Legislators postpone decision on Anchorage offices

The Alaska Legislature’s Legislative Council has postponed a decision on its expensive Anchorage offices.

In a presentation Friday, Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak and chairman of the council, presented information declaring that staying in the Legislature’s newly remodeled Fourth Avenue Legislative Information Office will cost four times as much as moving lawmakers to an existing state office building.

According to the report, the Legislature will spend $40 million over the next 10 years to keep Anchorage lawmakers’ offices in the Fourth Avenue building. In comparison, moving the Anchorage legislators into the Atwood Building a few blocks away would cost just $10 million over the same period.

The Legislature is renting space in the Fourth Avenue building, which has been deemed the “Taj MaHawker” by critics who scorn Anchorage Republican Rep. Mike Hawker’s close relationship with developer Mark Pfeffer.

Hawker negotiated the state’s lease with Pfeffer, who owns the building.

Members of the Legislative Council — which makes decisions for the Legislature out of session — said they wanted more information than that provided by Stevens’ analysis.

The delay will put the Legislature’s decision out of Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed state budget, which is expected on Wednesday.

The state is facing a $3 billion gap between annual revenue and expenses, and the Legislature was one of the few branches of state government to avoid budget cuts last year.

More in News

COVID-19 (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 3 more COVID deaths, more than 900 cases

The newly reported deaths push Alaska’s total to 594 COVID fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

In this July 1908 photograph provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear sits at anchor while on Bering Sea Patrol off Alaska. The wreckage of the storied vessel, that served in two World Wars and patrolled frigid Arctic waters for decades, has been found, the Coast Guard said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office via AP)
Coast Guard: Wreck found in Atlantic is storied cutter Bear

The ship performed patrols in waters off Alaska for decades.

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

Kyle Kornelis speaks at a public meeting about the Runway 7-25 Rehabilitation Project on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna airport unveils revamped runway

Runway 7-25 was temporarily closed earlier this year while it underwent renovations.

Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Redistricting proposals draw concerns from local residents

The state is seeking feedback on the best way to redraw the state’s legislative district boundaries in the wake of the 2020 census.

Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Ordinance seeks more funding for sports complex renovations

Approved for introduction by the Soldotna City Council during their Oct. 13 meeting, the legislation would put an extra $583,000 toward the project

Most Read