The Juneau Assembly has balanced next year’s budget through cuts and a slight property tax increase – though the total mill rate stays the same.
Meeting as the Finance Committee Wednesday night, the Assembly approved requests from social services to youth activities then instructed the city manager to reduce some line items to avoid a mill rate increase.
Hours at the city-owned swimming pools and Mount Jumbo Gym will be reduced – at times when use is already low. The City Public Works Department will consolidate some positions, Parks and Recreation will reduce the number of portable toilets and garbage cans in remote parks; City Manager Kim Kiefer selected from a list of suggested reductions made by department heads, finding more than 265-thousand dollars in savings.
Assembly member Karen Crane chairs the Finance Committee. She said the Assembly tried to take cuts in areas with the least impact on the public.
Crane said the total mill rate will remain at 10.66 mills.
“There is a small increase in debt service, which we must fund, and that will be point .11. That is the only increase in mill rate for next year. The Assembly brought the mill rate back down for the operational budget back down to the FY 13 level,” Crane said.
The impact of the .11 increase on property tax depends on property assessments.
“If your assessed valuation went up your property tax goes up. If your assessed valuation went down than your property tax will go down,” Crane said.
The final budget document will come before the Assembly at its regular meeting on June 3rd. The new fiscal year begins July 1st.
- "I just think that the manager’s job is the juggler of so many different things. I think it’s just going to be fun. I don’t think it’s going to be easy," Rorie Watt said.
- "Juneau to Minneapolis for $361. New York for $365, which is insane. The fares dropped by $100 to $200 overnight. And adjusted for inflation, really, Juneau has never ever seen these exceptional rates," said travel analyst Scott McMurren.
- The facts of what happened aren't clear yet. The body is on its way to Anchorage for autopsy, and state investigators were Barrow-bound.
- Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner, an Anchorage Democrat, said her caucus members were disappointed.