Mat Su Borough Assembly Sets Mill Rate, Passes Budget

The Matanuska Susitna Borough’s mill rate will stay below ten in the coming fiscal year, despite warnings from Borough administration officials that the current level of service cannot be maintained without raising taxes. On Wednesday, the Borough Assembly approved the FY 2016 budget, but Borough mayor Larry DeVilbiss says he’s sharpening his red pen.

Mat Su residents will see some added perks in next year’s budget. At Wednesday night’s special Assembly meeting, the panel approved funding to pay for a full time Solid Waste position to work with Valley Community Recycling Solutions on community cleanup, passed a motion that will allow Alaska Scholastic Clay Target Program 150 thousand dollars to purchase land for a shooting range, and agreed to pay 540 thousand dollars for chassis remounts on four ambulances. All of that within a 9 point 984 areawide mill rate, and a point 517 non area wide rate.

The Assembly also included in the budget: an amendment allowing the Mat Su School District to carry over it’s 2015 fund balance to next year.

But some Borough fees will go up, specifically usage rates at the Brett Memorial Ice Arena, and disposal fees for construction and demolition debris and landfill waste disposal at the Central Landfill.

In all, the budget was amended 21 times since Borough manager released his 400 point 7 million dollar spending package on April 30.

The final budget figure will be adjusted after all the amendments are added up, according to Borough Finance Director Tammy Clayton.

But Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss promised vetoes to come:

“There will be a veto document this year, I think, looking ahead, there’s a couple of trends that are bothersome to me. So, hopefully, it will be an educational exercise.”

According to Borough mandate, the mayor has until the next regular Assembly meeting on May 27 to strike or reduce the budget. A 2/3 Assembly vote withing 21 calendar days is needed to override a mayor’s veto.