Any bets?

Our august Assembly is mulling the purchase of two hotels, a former Alaska Club building and the Bean’s Cafe Campus for the sum of $22.5 million – with all the dough, supposedly, coming from Anchorage’s cut of federal CARES Act funding.

The idea, it says, is to combat homelessness.

But money provided to states and localities by the $2 trillion CARES Act carries with it conditions detailing its accepted uses. The expenditures must be for:

  1. Necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of enactment of the CARES Act (March 27); and,
  3. Incurred between March and December of 2020.

We are not lawyers, nor are we politicians who tend to live in the law’s loopholes, but we fail to see how spending $22.5 million to buy four properties to deal with what the Anchorage Coalition on Homelessness says is about 1,000 people, give or take, meets any of those conditions. That brings up the next question:

If the city buys the properties with CARES Act money and the feds later object, what then? Will Assembly members step up and pledge to replace the money out of their pockets? Or will they take it from yours?

Will property taxpayers, in addition to shouldering the additional $300,000 removed from the tax rolls by the purchases, be tapped to ante up an additional $22.5 million to replace the CARES money?

We are taking bets.

4 Responses to Any bets?

  1. Donald Drumpf June 25, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Remember when we discussed this a couple months ago and demanded that the homeless be dealt with? Here’s a way to deal with it. If there are objections, please come forward with better alternatives. Until then, enjoy the self perpetuating cycle conservatives like to argue: Complain about the homeless, ignore suggestions to fix it that don’t involve humanitarian crimes, refuse to spend money on it, nothing changes, an event occurs that grabs a publishers attention, outrage, complain about the homeless. See you next go round.

  2. Randy Kilbourn June 25, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    If the Muni is successful (don’t bet they won’t try again and again), the cost of remodeling, operation and maintenance will be prohibitive, not to mention the buildings are all old and probably in need of substantial rehab. Those costs will definitely be passed to the taxpayers in addition to the $300,000 in lost property taxes. Pretty soon you will be talking real money……

  3. Jack June 26, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Hey, I thought they liked living outside.

  4. Morrigan June 27, 2020 at 10:19 am

    The feds might well object if they’re informed, for example if a whistleblower called 1-800-359-3898, the Treasury’s Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline or wrote to:
    Brian D. Miller, Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), United States treasury, Office of Inspector General
    1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Room 4436, Washington, DC 20220
    When Anchorage’s Assembly forced mail-in voting on residents literally overnight, the suspicion arose that the purpose was to install an easily manipulated voting process to assure no bond, tax, Charter change, or incumbent gets left behind.
    Now it seems reasonable to ask whether purchasing two hotels, a former Alaska Club building and the Bean’s Cafe Campus might have been intended to give physical addresses to homeless people so Anchorage’s mail-in vote system could be manipulated by registering them to vote, helping them vote, or helping them vote “absentee”.
    Of course property tax payers will have to shoulder the anticipated extra tax burden, but maybe our leaders already figured out the answer.
    So we’ll take the bet, Mr. Editor, your $22.5 million and $300,000.
    And we’ll raise… an easily corruptible vote on a 10% sales tax.


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