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Welcome to Anchorage Update


The Orange Cone Zone is Back: It's Road Construction Season in Anchorage
Springtime in Anchorage means several things, among them: mosquitoes, the citywide clean-up and road construction projects. Road projects are a good sign that we're taking care of our current roadways while expanding the existing network, so the orange cones and construction crews can be a welcome sight. That said, it also can be an inconvenience for drivers who frequently travel a certain route to get from place to place. The city is aware of this fact and diligent in getting the word out to the public. Be sure to check AlaskaNavigator.org and anchorageroads.org frequently for updates on where and when traffic may be delayed or rerouted. And remember, the short-term frustration is certainly worth the long-term investment in improved, well-maintained roads and safety.
The end of the road for the I/M program
Last week, the Assembly voted unanimously on the mayor's proposal to end the outdated I/M (vehicle emission) testing program. While this program was once a useful tool for keeping Anchorage's air clean, strict federal standards have created much more efficient, cleaner-running cars. As older cars come off the road and are replaced by new models, air quality continues to improve. As a result, Anchorage has not violated federal air quality guidelines since 1996. Mayor Sullivan asked the Assembly to approve his plan for eliminating the program at the local level, which will save Anchorage drivers millions of dollars over the years. Once federal and state governments approve the plan, the program will officially end. This process should take six months to a year to complete. Get Involved! Apply for a Municipality of Anchorage Board or Commission
One of the unique things the city does to engage citizens is work with members of local board and commissions. Members of the city's 50 boards and commissions volunteer their time end expertise on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from public health, budget and finance, arts and historic preservation, and many more. Openings occur weekly, and applications are kept on file for a year.  Email or call Jay Jackson for additional information: jacksonja@muni.org  or 343-7115. It's that time again...Real property tax bills arrive this week
No one enjoys it, but the reality is that tax notices will soon arrive in local mailboxes. This annual event allows the Muni to fund services outlined in the city budget (see chart, below). This year, the mayor's budget came in at $8 million below the tax cap, or the maximum amount allowed by law. Mayor Sullivan repeatedly stated that he felt it was critically important to hold the line on taxes during a rough economic period.  Still, the Muni will bill out $471 million in taxes this week, and 90,000 property owners will cover that expense.  It's critical to remember that half of the amount collected from tax bills funds the Anchorage School District.
2010 Q1 spending

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