By the end of this week, Juneau City Manager Kim Kiefer hopes to finish work on a proposed budget for next fiscal year.
The Juneau Assembly Finance Committee starts holding weekly meetings April 3rd to review the fiscal year 2014 budget, which takes effect July 1st.
Kiefer says the city faces a $2.8 million shortfall this year. That’s smaller than recent years, and is largely the result of revenue losses in two areas.
“One is our interest income. We were thinking the market would turn around faster than it did, so our interest income is less by about $900,000,” Kiefer said. “The other reason is we have about $1.8 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes, which is federal funds that we anticipated getting this year, and now we’re finding out that no, they didn’t authorize it for another year.”
The city and borough has a biennial budget, so the Assembly approved the framework for next year’s spending plan last year. The FY 14 budget must be officially adopted by June 15th.
As in previous deficit years, Kiefer says the budget gap will be closed by reducing spending, holding open vacant positions, and rolling over money from the current year’s budget.
“We actually had departments that came back with less of a request for next year’s budget than they had a year and a half ago when they put the budget together,” Kiefer said. “So, all those little pieces – we’re re-running numbers again to look at our estimates for sales tax, look at our estimates for property tax – all of that will come together hopefully by Friday.”
Kiefer does not expect any significant changes to the Assembly’s budget meeting schedule. The Finance Committee will hear presentations from every department, as well as social service agencies, and city-owned enterprises like Bartlett Regional Hospital and Juneau International Airport.
Kiefer is coming up on her one year anniversary as City Manager. She previously served as Acting Manager and Deputy Manager, before taking over for Rod Swope, who retired last year.