CBJ’s budget follows the fiscal year, beginning on July 1st and ending on June 30th. The City Manager is responsible for preparing the annual budget, which is submitted to the Assembly for review and adoption.
Follow Along with the City Budget
During this multi-week budget process through April and May, we’ll post an update after each Assembly Finance Committee meeting on what happened and what’s coming up at the next meeting.
Here’s what happened at the June 5 Regular Assembly meeting:
The operating budget reduces funding for some positions that are currently unfilled, like a Juneau Police Department Community Service Officer, a Community Development planning position and a general engineering position. The budget passed unanimously, but when Assembly member Debbie White made the motion, she added a comment about wanting the Assembly to discuss adding back funding for the Community Service Officer through a supplemental budget item.
While the Assembly has done its job of adopting an operating budget and a school district budget prior to its deadlines, parts of both budgets are based on revenue from the state. The state hasn’t yet passed its budget, so there’s a possibility the Assembly will need to address any changes at a later date. This happened last year.
Here’s what happened at the May 10 Assembly Finance Committee meeting:
The Assembly Finance Committee finished its work on the fiscal year 2018 budget. The budget now goes to the Assembly for final approval at its June 5 Regular Meeting.
The committee started this process six weeks ago with a $1.9 million revenue shortfall. Prior to the committee beginning its work on Wednesday, that amount had been reduced to $1.56 million after staff updates, corrections and a final analysis of the budget.
The committee decided to fill the shortfall by taking $812,000 from General Government savings – the vast majority of that amount coming from the sales tax fund – which still leaves $10.5 million in fund balance. The rest of the shortfall is being filled with other funding sources – $17,500 from the tobacco tax fund, $240,000 from the hotel tax fund and $480,000 in property tax (while the mill rate is staying the same as last year at 10.66, it was adjusted based on less need for the Debt Service portion which allowed more money to go to the operating budget).
As far as budget cuts and increases, the committee almost broke even. The committee made $423,600 worth of cuts, but also increased the budget by $412,500.
Increases that passed on Wednesday were – $20,000 to Citizens Pro Road group – $41,000 to Juneau Police Department for administrative support to track property that passes through JPD and provide assistance in determining if the property is stolen -$30,000 for expanding the list of items included in the Senior Sales Tax exemption *** – $40,000 to Aquatics to balance its budget – $190,000 to Travel Juneau – $50,000 to Downtown Business Association – $17,500 to Juneau Economic Development Council – $20,000 to Southeast Conference for Alaska Marine Highway System reform
Cuts that passed Wednesday were – $19,100 from Treadwell Arena for public use of the facility – $19,000 from Capital City Fire/Rescue for non-emergency services – $100,000 from Community Development for a Planning Review position – $60,000 from Engineering for a General Engineering position – $10,000 from Juneau Police Department for abandoned vehicles – $104,000 from Juneau Police Department for a Community Service Officer position – $82,000 from Parks & Recreation for a Community Outreach Manager position – $30,000 from Parks & Recreation, hours will be reduced at Augustus Brown Pool
*** Staff has been tasked with bringing back a draft ordinance to expand the list of items considered “essential purchases” to be exempted from sales tax. Items include paper products like toilet paper, paper towels and tissues; personal hygiene products like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and hand sanitizer; cleaning supplies like laundry detergent, bleach and dishwashing liquid; and grocery store deli products.
The committee is still working to balance the budget either by cutting programs/positions or by finding other funding sources. Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis had asked for information on the Deputy City Manager position, the Executive Assistant II position in the Manager’s Office, closing the print shop and contracting out printing services, and closing the downtown Augustus Brown Pool. After the information (pages 23-25 of this) was presented, the committee took the pool off the possible cost reduction list, and moved the other items to the pending list.
The committee also took Mt. Jumbo Gym off the list (pages 27-28) of possible reductions, but everything else (including pages 29-31) is on the pending list.
Southeast Conference presented in the beginning of the meeting and asked for $20,000 for Alaska Marine Highway System reform. The request was moved to the pending list.
The Finance Committee passed the FY18 Capital Improvements Projects resolution as amended and moved it to the Assembly for approval.
And here’s what’s coming up on May 10:
The committee plans to discuss: changes to the senior sales tax exemption and an increment request to add more resources to public safety to address crime and addiction.
Staff will present information on the 1 percent sales tax process, which will take place over the next eight weeks to get ready for the ballot initiative in October. Every five years, Juneau citizens vote on a list of capital projects that will be funded with 1 percent of sales tax. The presentation will outline the public process from now to July 31 that determines what projects will go on the ballot. July 31 is when the ordinance proposing a ballot proposition for a public vote will need to be introduced to the Assembly.
Citizens Pro Road will give a presentation. Staff will also present on expanding Recycleworks, the city’s recycling program.
The committee is scheduled to make final budget decisions and address the pending list. Whatever doesn’t get done on Wednesday will get moved to May 17.
The Assembly approved funding the Juneau School District at the maximum amount allowed by state law – aka “funding to the cap” – at about $26 million. (The school district’s general operating budget ordinance is scheduled for adoption during a Regular Assembly meeting May 15.) The Assembly is also allocating more than $900,000 of outside the cap funding for student activities, pupil transportation, food service and community schools. The school district has requested an additional $213,000 for other transportation needs, which is still on the Finance Committee’s pending list.
After museum supporters filled Assembly Chambers during the Special Assembly meeting public hearing on the budget, the Assembly Finance Committee voted to take the Juneau-Douglas City Museum off the list of possible budget reductions for this budget cycle. Everything else on the list of possible reductions and an additional list (pages 25 and 26 of this) are still on the pending list.
The Finance Committee heard presentations from the Youth Activities Board (its budget of $332,500 is already in the Manager’s preliminary budget) and Bartlett Regional Hospital. The Finance committee approved the hospital’s board-requested budget of about $90.5 million, which doesn’t include $140,000 of additional funding support.
And here’s what’s coming up on May 3:
The Assembly Finance Committee will continue discussion on how to balance the budget. The conversation will include reductions already on the table and some new ideas.
Here’s what happened at the April 19 Assembly Finance Committee meeting:
The Finance Committee heard from Travel Juneau, Downtown Business Association and Juneau Economic Development Council. Each asked for increases to the Manager’s preliminary budget: Travel Juneau requested an additional $190,000 (on top of $1.2 million that’s in the preliminary budget); DBA requested $50,000 and the committee is considering another $25,000; and JEDC is requesting an additional $77,500 (on top of $300,000 that’s in the preliminary budget). The Finance Committee put these requests on the pending list. Already on the pending list is a Juneau School District budget increase request for $213,000 for student transportation, and an Aquatics Board request for $44,000.
In the discussion around balancing the budget, the Assembly asked staff to look into other ideas, like increasing hotel tax and possibly cutting the Public Information Officer position.
Staff reported that at the end of FY17, there will be a carryover of about $900,000. This is budgeted money that city departments didn’t end up spending. Staff also reported that funding one-time cost increases due to employee contract negotiations will be absorbed in the FY18 budget.
And here’s what’s coming up on April 26:
The Assembly will meet in a Special Assembly Meeting at 5 p.m. and hold a public hearing on the budget: CBJ’s operating budget, Juneau School District’s operating budget, capital improvement projects budget, and the property tax mill levy rate (which the City Manager is proposing to keep the same as last year at 10.66). This is the public’s opportunity to talk about budget-related issues, like possible cuts or increments.
Immediately following the Special Assembly Meeting, the body will meet in its weekly Assembly Finance Committee meeting. There will likely be more discussion about possible reductions and revenue raising ideas. Staff will provide more information on possible efficiencies/reductions that were previously identified by management (third box on this list), and other requested information.
The committee will hear from the Youth Activities Board and Bartlett Regional Hospital, and staff will give presentations on the proposed mill rate and debt service.
Here’s what happened at the April 12 Assembly Finance Committee meeting:
City staff presented a list of ideas and options for how to reduce the budget. (Remember: Staff has proposed filling a $1.9 million revenue shortfall by taking $1.4 million from savings and coming up with $500,000 in efficiencies or reductions). Some of the ideas and options stem from the Priority Driven Budget (PDB) process, which allowed community members to rank 44 CBJ services and programs into three categories — Highly Desirable, Desirable, and Less Desirable.
From the PDB process, staff identified Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Mt. Jumbo Gym, Eagle Valley Center and the Jensen-Olson Arboretum as programs for possible elimination. Keep in mind, these lists are just ideas; they are not decisions. Possible program scaling — again stemming from the PDB process — include public use at Treadwell Arena and some Parks & Recreation landscaping.
City staff also identified efficiencies as possible ways to reduce the budget. These derive from conversations with management; not the PDB process. They include some position reductions, like a Community Service Officer, a Capital Improvement Projects manager, a Community Development planning review position and a Parks & Recreation community outreach position. Some of these are currently vacant or will become vacant.
All of these possible ideas for reducing the budget total about $750,000. These ideas were a jumping off point for Assembly Finance Committee discussion.
In other Assembly Finance happenings, the committee approved the Docks & Harbors and Airport budgets, and the Marine Passenger Fee Recommendations. The committee put the Aquatics Board budget and the Capital Improvement Projects budget on the “Pending” list, which means these items will be taken up at a later date. Also, staff announced it reached an agreement with the MEBA labor union, which affects the budget.
And here’s what’s coming up at the April 19 Finance Committee meeting:
The committee will likely continue its discussions on possible ways to reduce the budget.
The body will hear a presentation from Eaglecrest on its budget, and will also hear from Juneau Economic Development Council, Travel Juneau and the Downtown Business Association.
The agenda will include an updated resolution for changes to the Capital Improvement Projects list, and information will be provided on funding one-time cost increases to the budget due to employee contract negotiations.
City staff gave a presentation and talked about what’s going on with CBJ’s tax revenue, which makes up 90 percent of the general government budget. CBJ gets revenue from five taxes – property, sales, hotel, tobacco and liquor. Sales, hotel, liquor, and tobacco have all gone down. CBJ is starting to see an economic slowdown from the effects of the state’s fiscal downsizing.
The Juneau School District also presented its budget.
And here’s what’s coming up at April 12 Finance Committee:
CBJ staff will lay out options to help balance the budget – how to make up $500,000 of the $1.9 million revenue shortfall. Options include spending reductions or one time funding options. The Priority Driven Budget process, which allowed community members to prioritize CBJ services and programs, will play a role in determining possible reductions.
The Finance Committee is scheduled to take action on the Capital Improvement Projects budget and on the City Manager’s Marine Passenger Fee Recommendations. That’s a list of recommendations for how to spend $5 million (of $12 million) that CBJ gets in marine passenger fees.
The Finance Committee will hear presentations from heads of Airport, Docks & Harbors and Aquatics Board.
We’re about to start the budget process. Here’s what you need to know:
The City Manager’s preliminary budget totals about $331 million. That includes about $87 million for the Juneau School District, roughly $91 million for Bartlett Regional Hospital, and about $29 million for capital improvement projects. The rest goes to general government departments and other enterprise organizations.
Going into this budget cycle, we need to address a $1.9 million revenue shortfall to get to a sustainable budget. A sustainable budget is when operating costs equal revenues.
City staff is proposing to take $1.4 million from savings (we’d still have about $9 million left in savings) and to come up with $500,000 in efficiencies or reductions. ThePriority Driven Budgetprocess, which allowed community members to prioritize CBJ services and programs, will factor into these decisions.
Keep in mind that there are still a lot of moving pieces, like the State of Alaska’s budget and pending requests from various agencies and organizations for more money. The budget hole could initially get bigger.
In addition to the information on this page, here are some other places where you can learn more about the CBJ budget
Budget Presentation – A set of slides from a presentation given by Finance Director, Bob Bartholomew, to the Chamber of Commerce on April 5
Assembly Finance Committee – On this page, you’ll find the AFC’s up-to-date calendar, adopted legislation, and an archive of agendas and minutes. Scroll down to see the AFC’s upcoming meeting dates, agendas, and minutes.
Adopted CBJ Budgets – Want to dive deeper into the CBJ budget? Here you can see the full-detail current and past year adopted budgets.
Priority Driven Budget (PDB) – Learn about the PDB process here, the CBJ’s community input model for the current-year budget
Provide Direct Feedback – In addition to attending AFC meetings, which are open to the public, you can ask questions and give comments directly to the CBJ Manager’s office and your Assembly members.
The budget process
City Manager Rorie Watt will present the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018 on April 5 during a Special Juneau Assembly meeting at 5:30 p.m., followed by an Assembly Finance Committee meeting in Assembly Chambers. The preliminary budget includes the CBJ operating budget, the Juneau School District general operating budget, capital improvement projects, and the property tax mill levy rate.
The CBJ operating budget includes general government and enterprise organizations. General government includes departments like Juneau Police Department, Capital City Fire/Rescue and Parks & Recreation. Enterprise organizations are Bartlett Regional Hospital, Juneau International Airport, Docks & Harbors and Water & Sewer.
From April to mid-May, the Juneau Assembly Finance Committee analyzes the City Manager’s preliminary budget and holds a series of public meetings to identify specific concerns through conversations with residents, advocates, and city agencies.
Following the preliminary budget presentation on April 5, Assembly Finance Committee meetings will be held on April 12, April 19, April 26, May 3, May 10, and May 17. Meetings start at 5:30 p.m. in Assembly Chambers (unless otherwise noted).
The public can comment on the CBJ operating budget, the Juneau School District general operating budget, capital improvement projects, and the property tax mill levy rate at a public hearing during a Special Juneau Assembly Meeting on April 26 at 5 p.m.
The Finance Committee is scheduled to make a preliminary decision on the Juneau School District budget funding during a Special Juneau Assembly Meeting on April 26 at 5:00 p.m. Then, the Juneau Assembly plans to adopt the Juneau School District general operating budget at a Special Juneau Assembly Meeting on May 17.
In accordance with CBJ Charter Section 13.6 (b), the Assembly must determine the amount to be made available from local sources for school purposes by May 31.
Remaining Budget Adoption
The Juneau Assembly is scheduled to adopt the CBJ operating budget, capital improvement projects, and the property tax mill levy rate during a Regular Assembly Meeting on June 5.