Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Assembly Adopts 2019 Budget

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Friday, May 04, 2018

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly adopted its budget last night, May 3, reducing slightly the Areawide mill rate to 10.331. With their 18 amendments, Assembly Members supported education funding, crime prevention, transportation, and a new library, among other efforts.  

Eleven new positions are added with eight of those funded by reducing expenditures such as replacing on-call positions with a full-time position. The list of positions is below.

Last year’s Areawide mill rate was 10.332. The Areawide mill rate is the rate of property tax on all areas within and outside cities. 1 mill is equal to $1 in taxes per $1,000 in taxable value. The Non Areawide mill rate is set at 0.548. The Non Areawide taxes are only for services provided outside the cities such as Animal Care and libraries.

Significant changes occurred at a meeting before deliberations when the Assembly installed a new tax cap of 10.5 mills. This means that the Assembly must adopt a mill rate at or below 10.5 mills until 2023. Under the new cap, Areawide taxes can only increase about $45 total on a $250,000 home over five years or about a 1.6 % increase over five years. The Assembly, however, last night chose to set a mill rate lower than that cap.

Earlier, the Assembly also allocated 6.3 mills of the Areawide property tax revenue to education operating costs or 60 percent. This works out to a $2.5 million increase in funding over last year. The Borough also pays for the debt for construction costs on new schools. Together, operations and construction debt for schools make up 70 percent of Areawide property taxes. Watch this video on the tax cap and school funding for more details.

A budget amendment also allowed the District to retain, this year only, $250,000 of its unassigned fund balance or left over funds.

Present at the deliberations were: Mayor Vern Halter

Assembly Members Barb Doty on the phone, Ted Leonard, Deputy Mayor Matthew Beck, Dan Mayfield, Jim Sykes, George McKee


To watch the deliberations click on the video link on the Assembly agenda calendar Here is the link:


To listen to Closing remarks of Assembly Members click the link posted here.


Here is a brief list of the amendments and outcomes.

Amendment 1 passes, a technical amendment

Amendment 2 passes, Mayfield sponsored 

  • To provide guardrail on both sides of the fish passage project on Beaver Lake Road over Meadow Creek. This area has long been a public safety concern for Big Lake. $30,000 will be diverted from the Community Transportation Grant Match for this capital project. 

Amendment 3 passes, Mayfield sponsored

  • Repair of the West Lake public access at Big Lake. $50,000 was moved from the Community Transportation Grant Match and put into a Capital Project for West Lake Access repairs.

Amendment 4 passes, Mayfield sponsored, a tie, it passes. Mayor votes yes.  

  • Gives $50,000 from Community Transportation Grant Match to support Neighborhood Watch programs and Civil Patrols for willing non-profit, or Community Council; items included for funding include signage, space rental, training, gas for patrols; funds from revenue sharing

Amendment 5 passes, Leonard sponsored 

  • $150,000 for contract with law enforcement agency to serve code violations on violators of MSB code or funds a code compliance officer, up to the discretion of the Manager

Amendment 6 passesKowalke sponsored

  • To fund $900,000 to the Willow Library construction project by removing $900K from community transportation grant match. This adds to the $1 million already in the proposed budget for a total of $1.9 million toward the project.

Amendment 7 passes, Beck sponsored, no objection

  • Enforcement side of code compliance; to provide full-time assistant attorney to increase litigation related to code violations and handle overall workload increases, funded with $150,000 from the Community Transportation Grant Match

Amendment 8 passes,McKee sponsored

         • Assembly Travel Tickets reduced by $3,500, leaving $7,750.  

Amendment 9 passes, McKee sponsored

  • Assembly expense reimbursement outside the Borough by removing $3,500 and leaving $9,250.

Amendment 10 fails, McKee sponsored

  • To Strike lobbyist, $80,000, and leaving $120,000 in other professional charges for Administration, Areawide. Sykes submits secondary amendment for striking $40,000, fails.

Amendment 11 fails, McKee sponsored

  • Striking $67,500 from Areawide Fund, Planning, Planning Studies, leaving a balance of $100,000.  

Amendment 12 passes as amendedMcKee sponsored.

  • Strike $12,000 from Public Works Administration legal fund. Sykes adds secondary amendment to move it to legal litigation budget. Passes. Deputy Mayor Beck reconsiders this amendment. The vote takes place again and still passes.

Amendment 13 fails, McKee sponsored. 

  • To strike $20,000, leaving a balance of $90,000 in the Areawide Fund, Information Technology, GIS, Other contractual.

Amendment 14 fails, McKee sponsored. 

  • To strike $5,000 from Assembly Legal, leaving $0 balance.

Amendment 15 sponsored by Beck fortheMayor, passes

  • Reduces wages for the mayor by $10,650 and benefits by $3,800.

14,450 will go to the Willow Library replacement project.

Amendment 16 fails, Mayfield and Leonard sponsors

  • Balance after tonight’s amendments for Community Transportation Grant Match is $1,170,000. This amendment would bring it to zero. A secondary amendment to leave the amount remaining at $585,000 in the fund passes. Final vote fails

Amendment 17 fails, Sykes sponsored

  • To strike $58,600 from MSCVB grant money in the Areawide Fund to leave a balance of $715,000.

Amendment 18, passes, Mayfield sponsored. 

  • School district may carry over 100 percent of their unassigned fund balance for 2019 only, not exceeding the amount allowed. This allows the District to keep $250,000.


11 new positions. One eliminated position.

Only 3 positions added that weren’t funded by reduced expenditures.  For example, the accounting position for Finance is in exchange for two temporary, on-call positions.

1—IT—Information Technology Project Manager

2—Planning— a Planning Technician and Right of Way Inspector


1—Finance—Accounting Assistant II

3—Solid Waste—2 Solid Waste Utility Workers and an Administrative Assistant

The Port Direction position was eliminated from this budget.

Two more positions were added during deliberation, one of them could be either a contract or a position.

1‑Amendment 5 added either a code compliance officer or a contract with law enforcement to serve code violations

1‑Amendment 7 added an assistant attorney to specifically work on code violation cases

Assembly Members had until 5 pm today, May 4, to reconsider a vote. The Mayor has until 6 pm May 15 to issue a veto. The final adopted budget will be posted by June 30.

Borough Attorney Nicholas Spiropoulos, Borough Manager John Moosey, Borough Clerk Lonnie McKecknie, Assistant Clerk Brenda Henry, and Finance Director Cheyenne Heindel were also seated at the dais with Assembly.

For more information contact Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at (907) 861-8577 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Assembly & Staff Closing Remarks after Deliberation