The SAP project for the Municipality of Anchorage will have an even higher price tag after Tuesday’s Assembly meeting.


The project, when it was started, was estimated to be around $10 million and was supposed to only take a year and a half to launch. However, nearly six years later, the upgraded business software is still in its testing phase and it will cost around $81 million. The additional $5.8 million Assembly members approved to fund SAP implementation, is supposed to help it get past the finish line.


The goal is to have the software go live by October 2017. It’s supposed to automate the process for all business units in the city, such as finance and project management. Several members questioned what would happen if they didn’t approve this extra money.


Several members questioned what would happen if they didn’t approve this extra money.


“It would fill a lot of discs and a lot of white binders, but it would offer little or no benefit to the Municipality in its current conditions,” municipal manager Mike Abbott told the Assembly.


Assembly member Amy Demboski said she didn’t support the costly project under the previous administration, but also notes there has been a lot of money spent on the project under Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s administration as well.


She said she “begrudgingly” voted to approve funding because she felt this was the only option to finally get SAP up and running this year.


“I said this to Mayor Berkowitz when you came in, that I will give you one shot to get it done,” she said. “$35 million is one hell of a shot, but I will not vote for one more penny after this.”


Assembly member Felix Rivera said he’s heard numerous concerns from his constituents.


“Because this seriously hampers the public trust in government to operate efficiently,” he said. “And I’ve worked with municipal employees. I know them to be hard-working individuals who want to get the job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. It’s easy to place blame on the earlier administration, as we should, but I want everyone to be aware that we are making the vote right now. That we are the ones voting yes or no on spending the money, so the responsibility, really, from here on out, lies with us and this administration to get this done.”


Assembly member Forrest Dunbar was absent for the vote because he is currently overseas.


The Assembly also unanimously approved spending more than $400,000 on turf to lay down in the Sullivan Arena, with the hopes this will attract different sports and serve as an option to generate new revenue at the facility.


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