Average tax bill goes down in proposed Mat-Su Borough budget
Written by Patty Sullivan
MAT-SU— The average Matanuska-Susitna Borough tax bill would drop $70 in Borough Manager John Moosey’s proposed 2013 budget, due to a lower average assessed home value and a firm line on budget increases. The Assembly deliberates and approves the final budget in May.
On the job for a year, Moosey condensed a three-day budget overview by department directors and the manager into a six-hour event. “Concise and on point,” he called it.
Moosey’s proposed budget keeps the mill rate flat except for a slight rise for the voter-approved school bonds. The average tax bill sees a $70 hike for new school projects. Finance Director Tammy Clayton said the Borough saved taxpayers $1 million when selling bonds by maintaining its sound bond ratings (AA+, AA, and Aa2) and selling the bonds at a low rate. Also, had our bond rating not been increased in 2011, we could have paid almost $5 million more in interest over the life of the new bonds, Clayton said.
This year’s proposed mill rate is 10.381 well under the allowable revenue cap or tax cap of 11.1. Last year’s areawide mill rate was 10.051. Moosey included a three percent increase for schools. Education receives 75 percent of local tax dollars. Borough operations receive 25 percent. The Mat-Su has the fastest growing school district in the state with 2.3 percent growth this past year.
In his proposed budget, Moosey kept staffing where it is, but included $4 million for the Assembly to consider new capital projects and/or staff required for additional services and/or to offset school and road bond costs.
“We tried to make this conservative but also to give the Assembly plenty of room to do their work,” Moosey told the Assembly.
With new schools and new roads coming down the pike a demand for services will increase such as road maintenance.
Since 2000, the Borough population grew by 55 percent to 91,697 residents.
The proposed comprehensive budget for FY 2013 is $393.5 million. Included in this is $265.7 million for school operations, $30 million for debt service, $49.2 million for borough operations, $7.5 million for fire service area operations, $11.4 million for road service area operations, $13.3 million for the solid waste, port, and M/V Susitna enterprise operations, $15 million for capital projects, and $1.4 million for other service areas and E-911 operations.
Click here to see a pdf of Manager's FY 2013 proposed budget overview.
Click FY2013 proposed budget to read through the 576-page FY 2013 proposed comprehensive borough budget. You can also find it on the finance webpage of the borough website www.matsugov.us
Click to hear the audio of Moosey’s proposed Fy 2013 budget presentation to the Assembly and follow along with his slides and video of borough project highlights.
You can testify at a public hearing on the budget on May 2 and May 3 at 6 pm at the Central Mat-Su Public Safety Building at Lucille St. & Swanson Ave. in Wasilla. After the public hearing is closed the Assembly can begin deliberating. A special Assembly meeting for the budget deliberations is also on May 7 at 6 pm in the Assembly chambers in Palmer, 350 E. Dahlia Ave, in the Dorothy Swanda Jones building. Tues. May 8 and Wed. May 9, and May 14 are also scheduled at 6 pm if the Assembly deliberations require it.
Photo above: Borough Clerk Lonnie McKechnie and Borough Manager John Moosey after the manager presented his budget overview to the Assembly. (Photo by Patty Sullivan/MSB.)