May 12 2008
Borough Budget Gets First Look
Monday, 12 May 2008

 

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           At Thursday’s work session, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly got its first look at the administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in July. For the first time ever, the borough will be funding the school district to the maximum allowed by law.

            Costs keep going up for the Kodiak Island Borough, but there shouldn’t be a mil rate increase this year.

            The borough’s general fund budget totals about 15-point-4 million dollars, out of a total budget of 31-point-1 million dollars. School funding, debt service and solid waste collection are the largest expenditures.

            Finance Director Karl Short said that even though the budget is growing, he’s managed to hold the line on property taxes:

--            (Budget 1                    23 sec                          “… another almost 900-thousand dollars.”

            He said the borough would, however, be dipping into its savings account to balance its spending this year:

--            (Budget 2                    32 sec                          “… down a lot next year. They won’t stay.”)

            About 11-million dollars of the general fund budget is dedicated to the Kodiak Island Borough School District. Those costs have nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

            Several school board members, along with senior staff were at Thursday’s meeting and made their case for the borough to fund the district to the cap, or the maximum allowed by law.

            Heating fuel and electricity costs were driving the request for the borough to fund the district to the cap, according to Norm Wooten.

--            (Budget 3                    48 sec                          “… there is no advantage for us to exceed the cap.”)

            The assembly members who spoke on the district’s request all were in favor of funding to the cap. It will be the first time in anyone’s memory that the borough has done so, says Short, who has worked in the finance department for 25 years.

            More than 1-million-dollars was trimmed from the school district’s budget before it was brought to the assembly, and those cuts include some staff. Gone next year will be a central office administrator, a curriculum coordinator, a Kodiak Middle School teacher and one rural schoolteacher. That’s on top of the savings of closing the Danger Bay and Chiniak schools. Superintendent Larry LeDoux has also ordered an across-the-board reduction of 15-percent in equipment and supplies.

            The assembly will take a closer look at the budget at this Thursday’s regular meeting.

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