Borough Budget Still A Work In Progress

The Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly was handed a letter Wednesday  night from the Borough manager, outlining a dire revenue forecast for the coming four years. The bad news further dampened budget discussions.

The Mat Su Borough Assembly has failed to pass next year’s Borough budget, opting instead to postpone votes on key amendments that would add appropriations to a budget already stretched thin. The body did approve an amendment adding more than $900,000 to the areawide fund to increase wages and benefits for emergency services personnel while providing for additional full time EMS positions. But the Assembly postponed until next week a bid to increase Borough fees for services, and put on hold until the end of budget deliberations a move to carry over one hundred percent of the Mat Su School District’s 2015 fund balance to next year. The panel also amended, and approved, and then reconsidered and then postponed, a move by Assemblyman Dick Mayfield to provide money to refurbish four of the Borough’s ailing ambulance fleet.

Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss complained that the Assembly was getting too close to a mil rate not to his liking.

“We have done nothing but nickle and dime around and add plus signs,” he said in seeming exasperation.

DeVilbiss says he’ll get out the veto pen if the mil rate reaches over ten, but without the $500,000 for ambulance refits, the mil rate is just shy of that at 9 point 981, according to Borough finance director Tammy Clayton.

Borough manager John Moosey threw cold water on the Assembly with a letter outlining just how much Borough revenues will be down through FY2019. Moosey says for next years, the Borough’s state revenue share is down four percent to under 4 million dollars, and losses from Borough tax exemptions and decreases in other areawide fund revenues are more than one point 5 million dollars.

The Borough Assembly takes up budget discusssions again on May 20.