With state budget uncertainty looming, CBJ dives into budget season
The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and staff begin work on the Manager’s Revised Budget for fiscal year 2020 during tonight’s Special Assembly Meeting at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall Chambers, immediately followed by an Assembly Finance Committee meeting. Due to the fiscal prudence of past Assemblies, CBJ is in a strong and stable financial position, but major uncertainty surrounds direct and indirect budget reductions that could come from the State of Alaska.
“We may not know the state budget results before we adopt our budget, but during this process we should identify which financial resources would be used to address the impacts or what public services would need to be reduced or eliminated,” City Manager Rorie Watt writes in his Budget Message.
The overall proposed expenditure budget for FY20 is $356 million. That’s up $6.3 million, or 1.8 percent, from FY19. The total revenue projection is $350 million, which means a draw from savings of about $6 million.
The overall budget funds general government operations ($77 million), the Juneau School District ($87.5 million), enterprise organizations ($138 million), capital improvement projects ($36.8 million), and bond debt service ($16.7 million). General Government includes several departments, like Juneau Police Department, Capital City Fire/Rescue, Public Works, Community Development, Parks & Recreation, and Juneau Public Libraries. Enterprise organizations, which fund their operations entirely through user fees, are Bartlett Regional Hospital, Juneau International Airport, Docks & Harbors, and Water & Sewer Utilities.
The proposed property tax mill levy rate is 10.56 – that’s 0.1 mills less than FY19 – which is broken into two buckets: 9.36 mills for the operating budget and 1.2 mills for debt service. CBJ is projecting to collect $45 million in property tax revenues to help fund education and general government programs. The debt service mill rate would raise $5.9 million to pay debt service.
The CBJ budget components most directly affected by state funding are education, capital improvement projects, school debt reimbursement and revenue sharing. For example, the state was expected to fund $7 million of school bond debt service; that funding is eliminated under the Governor’s proposed budget. Another unknown are contract negotiations, which are still underway for all CBJ bargaining units and employees.
The Assembly Finance Committee is scheduled to meet every Wednesday through May 15, except for May 1. The public can comment on the budget at a public hearing during a Special Assembly Meeting on April 24 at 5:30 p.m.