Assembly discusses snow plow diplomacy at work session

Despite concerns of “loosey goosey” contracting, collaborative spirit set the tone for the afternoon meeting
FastCast headlines for Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 7:33 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage’s continual struggle with snow-covered roads was discussed at an Anchorage Assembly snow removal work session with Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration on Jan. 5.

Midtown Assembly Member Felix Rivera said this year’s storms and the subsequent response from the municipality have pushed the city to its limits in terms of what constituents were able to tolerate. But both the assembly and administration lauded the hard work of the plow and grader operators.

“We’re continuing to work night and day, they’re working pretty much round the clock,” Public Works Director Lance Wilbur said.

Additional crews and equipment have been brought on to handle snow removal and hauling.

Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant suggested that the December weather should have been classified as an official emergency by the administration. A state of emergency declaration expands the ability of the city to respond to major weather events such as heavy snowfall because it temporarily adjusts city codes.

The administration’s comments on new private snow hauling contracts opened a long line of questioning from Assembly Member Meg Zaletel and Constant, who said they were concerned about the lack of assembly input on contract amendments.

“Loosey-goosey contracting is not acceptable,” Constant said.

However, Acting Municipal Attorney Blair Christensen said that the contracts did not appear to violate any municipal laws and were outside of the assembly’s purview.