Mat-Su Borough Assembly approves budget

The Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly wrapped up it’s budget process Thursday night.

The Borough Assembly set the mill rate for FY 2017 at it’s special meeting Thursday, essentially finalizing the budget process.

Deputy Borough mayor Matthew Beck read the motion:

“I move to set the mill rate at 9.984 areawide and at 0.525 non-areawide.”

With the mill rate set, the Borough Assembly next approved, as amended, an approximately $400 million budget for the coming year. The budget includes a 6% increase in school district funding over last year, and a $100,000 grant for the city of Wasilla to help pay for additional drug enforcement officers. A proposed budget amendment, sponsored by Assemblyman George McKee, aimed at cutting $2 million dollars from Central Mat-Su Fire area emergency services, failed.

The spending plan was also amended by a last-minute bid to increase the mil rate on West Lakes and Central Fire Service areas only to pay for increased fire protection and emergency response due to the rapid population growth in those districts.

Mat Su Borough mayor Vern Halter says he ‘s pleased with the work the Assembly did:

“I’m real pleased with the budget and the budget process. It went real smoothly. I did support the mil rate increases for West Lake and Central, you know, I think it’s around 50% of the population lives in the Central Fire District, and 48 % of assessed values. So when you talk about a mil rate increase, 50% of your people, you know, that’s where it is. But I’m sure it will be utilized correctly, because of the professionalism of both those fire districts.”

The mayor has until the next Borough Assembly regular meeting to veto any line item in the document.