Matanuska-Susitna Borough Manager John Moosey told the Borough Assembly and Mayor this week that the State’s deficit is shifting State duties onto “us.” Less State revenue, more Mat-Su residents, and increased responsibilities passed down from the State will be factors that squeeze the Borough budget, he said during a 2018 budget overview.
Last summer Alaska Gov. Bill Walker’s veto on State reimbursement monies for school construction debt meant Manager Moosey had to scramble after the budget was passed to find $5.7 million more.
For the upcoming 2018 budget, Moosey said the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District is requesting a $4.5 million increase over last year and is $10 million short overall. If the base student allocation is reduced, the District could be short $19 million, Moosey said. Tax exemptions for seniors and disabled veterans/spouses means there is $11.3 million in less tax revenue in 2018, among other budget revenue reductions. The proposed Borough budget will be presented in about three weeks.
It’s not all fiscal shortfall, however. This week some Department Directors presented their proposed budgets to the Assembly. More than half of the departments reduced their proposed budgets this year despite increased demands from population growth. Listen to their audio on this news page.
Here is just a short list of some department opportunities and accomplishments:
New proposed positions:
Emergency Services is asking for two: a recruitment employee and a fleet maintenance/West Lakes administrator
IT is requesting three: a telecommunications technician, a project manager/business analyst, and a web developer.
Moosey told the Assembly cutting has been ongoing for the last five years even though the Mat-Su has been growing. “as we (population) were expanding, we’ve been cutting. You can see that when you see the personnel numbers, we easily could have justified more folks on the short-term basis, but our direction from the Assembly at the time was let’s provide the best value and least expensive value for our residents, and so I’m proud of that. So we don’t have a whole lot of easy things we can do because we were doing things sloppy before, we were pretty tight from the beginning.”