Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan presented a grim picture to the city Assembly this week. Sullivan says the estimated 2011 costs of current services in the city are $448 million. That figure presents a gap of somewhere between $18 million and $18.5 million in city revenues and city expenses next year. And those numbers are dependent on a possible hike in city property taxes.
City budget preparations are underway now, although the proposed budget will not be presented to the Assembly until October 1.
Sullivan says his administration is in the middle of a two year plan to return the city to fiscal stability. The 2011 budget will require some difficult choices regarding which services to provide at what level. Sullivan says he’s not opposed to a city sales tax as a means of increasing revenues.
Sullivan says factors complicating the 2011 budget are pay raises mandated by city labor contracts and increases to the cost of employee health insurance. The mayor says he’s hearing from Anchorage residents about financial problems caused by the economic slowdown of the past couple of years. Community members recently were asked to weigh in on potential revenue shortfalls and tax scenarios during the city’s community budget dialogues. A final report detailing results of those sessions is expected this month.
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