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
Amendment 3 passes, Mayfield sponsored
Amendment 4 passes, Mayfield sponsored, a tie, it passes. Mayor votes yes.
Amendment 5 passes, Leonard sponsored
Amendment 6 passes, Kowalke sponsored
Amendment 7 passes, Beck sponsored, no objection
Amendment 8 passes,McKee sponsored
• Assembly Travel Tickets reduced by $3,500, leaving $7,750.
Amendment 9 passes, McKee sponsored
Amendment 10 fails, McKee sponsored
Amendment 11 fails, McKee sponsored
Amendment 12 passes as amended, McKee sponsored.
Amendment 13 fails, McKee sponsored.
Amendment 14 fails, McKee sponsored.
Amendment 15 sponsored by Beck fortheMayor, passes
14,450 will go to the Willow Library replacement project.
Amendment 16 fails, Mayfield and Leonard sponsors
Amendment 17 fails, Sykes sponsored
Amendment 18, passes, Mayfield sponsored.
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
2—DES—2 EMT IIs
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.