Meg Zaletel is a candidate for Assembly District 4 - Seat F - Midtown Anchorage in the 2019 Municipal Elections. If elected, she will serve a three-year term for the Assembly for the Municipality of Anchorage.

KTVA asked Zaletel, as well as those running against her, to answer a few questions about her stance on key issues in the community as part of our election coverage this year. Each candidate was given an equal amount of time to respond to these questions and informed of the set publishing date.

Here are Zaletel's answers to those questions.

Question 1 – An alcohol sales tax will appear on the April ballot to combat substance abuse, homelessness and to increase public safety. Do you agree with the tax? Why or why not?

I believe the alcohol tax is a straightforward way to address both the decreased state funding & urgent local issues without putting additional burden on property owners. Funding would allow us to develop a smart, coordinated strategy to protect residents and business owners, & free up our police and fire personnel to do their jobs. I support this tax because the funds are dedicated and want to absolutely ensure that the funding can only be used, now & in the future, to address these issues.

Question 2 – Anchorage has experienced a growing problem with homelessness. What will be your approach to addressing these issues, and at what cost?

I support a housing first model. I believe that Anchorage must work closely with partners to address homelessness. That means providing mental health support, addiction treatment services, & help to find jobs. There are nonprofits that are currently providing these services. We need to create opportunities to coordinate the private and Municipal services to eliminate redundancy and find populations that are not being served.

Question 3 – Gov. Dunleavy announced $1.6B in budget cuts in February. As the budget process continues in Juneau, how will you respond to the state’s budget challenges?

The city needs to do what every other city in a similar situation has done, which is to constantly reassess what’s necessary and re-examine how we do these things to find ways to do them for less. We need to figure out how to build a sustainable budget that supports a long-term vision of our city. The budget needs to have the flexibility to be reactive to uncertain state and federal funding. What the Governor has proposed will shift the burden of costs to local governments while decreasing support that the state provides.

Question 4 – The governor’s budget will cut about $2.5M from the municipality’s budget and an estimated $146M from the Anchorage School District. How will you respond to these cuts locally?

The education funding for ASD is statutorily tied to the base student allocation set by the legislature so there is little the Municipality can do except share services to make efficiencies where possible. Additionally, if school bond debt reimbursement is not supplied,
Anchorage property tax owners are likely to face up to a $1400 increase in their property taxes.

Question 5 – Eagle River, Chugiak and Peter’s Creek residents sustained damage during the Nov. 30 earthquake. Do you support annexing residents to be part of the building safety service area? Why or why not?

Annexing would need to be given thoughtful consideration. We would need to fully understand how it would impact costs, department efficiency, building safety, and housing affordability.

Question 6 – There is a need for affordable housing in the municipality. How will you foster this?

Affordable housing can be generated in a variety of ways. One obvious way is to streamline the building permit process in a way that ensures we maintain the high building standards that kept us safe during the November earthquake, while also eliminating any unnecessary hurdles and expenses in the building process.

Meet the other candidates running for a spot on the Anchorage Assembly, in the order they're presented on the municipality website.

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