July 26, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 30

New City budget adopted

The City of Petersburg adopted the 2012-13 City budget with very few changes from last year.

“The biggest change is the general fund subsidizing some of the assisted living facility expenses,” City of Petersburg Finance Director Jody Tow said. “In addition to charging a mill rate for the facility’s annual debt service, the City will be transferring $100,000 from the general fund to assisted living. These funds are to support the facility’s day to day operations. The facility is now at full occupancy which means the City is receiving more revenues than in past years. We are hopeful this will help to decrease the subsidy needed in the future. The community and the council have decided this is a facility they want to support.” The property tax mill rate that is collected for payment of the facility’s debt service will cover $198,000 of the budget.

“With the exception of a few new capital projects,” Tow said. “This is a pretty standard budget.”

Capital projects in the budget this year include the North Harbor replacement, the Library construction, Mountain View Manor roof replacement, the Water Plant upgrade, E911 system, Sandy Beach Park improvements, and several campground and recreational facilities outside of the city limits. In addition, the City is hopeful that the permits for the Commercial Drive-Down Dock will get approved. The legislature awarded the city another $5.6 million to add to the FY 2010 State grant of $3,390,000 for this project

“The main problem we have with the North Harbor project is that our estimates are coming in $2.2 million over our initial budget,” Petersburg Harbormaster Glorianne Wollen said. “The Corp of Engineers and permits are slowing down the Commercial Drive-Down Dock project.”

The general fund shows revenues just over $9.1 million and expenditures of $9.01 million, leaving a surplus projected budget of $113,085.

The general fund is used to support departments that do not generate enough revenue to support themselves, including administration, information services, finance, police, jail, fire, public works, community development, facility maintenance, community, library and parks and recreation. This is also the fund that provides additional funding to several community groups in town including Petersburg Mental Health, the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, Mtn. View Food Services (meals-on-wheels), the Clausen Museum, and KFSK. It also provides $1.8M a year in funding to the Petersburg School District.

Petersburg Municipal Power and Light, Water and Wastewater departments, Sanitation department, Harbor department, Elderly Housing and Assisted Living funds are all enterprise funds which are expected to cover their own costs

With the formation of the Petersburg Borough, the community will receive additional funding. This will include increased community revenue sharing of $300,000 per year, property tax revenue of $184,000, and an estimated $140,000 in increased sales tax. Also with the borough the community will receive $600,000 from the State of Alaska for costs associated with the formation process. These increased revenues will be a great help in offsetting the potential loss of the Federal Secure Rural Schools funding which is 1/3 of the current city funding level for our local schools. Without the additional revenues from the proposed Borough, the Petersburg community could be looking at reductions in funding for the schools, local community agencies, and general fund departments such as the Library, Police, Parks & Recreation and others.

“We did not put any potential changes due to borough formation into this budget,” Tow said. “Those proposed changes will come to the Borough Assembly after the vote and formation.” This will allow the Borough Assembly to decide on how future funding will be allocated.

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