tax payers for operations and maintenance is $6.41 per $100,000 in assessed property value.