Local News

Borough FY2015 budget: No new taxes

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough has introduced its proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, with no increase in tax rates, but a projected rise in revenue, nonetheless.

Overall, the borough expects about $575,000 more revenue for its general fund in FY2015. That will mostly come from property and sales tax collection, and anticipated increases in fees charged for services.

While the property tax rate will remain at 5 mills, the borough expects to collect about $183,000 more from that revenue source. The increase comes from new construction and changes in assessed value, according to the budget overview. Sales tax, while also not changing, is expected to increase by 2.2 percent, bringing $176,000 more.

If the federal government chooses to fully fund the Secure Rural Schools and Payment in Lieu of Taxes programs in FY2015, then the borough will have even more of an increase in projected revenue. But, the borough isn’t counting on it.

The budget overview states that while revenue is going up, expenses are going down. One of the reductions is in school district funding. The borough has budgeted about $7.89 million for local schools. That’s about $161,000 less than FY2014.

The borough also expects to spend less on capital projects and administration.

Not yet in the budget is a proposed $1.1 million school district reserve fund that would come from the FY2014 Secure Rural Schools payment. The Assembly will consider an ordinance creating the fund at its next meeting. The fund could be used for unforeseen expenses, to cushion potential cutbacks in the future, or major maintenance.

The proposed borough budget also calls for about $2.8 million for community grants through the economic development fund. $2.5 million of that is a carryover grant to the City of Ketchikan to help pay for construction of the Whitman Lake Hydroelectric Dam.

Also in the budget is a $1.15 million expense in the commercial passenger vessel fund for a pedestrian bridge at Herring Cove. That would cover roughly half of the estimated cost of the proposed bridge.

The borough’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. The next Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting is Monday.

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