Mayor's Statement on 2012 Anchorage Budget Approval
I am pleased to let you know that my 2012 budget was approved by the Anchorage Assembly tonight.
The budget set for next year comes in at $452.3 million, which is $10.4 million less than a continuation level budget; it also comes in below the maximum amount of property taxes allowed by the tax cap.
The total budget includes more than $500,000 in spending added by members of the Assembly at tonight's meeting. It also holds property tax increases to two percent higher than in 2011, or $7.24 more per $100,000 of assessed home value.
Citizens approved half of that increase when they voted for bonds, and for the maintenance and operations costs associated with them. The remaining half was necessary to account partially for higher labor costs, with reductions in other areas accounting for the remaining increases.
Included in the 2012 budget are costs resulting from the hiring of 29 new firefighters and safety officers, and 30 new police officers, reflecting my commitment to public safety as the top community priority.
This budget is a real achievement in that it protects public safety and other essential services like road maintenance, but reduces continuation level costs by finding efficiencies and scrubbing the numbers. Core services will continue to be delivered at a high level, and property taxes will remain under control. That's good news, especially given the growth in spending experienced in prior years.
Before I took office, the city budget had grown by approximately 53 percent in just six years, from $283 million in 2003 to $433 million in 2009. It has been my goal to slow this growth while continuing to offer excellent essential services. It has required discipline and ingenuity, and I believe we are meeting that goal.
Prior to finalizing the 2012 mill levies in April, members of the Assembly or my administration may propose changes to the approved budget based on the Municipality's year-end financial reports. You can read more about the budget process by visiting www.munibudget.org.
Thank you to everyone that testified, sent an email or made a phone call with thoughts and opinions about the budget. We always welcome your feedback.
Mayor Dan Sullivan