A budget work session is planned during Monday’s Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting, along with discussion of raising the community-wide tax cap, and asking FEMA to delay implementation of its expanded floodplain maps.
The work session will allow assembly members to talk informally about the FY2019 borough budget, which takes effect July 1st. According to a borough memo, funding areas to be covered are education, economic development and the general fund. The assembly could take action on any of the budget items following the work session.
For the education fund, staff reports that early property tax assessments show revenue will be 3.6 percent higher than last year, an increase of about $250,000 for schools. Tobacco tax receipts also are up, along with other items designated for education.
The memo states that if all those estimates pan out, the education reserve fund balance will be $3.2 million, which is above the required reserve level. That fund was established to help fund local schools in case of a sudden revenue shortfall.
The borough’s economic development fund has been used to pay for grants to nonprofit organizations. It has no revenue stream, so it’s been depleted and now has a balance of about $260,000. Grant requests for this year are about $350,000.
For the general fund, the memo states that revenue this year – FY2018 — is about $400,000 more than anticipated. Increased sales taxes and raw fish taxes contributed to that surplus. But, the upcoming FY2019 budget still shows a deficit of about $60,000.
Also Monday, the assembly will talk about a proposed increase in the single-item tax cap. That has remained at $1,000 for about 40 years. The Ketchikan City Council on Thursday agreed to move forward with raising the cap, if the borough agrees.
The FEMA flood map resolution asks that federal agency to delay implementation of new maps for a year, rather than after the standard three-month review period. The city council approved a similar resolution on Thursday. The expanded maps will increase the number of parcels considered at risk of flooding, and thus required to have flood insurance if the property has a federally backed mortgage.
Monday’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in borough assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting. Before that meeting, the assembly will convene at 5 p.m. as the Board of Equalization to consider any appeals to property tax assessments.