Assembly adopts 2011 budget

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Assembly adopted Juneau's 2011 fiscal year budget at its meeting Wednesday night.

Including all city operations and enterprise funds, like the hospital and the airport, as well as the city's contribution to the school district, Juneau's total budget is $324,705,600.

"This was a tough process we went through, and we made some tough decisions," Assembly member and Finance Committee Chair David Stone said.

While he supports the budget and said City Manager Rod Swope had taken extreme steps to reduce costs, Stone also said he fears that in tapping the rainy day fund the city is on an unsustainable path.

"I worry about what we pass on to future Assemblies," he said.

Assembly member Merrill Sanford and Deputy Mayor Randy Wanamaker voted against the budget. All others voted for it.

"Maybe I'm not so optimistic, but I foresee us getting into real trouble with our budget in the next five years, and I think we should be sticking closer to the guns of saving a little bit instead of increasing the cost of doing business in our city," Sanford said.

Beginning in February 2009, when the budget deficit over a 2-year period was projected at $11.4 million, the city began making cuts by eliminating open positions, restricting overtime, and making cuts to hours and operations of some city services.

The city will spend $2.1 million from the "rainy day" fund to help balance the budget over the next two years. By the end of the 2012 fiscal year, it projects $7.1 million remaining in that fund.

The Assembly also plans to spend $2 million from the tobacco excise tax to balance the budget.

Assembly members also approved full funding of the school district's requested $26 million. The school district's total operating budget is about $90 million.

Also approved were the 2011 capital improvement priorities, such as $1.5 million for downtown cruise ship dock replacement and repairs, renovations and construction at Bartlett Regional Hospital and at the airport, and maintenance and improvements for some trails and streets.

The Assembly approved the budget about a month ahead of its June 15 deadline. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

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