Vote By Mail Begins
By Marc Donadieu
Glacier City Gazette
The Municipality of Anchorage is conducting its first vote by mail election for the April 3, 2018 ballot. In addition to the mayoral race, there are three school board seats and 12 ballot propositions.
Registered voters will be mailed a ballot packet about three weeks before the April 3 election. The packet will contain an official ballot, a security envelope, instructions and a ballot return envelope. If a ballot package is lost or not received, a replacement ballot can be obtained by going to an accessible vote center or by calling the voter hotline at (907) 243-8683.
After the ballot is filled out and signed, it can be returned three ways: by the U.S. Postal Service, by a secure ballot drop box, or by an accessible vote center. The six vote centers are Anchorage City Hall, ZJ Loussac Library, MOA Election Center, O’Malley’s on the Green and Eagle River Town Center.
There are twelve ballot drop boxes throughout the Municipality. The nearest for Turnagain Arm voters are Girdwood Community Center and three high schools, Dimond, Service and South. The drop boxes will be open 24/7 three weeks before the April 3 election and will close at 8 p.m. that day.
There are nine candidates running for Mayor of Anchorage: incumbent Ethan Berkowitz, Dustin Darden, Timothy Huit, Jacob Kern, Paul Kendall, Matthew Mendonsa, Nelson Godot, Ron Stafford and Rebecca Logan.
Candidates for School Board Seat E are Tashe Hotch, Alisha Hilde, Don Smith, Ron Stafford and David Nees. Seat F’s candidates are Deena Mitchell and Phil Isley. Seat G’s candidates are Irene Wiesman and Elisa Snelling.
For Girdwood Board of Supervisors, incumbents Gerald (Jerry) Fox (Seat A) and Eryn Boone (Seat B) are running unopposed.
Seven of the dozen propositions are for general obligation bonds for a specified service area. Passing the proposition requires a majority vote of people in the service area and throughout the Municipality. Taxpayers outside of the service areas will not be responsible for cost.
Proposition No. 1 asks if Anchorage Municipal Code should be changed to designate locker rooms, showers, changing facilities and restrooms as only being allowed to be used by persons of the same sex as designated on a birth certificate.
Proposition No. 2 is about the Municipality issuing general obligation bonds of over $50 million for capital improvements for Anchorage School District.
Proposition No. 3 asks if over $33 million in general obligation bonds should be issued for capital improvements in the Anchorage Roads and Drainage Service Area. If passed, property owners throughout the Municipality would be taxed.
Proposition No. 4 is about a $3.6 million bond for renovation and capital improvements in the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Service Area.
Proposition No. 5 asks voters about an over $1 million bond for capital improvements in the Anchorage Metropolitan Police Service Area.
Proposition No. 6 is about a $2.5 million bond for capital improvements in the Anchorage Fire Service Area.
Proposition No. 7 is about a 1.4 million bond for capital improvements in the Municipality.
Proposition No. 8 asks about a $4.9 million bond for area-wide public safety and transit improvements.
Proposition No. 9 concerns Girdwood and parking enforcement. With the exception of Downtown Anchorage, all Municipal parking enforcement is conducted by Anchorage Police Department. Girdwood contracts Whittier Police Department for service, but it is only allowed to enforce state law, not municipal. If passed, Prop. 9 would allow the Girdwood Valley Service Area to designate a specific police department to enforce parking.
Proposition No. 10 asks if a Charter amendment should permit Municipal Light and Power to be sold to Chugach Electric and authorize disposal of proceeds from the sale. Proposition No. 11 is about increasing the residential real-property tax exemption to 20% percent or up to $50,000. The rate currently is 10% percent or up to $20,000.
Proposition No. 12 is about the Anchorage Fire Service Area annexing the Eagle River Valley Area. This proposition does not affect Girdwood Valley Service Area or Tax Area 4 (Rainbow, Indian, Bird Creek, Crow Creek and Portage).
Go to muni.org/departments/assembly/clerk/elections/Pages/default.aspx for vote center hours and more comprehensive information about the Municipal election.
There is also the League of Women Voters Ballot Review at muni.org/Departments/Assembly/Clerk/Elections/2018%20Election/LWV%20Ballot%20Review%202018%20web.pdf.