Assembly likely to adopt ’07 budget at June meeting

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2006

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly won’t take formal action on the proposed 2007 budget or set next year’s property tax mill levies until June, but recent decisions by the Alaska Legislature could refine figures in the final budget ordinance.

The assembly is expected to hold a public hearing and approve the new budget at its June 6 meeting. Property tax mill rates must be set by June 16.

Mayor John Williams has said he would ask the assembly to set the borough tax levy at 6.5 mills, where it has been for the past three years. He had earlier requested a 6.7-mill levy, but said proposed increases in state funding to local municipalities, which have yet to be signed into law by Gov. Frank Murkowski, appear sufficient to avoid a property tax increase this year.

As proposed, the budget would spend $58.8 million. Included in that figure is local funding for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District of almost $28.9 million in contributions from local tax revenues and almost $7.88 million in in-kind services.

In total, running the school district will cost almost $112.3 million, most of it — $104.4 million — covering general operations, the rest going for maintenance, utilities, insurance, custodial services and auditing.

The local contribution may change a bit, however.

The Legislature voted to increase the base student allocation to $5,380 per student from the 2006 rate of $4,919. That would boost the borough’s local contribution level by $774,227 to $37,535,364, said Craig Chapman, borough finance director.

However, that hinges on Murkowski signing the state budget. Chapman told the assembly no action was needed at this time to change the proposed borough budget ordinance, but the assembly might have to approve a supplemental appropriation in January.

Other parts of the budget ordinance detail amounts needed to cover debt service, solid waste handling and capital projects in the school district and service areas, among others.

Insurance and litigation costs will run almost $3.5 million, while another $3.23 million will go into a health insurance reserve fund. The borough proposes spending almost $677,000 to replace equipment.

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