The budget plan calls for $35,906,466 in non-capital project expenditures, some 7 percent less than fiscal year 2014. It also had to factor in state-mandated retirement benefits increases for public employees and teachers.
On the revenue side of the ledger, city revenues were forecast at $19,726,342 in fiscal 2015, as opposed to $20,167,549 this year.
“I think the staff, department heads and the finance director and manager have done an excellent job in presenting a budget that met the council’s goals upholding the line,” said city Mayor Pat Branson.
The budget will go up for final approval in June.
Capital projects include a feasibility study for a new fire station, improvements to the skate park, a study for a new city hall in the old library building, new vehicles and equipment, and several harbor projects.
The budget had to factor in increases to the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System, which resulted in a 7 percent increase in employee benefits, to $5,658,740 in fiscal 2015.
“The PERS and TERS is the main increase and thank goodness the legislature considered Governor Parnell’s proposal at keeping that range at 22% so it didn’t go up to 39% which would have increased our budget even more,” said Branson.
Planned capital expenditures for fiscal 2015 include $3.4 million for improvements to Aleutian Homes, $3 million for the channel transient float in the harbor, $2.56 million for the Monashka pump house, $280,000 for a new street sweeper, $150,000 for downtown revitalization, $110,000 for skate park improvements, $85,357 for the city vehicle replacement fund, $40,000 for a new fire station feasibility study and $20,000 for a revised city website.
Presentations were also made by nonprofits to increase their kick-ins from the city. The Historical Society of Kodiak asked for an increase to $90,000 from its budgeted $77,500. The Humane Society sought an additional $6,000 on top of its planned $108,000, and Discover Kodiak wanted an additional $10,000.
Branson and others on the council were on the lookout for some of the smaller budget items.
“I’m very pleased in having money put into downtown revitalization, the skate park and those kind of items which are really small potatoes when you look at the overall budget that we have of over $35 million,” she said.
Another item that got some leverage at the meeting was the old library building on Mill Bay Road, which some city officials, including Branson, see as a possible city hall. Currently the city rents offices from the Kodiak Island Borough.
City manager Aimée Kniaziowski reported that the space has been generating “a lot of community interest” but the city is “desperate” for new office space, Branson said.
“We own the building so it would decrease our cost,” she added.