Assembly members Kenn Carpenter and Brent Hibbert discuss Ordinance 2019-03 at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Meeting in Soldotna on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Assembly members Kenn Carpenter and Brent Hibbert discuss Ordinance 2019-03 at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Meeting in Soldotna on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough to take public comment on FY 2020 budget

State fiscal uncertainty played a role in the borough’s proposed budget.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will be taking public comment on next year’s budget at Tuesday’s meeting.

The $84,293,373 in appropriations will fund the borough’s annual budget from July 1, 2019 until June 30, 2020.

The proposed budget maintains that basic services remain funded at current levels. The proposed budget outlines the borough’s goals, which are to fund education at the highest level “borough residents can reasonably afford and sustain.” Continued support for borough service areas is also maintained in the proposed budget.

State fiscal uncertainty played a role in the borough’s proposed budget. The borough’s “proposed budget reflects Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed elimination of the FY2020 State Aid for School Construction, which reimburses the Borough 70% of the debt service on voter-approved school bonds,” the budget reads. The proposed budget says this reduction is $2,654,392. The borough proposed budget also includes potential reductions from fish tax receipts, in the amount of $750,000 from the State of Alaska. The program could face elimination, according to Dunleavy’s proposed state budget.

The largest component of the budget is the contribution to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. The borough is required to fund the district at a minimum of $27,492,488, and a maximum amount of $52,537,091. The borough has proposed an appropriation of $51,512,091, or 98% of the maximum allowed by statute.

The FY 2020 proposed capital budget includes a $1 million increase, totaling $2.25 million, for major maintenance projects for school district buildings. Roughly 30% of the borough’s schools are over 50 years old, and half of the schools are 30 years or older.

Sale tax revenues are projected to increase by $1.1 million due to an “increase in local retail sales,” according to the budget documents. The proposed budget documents said sales tax revenue is expected to increase 5.5% from the prior year’s budget.

The borough’s proposed budget also notes the Alaska LNG project “does not appear to be feasible in the next five years,” the budget document reads. The project has an estimated price tag of $45 billion, with an estimated $25 billion of the project located within the borough.

General property tax rates are proposed to remain at their current levels.

To see the budget documents, visit the borough’s website www.KPB.us.

There will be public testimony on the budget at Tuesday’s meeting and at the June 4 meeting.

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