City's shortfall is $15 million, not $12 million

$3 million bump in city employee salaries was approved last year

The $12 million budget shortfall Juneau faces in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 has been talked about at city meetings since the budget cycle began a couple months ago. That figure doesn’t include a $3 million increase in city salaries and benefits, city manager Kim Kiefer said.

In addition to covering the $12 million gap, the City and Borough of Juneau and its assembly also have to find the money to account for salary increases approved by the assembly last year. That brings the total shortfall to a little more than $15 million — $6 million in 2015 and about $9.3 million in 2016.

“It’s always been $15 (million), but we had already accounted for $3 million when we talked about the budget last year,” Kiefer said.

At last night’s assembly finance committee meeting, city assembly and staff were mentioning a $12 million deficit and $13 million deficit. To cut down on confusion, Kiefer said, she has been telling city staff, “‘Let’s just talk to $15 (million).’”

Kiefer’s proposal to balance the $15 million shortfall can be found on page 9 of this online document: www.juneau.org/clerk/ASC/FC/2014/documents/2014-04-02_AFC_Packet.pdf

The assembly has approved all but four of Kiefer’s suggestions for cutbacks to city departments. The Assembly is waiting to make a decision on cuts to Capital Transit and the closure of the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool, among other items. At Wednesday’s meeting, the assembly approved a funding floor of $24 million for the Juneau School District in FY 2015.

The assembly will hear public testimony on the city budget at 7 p.m. Monday in the City Hall Assembly Chambers.

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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