How much can we afford?
Our fair city is weighing the purchase of four individual properties – two hotels, a former Alaska Club building, and the Bean’s Cafe Campus – to be used in the seemingly never-ending fight against homelessness.
A proposed ordinance (AO No. 2020-66) authorizing the purchases limits their cost and any possible renovations to $22.5 million. That money would come from the city’s cut of federal CARES Act funding.
Additionally, the city’s summary of economic effects for the deal says: “If all properties are purchased, approximately $17.4 million of assessed value equating to $300,000 of property taxes (per 2020 assessment) will be removed from the tax rolls.” That is $300,000 other Anchorage taxpayers will have added to their tax bills.
It seems to us that if you want more of something you facilitate it. That certainly has held true in Anchorage’s dealing with its homeless problem over the years. The more the city does for the homeless, the more of them there are.
Just how much is the city willing to help? How many millions is it willing to throw at the problem?
The bigger question: How much can we afford?