Mat-Su Borough Members Debate This Year’s Budget

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly members have started debating this year’s $379 million Borough budget.

The bulk of the budget will pay for school costs, to keep pace with the fast growing population of the Mat Su.

The Borough’s fiscal year 2012 spending plan includes $259.5 million for school district operations, $43 million for Borough operations and $19 million for capital projects.

Acting Borough Manager Elizabeth Gray authored the proposed budget, although the Borough’s new manager, John Moosey, is now on the job and will be the one to implement the version that the Assembly approves.

Borough mayor Larry DeVilbiss has asked for more than $2 million in reductions. Moosey says he’s spoken with Assembly members to come up with about $1.8 million in cuts as an alternative.  Moosey says there’s always debate about what services are essential and what services are the most highly valued by the community.

The Borough Assembly is expected to make amendments to the budget before final approval.  Further Assembly budget discussions are scheduled for Monday evening, and for May 23 and 25.

The Borough was a winner in this year’s state budget.  The state capital budget, which the state House passed Friday night, and was accepted by the Senate, includes $37.5 million in  funding for the Port MacKenzie Rail link and reinstates the Department of Corrections’ original request for $3.5 million for initiating operations at  Goose Creek Correctional Facility in 2012.

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