Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan presented his version of the municipal budget at a city Assembly work session Friday. Sullivan said the proposed 2011 General Government Operating Budget could be the foundation of a six-year economic recovery plan for the city.
Sullivan said the flat economy is reflected in the budget, which shows a modest increase in taxes but shows significant decreases in several areas of city spending.
He forecast necessary reductions in city spending in years to come, saying cuts will be felt by all city departments.
110 city positions are to be cut, although 56 of them are already vacant, Sullivan said. Other jobs may be moved, so that grants will pay for them.
The proposed 2011 budget reflects a 1.6 percent increase in property taxes, which is expected to bring the city $3.8 million in additional revenues.
Sullivan said taxing to the cap will not be accepted by the public. A series of public dialogues hosted by the city indicated the residents want the municipality to provide services more efficiently
The mayor said the main drivers of increased expenditures are salary and benefit cost increases for city employees, new debts posed by police and fire retirement contributions and bond debts, which taken together reflect a $13.8 million spending increase.
The total proposed budget comes to $435.2 million. Anchorage Assembly chair Dick Traini said, on the whole, the work session was productive.
The Assembly will be discussing the proposed budget for weeks to come. Traini says it will be mid November before a final version is approved.
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