Secret Session: Anchorage Real Estate

10/2/09

The Legislative Council later this month (Oct. 27) will open a subject that is typically controversial among lawmakers – office space in Anchorage.

The Council is responsible for routine management of the legislature’s internal affairs.  Chairman John Harris says the lease is coming to an end on the current legislative building on Fourth Street … and the Council needs to consider its options.

We can legally extend the lease that we’re in now and we can expand on it some if the lease option is ten percent less than fair market value.   The other options are that we’ve talked to the Department of Administration on jointly doing something on a piece of property not too far away from the Atwood building in town here.  We’ve put out feelers or request for information from other folks around town on what’s available on what they could provide from either new construction or existing building, renovated buildings, whatever.

The public announcement for the meeting says it will mostly be held in executive session – which excludes the public from observing the discussion.    Harris says that’s needed so members can discuss the proprietary and financial information concerning the options available.  However, that draws the attention of Juneau residents who are committed to protecting the capitol. In past years, the  Council has debated  new meeting space for sessions and full-time occupancy in Anchorage.   Juneau Republican Cathy Munoz says she has talked to Harris about this particular meeting and says the subject warrants being held in private.

First of all, Rep. Harris contacted each of the delegation members down here in Juneau to assure us, well before the meeting had been scheduled, that this was very routine in nature, that there were planning to look at the specifics of that lease and make a determination on whether they wanted to continue in that particular space.

Munoz says she will be in Anchorage on another legislative issue and plans to attend the Council meeting.

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