When Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed 2015 capital budget was released last week the Kenai Peninsula Borough leadership was not surprised to see that there was no money for them, yet.
The budget, released on Dec. 12 as part of the total $12.4 billion budget package, included more than $426 million for things ranging from $10 million for a king salmon study to $55 million for Knik Arm Bridge Toll Authority Project Development to $3.9 million for document management.
Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said he and chief of staff Paul Ostrander meet with Parnell a couple of times before the budget was released to ask that several important items be included in the proposed budget, but didn’t expect much to come of it.
The recent revenue forecast for the state expects a decline in revenue. Navarre said that those revenue dips combine to make the Parnell administration’s perspective difficult to understand.
The borough’s direct requests to Parnell were made as early as August and included $5 million for general road money; $700,000 for Elodea eradication on three lakes and $550,000 to replace the Tall Tree Bridge.
“None of those were included in the (proposed) capital budget,” Navarre said.
Keeping things in context, Navarre said that other boroughs and municipalities really didn’t get much in the proposed capital budget either.
“He (mostly) treated everyone in the state equally — very few community projects were included in his capital budget. It was disappointing, but not unexpected,” Navarre said.
Next month begins the process to actually run down dollars from the state budget when all the legislators in Juneau get copies of the borough’s State Funding Priorities. The 114-page document is in draft form and is expected to be approved by the Assembly during their Jan. 7 meeting.
What the governor includes or doesn’t include in his budget is not the whole of the process. Navarre and the assembly will make trips to Juneau on several occasions to sell their final requests to the State Legislature in hopes of getting funding for projects.
The borough’s capital budget request from the state is a “broad process” that includes the communities within as well, Navarre said.
Topping the borough’s capital projects list is Elodea eradication in Daniels, Beck and Stormy lakes, $1.75 million for an equipment maintenance building at the Central Peninsula Landfill and $1.3 million for heating, ventilation and air conditioning at the Borough office building.
Also included in their proposed request is $3.2 million to replace emergency generators in Seldovia; $1 million for wildfire mitigation and the Tall Tree Bridge replacement.
The draft is a wish list and most of the things on it didn’t get funded, Navarre said. The Legislature will add to the capital budget and Parnell has indicated there is room to do so, he said.
Reach Greg Skinner at firstname.lastname@example.org.