Community Dialogue Results
Heidi Gantwerk of Viewpoint Learning returned to Anchorage last week to present the aggregate findings from the four community budget sessions held in August. She presented at a worksession with the Assembly and to a group of citizens who had participated in the sessions.
The highlights of her presentation were that people love living in Anchorage and want to maintain the level of service they have now. However, they do not want to pay more taxes until they are convinced that government is spending their money more efficiently. In fact, efficiency was a constant theme throughout the dialogues. See video of Heidi at mayor's press conference.
Additionally, if there are going to be more taxes, they need to come from sources other than property tax. In fact, alcohol tax and sales tax were the most commonly discussed alternative revenue sources. (link to Viewpoint report) Several Assembly members, led by Ernie Hall, are making the rounds in the community discussing new revenue possibilities.
EFFICIENCIES ARE COMING!
The community dialogue results re-enforce the initiatives started by my administration to make municipal government more efficient. The first effort involves the re-organization of the former Office of Community Planning and Development into the Community Planning Department and the Public Works Department. The change saves the city more than $630,000 annually while providing improved customer service.
This is just the first of many areas where we plan to spend your tax dollars more effectively. Stay tuned for upcoming initiatives.