As Assembly wrestles with $34.5 million deficit, manager introduces budget tool & recommends delaying pool renovation

The City and Borough of Juneau is looking at a revenue shortfall of $34.5 million over the next 30 months, due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this projected loss, City Manager Rorie Watt is introducing a budget tool at tonight’s Assembly Finance Committee meeting to help the Assembly balance the budget. The meeting starts at 5 p.m.

“Given our economic situation, we simply cannot continue to provide the same levels of public service at the same levels of taxation. Several somethings have to give and that includes cutting services and employment, raising taxes, spending reserves and/or being fortunate enough to get financial aid from the State as result of the Federal CARES legislation efforts,” Watt said.

The biggest part of the $34.5 million deficit stems from loss of sales tax, as well as less state funding for school bond debt reimbursement. In the proposed budget, which was introduced April 1, the City Manager recommends a property tax increase of 1 mill, for a total mill levy rate of 11.66. This would partially offset the loss from sales tax; 1 mill for one year generates about $5.5 million in revenue. For the typical homeowner, the proposed mill rate increase would result in a $300-$500 increase to annual property tax, and considerably less to an individual living in a condominium or rental apartment.

The interactive, high-level budget balancing tool is an Excel spreadsheet that allows you to “fix” the deficit by looking at changes to revenue and expenditures. Revenue changes include property tax increase, drawing from savings, as well as COVID-19 funding. Expenditure changes include reduction in CBJ operations, reduction in Assembly grants, as well as reduction in capital improvement project funding.

One of the expenditure change options is a reduction of capital improvement project funding to the Augustus Brown Pool in Downtown Juneau. A major renovation at the pool is scheduled to start in July. In a memo to the Finance Committee dated April 14, the city manager is recommending to delay the renovations, maintain the pool in good working order, re-allocate the $3.3 million of capital improvement project funding to the budget problem, and to revisit this situation in about six months.

The Assembly is scheduled to pass a budget and set the property tax mil levy by June 15.

For more information, contact City Manager Rorie Watt at 586-5240 or rorie.watt@juneau.org.

April 15th, 2020|

Amidst COVID-19 uncertainty, Assembly begins budget process

The Juneau Assembly will begin its multi-week process tomorrow, April 1, to determine the City and Borough of Juneau’s biennial budget for Fiscal Years 2021 and 2022. The City Manager will introduce the preliminary budget during a Special Assembly Meeting at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall Chambers, immediately followed by an overview presentation on the proposed budget at an Assembly Finance Committee meeting. The City and Borough of Juneau’s Facebook page will Facebook Live both meetings.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed budget may not fully take into consideration the potential impact of the virus on Juneau’s community and economy. Given the unprecedented level of uncertainty, the budget that eventually gets approved may be considered an “interim” or “draft” budget, with the intention to return to a formal budget process after the scope and scale of the spread of COVID-19 is more fully understood.

As it stands, the manager’s proposed citywide budget of $389 million is up $20.4 million from the FY20 Amended Budget and includes the following major components:

  • $87.3 million for the Juneau School District, a decrease of $1.3 million (1.5%) over the FY20 Amended Budget. This decrease reflects targeted cuts made by the School District in response to State funding levels.
  • $152.3 million for Enterprise Funds (hospital, airport, water utilities, docks, and harbors), an increase of $13.9 million (10%) over the FY20 Amended Budget. This change is due to an increase in hospital and airport expenditures.
  • $78.3 million for general government, a decrease of $2.2 million (2.7%) from the FY20 Amended Budget. This was driven by decreases of one-time funding requests recommended by the Manager and the Assembly, offset by increases in personnel services and insurance costs.
  • $50.6 million for initial capital improvement projects, an increase of $11.1 million (28.0%). Additional appropriations may be made throughout the year as funding gets committed.
  • $15.7 million for the bond debt service budget, a decrease of $1.0 million (6.1%) over the FY20 Amended Budget. This reflects a reduction in outstanding school construction debt, as multiple bonds were fully paid off during FY20.

In light of COVID-19, the budget reflects revised projections of sales tax revenues and cruise ship passenger fees due to the impact the virus will have on Juneau’s 2020 and 2021 cruise ship seasons. Additionally, the budget proposes a property tax increase of 1 mil, for a total mill levy rate of 11.66. The breakdown of the proposed mill levy is: 10.46 mills for the operating budget, an increase of 1.0 mills over FY20, and 1.2 mills for debt service, remaining flat over FY20. With this proposed change, CBJ is projecting to collect $57.6 million in property tax revenues in FY21 which would offset the depletion of unrestricted fund balance and restricted budget reserve in light of reduced revenues from sales tax and passenger fees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, contact Finance Director Jeff Rogers at 723-6907 or jeff.rogers@juneau.org.​

March 31st, 2020|

Budget Outlook

The City Manager is proposing the FY2021 and 2022 biennial budget during an Assembly Finance Committee Meeting April 1 st .

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed budget may not fully take into consideration the potential impact of the virus on Juneau’s community and economy. Given the unprecedented level of uncertainty, this budget may be considered an “interim” or “draft” budget, with the intention to return to a formal budget process after the scope and scale of the spread of COVID-19 is more fully understood.

As it stands, the manager’s proposed citywide budget of $389 million, up $20.4 million from the FY20 Amended Budget, includes the following major components:

  • $87.3 million for the Juneau School District, a decrease of $1.3 million (1.5%) over the FY20 Amended Budget. This decrease reflects targeted cuts made by the School District in response
    to State funding levels.
  • $152.3 million for Enterprise Funds (hospital, airport, water utilities, docks, and harbors), an increase of $13.9 million (10%) over the FY20 Amended Budget. This change is due to an
    increase in Hospital and JIA expenditures.
  • $78.3 million for general government, a decrease of $2.2 million (2.7%) from the FY20 Amended Budget. This was driven by decreases of one-time funding requests recommended by the
    Manager and the Assembly, offset by increases in personnel services and insurance costs.
  • $50.6 million for initial capital improvement projects, an increase of $11.1 million (28.0%). Additional appropriations may be made throughout the year as funding gets committed.
  • $15.7 million for the bond debt service budget, a decrease of $1.0 million (6.1%) over the FY20 Amended Budget. This reflects a reduction in outstanding school construction debt, as multiple
    bonds were fully paid off during FY20.

In light of COVID-19, the budget reflects revised projections of consumer tax revenues and passenger fees due to the impact the virus will have on Juneau’s 2020 and 2021 cruise ship seasons. Additionally, the budget proposes a property tax increase of 1 mil, for a total mill levy rate of 11.66. The breakdown of the proposed mill levy is: 10.46 mills for the operating budget, an increase of 1.0 mills over FY20, and 1.2 mills for debt service, remaining flat over FY20. With this proposed change, CBJ is projecting to collect $57.6 million in property tax revenues in FY21 which would offset the depletion of unrestricted fund balance and restricted budget reserve in light of reduced revenues from consumer tax and passenger fees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 27th, 2020|
  • This is a staged image of the 2019 Budget Book amidst finance props like a Magic 8 ball, fake money, fake pie slices

Assembly adopts $357 million budget

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly adopted the budget during a Regular Assembly Meeting June 3. The final approval followed several weeks of budget work by the Assembly Finance Committee.

The budget includes the operating budget (both general government and enterprise organizations), capital improvement projects, the property tax mill levy rate, and the previously adopted Juneau School District general operating budget. General government includes most CBJ departments, like Juneau Police Department, Capital City Fire/Rescue, Parks & Recreation, Engineering, Community Development and the Libraries. Enterprise organizations are Bartlett Regional Hospital, Juneau International Airport, Docks & Harbors, and Water & Sewer.

The Assembly adopted an overall citywide budget of $357 million, which is up $1.5 million from FY19. The major components of the budget are:

  • $87.2 million for the Juneau School District, remaining flat over FY19 budget The Assembly already adopted this component of the budget at its May 13 Regular Meeting.
  • $136.9 million for Enterprise Funds (hospital, airport, water utilities, and Docks & Harbors).
  • $75.4 million for general government, an increase of $0.1 million (0.1 percent) over the FY19 budget. The total is $0.6 million above projected revenues and requires the use of savings. CBJ has adequate savings; prior to this FY20 draw, the Available Fund Balance (savings) is at $16 million.
  • $37.4 million for initial capital improvement projects. Additional appropriations will be made throughout the year as funding gets committed. CBJ annually spends around $60 million on projects.
  • $16.7 million for the bond debt service budget, which is down $1.3 million due to school bonds being fully paid during FY19.

The property tax mill levy rate is 10.66 – overall, the same as last year.  The breakdown of the total mill levy are: 9.46 mills for the operating budget, an increase of 0.1 mills over FY19, and 1.2 mills for debt service, a decrease of 0.1 mills over FY19. CBJ is projecting to collect $51.5 million in property tax revenues, which is a $0.6 million (1.2 percent) increase to help fund education and general government programs. The debt service mill rate is projected to raise $5.9 million to pay debt service, which is a decrease of $0.5 million.

June 10th, 2019|

Finance Committee wraps up work on the budget

The Assembly Finance Committee finished its work for this budget season at its May 15 meeting. The budget is now in the hands of the Assembly.

The public has a final opportunity to weigh in on the budget. Ordinances on the mill rate and the CBJ operating budget, and a resolution on the Capital Improvement Program were moved out of committee and are scheduled for a public hearing at the June 3 Regular Assembly Meeting.

The proposed property tax mill levy rate is 10.66 – the same as last year – which is broken into two buckets: 9.46 (up from 9.36) mills for the operating budget and 1.2 (down from 1.3) mills for debt service.

The committee approved 14 items on its Pending List, the majority of which are not part of the Manager’s proposed budget. These items will be funded from savings:

  • Kinder Ready: $300,000
  • AEYC – HEARTS Program: $89,800
  • Manager Review of Child Care: $60,000
  • Child Care Programs – Child Care Committee: $150,000
  • Juneau Festival Committee: $8,700
  • Juneau Commission on Aging – JEDC for Administration: $8,000
  • Juneau Commission on Aging – Senior Citizens Survey: $23,809
  • SE Conference – AMHS Program Development Work: $20,000
  • Juneau Community Foundation – Mental Health/Substance Abuse Study: $45,000
  • The Glory Hall: $150,000
  • AWARE – Healing Totem: $22,567
  • The Alaska Committee: $100,000
  • CIP Airport North Terminal Funding – $300,000
  • Land for Senior Housing: $1,512,000

The committee didn’t approve a $120,000 increment request from Travel Juneau or $17,500 for the Youth Activities Board.

In other budget work, the committee approved moving the “sleep off” program from Bartlett Regional Hospital to Capital City Fire/Rescue. The intent is to improve effectiveness of the program. That change will go into effect July 1.

The committee made a small change to how Marine Passenger Fees will be spent – reallocating $5,000 for portable toilets at Homestead Park in Douglas.

June 12 is the next scheduled date for an Assembly Finance Committee meeting.

May 17th, 2019|