Starting March 1, people who buy gas in Anchorage will pay 10-cents a gallon more, now that the Anchorage Assembly has passed the Administration's proposed gas tax. The ordinance had a public hearing Tuesday night and several people testified, but on Wednesday morning, many residents said they were still unfamiliar with the tax. 

Rich Cline, who owns Cline's Tesoro at 5th Avenue and Gambell Street, said he hadn't heard about the city gas tax. Not only was he surprised, he was a little worried that he might lose customers who commute in from the Valley and gas up at his station.

"They're going to buy their gas where they can get the cheapest," said Cline. "I think that's going to hurt the stations here in Anchorage."

Mayor Berkowitz, who supported the tax, said he wants people from outside the city to pay.

"There's 32,000 people who commute into Anchorage every day and they use our roads and they use our services, " said Berkowitz. "We just want to make sure that they're contributing a little bit more towards the costs of city services and all those costs aren't born solely by property owners."

Berkowitz said money from the gas tax will be used to lower property taxes. Here's how the city said it would add up:

  • A person who drives 10,000 miles a year at 23 mpg can expect to pay an additional $43 a year for gas.
  • A person who owns a typical $350,000 home would pay about $131 less a year in taxes.
  • Berkowitz said the new gas tax is expected to raise $14,000,000 a year.

The mayor said he's also working on other measures to lower property taxes including one Anchorage voters might see on the ballot in April. The mayor is proposing to raise the property tax exemption amount from $20,000 up to $50,000.