Anchorage mayor proposes hike in city fees, fines

Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- User fees and fines in Anchorage would jump under a proposal advocated by Mayor George Wuerch.

Altogether, Anchorage would collect more than $1.9 million annually if all the mayor's proposed fee and fine hikes are imposed. The Anchorage Assembly must approve some of them, but city officials can raise other items on their own.

Under Wuerch's plan, it would cost $30 more to get buried. The city would charge $175 for a permit to set up mobile homes. Illegally honking a car horn could cost an extra $30 and the fine for drinking in public would jump from $75 to $100.

The extra city income from the fee and fine increases will not cause property taxes to drop but will help pay for services at a time when inflation and other factors are increasing costs, said budget director Cheryl Frasca.

Few assembly members have given much thought to the proposals yet, said Chairman Dick Traini. He does know that the increases are significant.

''I'm wondering if it's because we need it, or it's to balance the budget, or it's just because we haven't done it in a while,'' Traini said. ''It needs to have some purpose.''

Frasca wants increases that will bring in an estimated $900,0000 approved and in effect by Oct. 1. The $900,000 would be spread among the police, development services, traffic, planning, legal, parks and other city departments.

More than half would come from fee increases in development services, which oversees building safety and inspects and issues permits for homes and commercial buildings. The people who use those services profit from them and should pay for them, said Craig Campbell, who oversees the department.

''It's the cost of doing business,'' he said.

About $500,000 in fee increases would benefit the cultural and recreational services department. Those increases do not need assembly approval, Frasca said.

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