Time to study up on the budget

  • Thursday, May 5, 2016 5:08pm
  • Opinion

Here’s a little homework assignment before school lets out for the summer and Kenai Peninsula residents turn their attention to other pursuits: take some time to review the budget for your municipality.

Indeed, over the next month, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, as well as city councils in Kenai and Soldotna, will be considering spending plans for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Complicating those discussions this year is the fact that the Legislature remains in session to address the state’s budget shortfall, and local governments will not be certain of the impacts of changes made at the state level until lawmakers in Juneau sign off on spending and revenue plans — which could be a while.

In the mean time, borough and city administrations are preparing and presenting budgets to the assembly and to city councils. If you’re interested or concerned about the way in which local governments collect and spend money, now is the time to pay attention to the process.

Frequently, the general public takes an interest in the budget process only after cuts have been made or tax rates raised — at which point a change in the course of action may not be possible.

Proposed budgets have been posted. Read through them — and then let your elected representatives on your city council or the borough assembly know if you have questions or concerns.

The city of Kenai’s draft budget is posted on its website at http://www.ci.kenai.ak.us/sites/default/files/departments/finance/FY17_Draft_Budget.pdf.

Soldotna’s draft budget may be found at http://soldotna.org/home/showdocument?id=5585.

The borough administration’s proposed budget may be found at http://www.kpb.us/images/KPB/FIN/Finance_Documents/Budgets/FY2016-17/FY2017_Mayor_Proposed_Budget.pdf.

Budget documents aren’t exactly light summer reading, but far better to find out what’s in the spending plan now, than to be surprised by it come July 1.

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