The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

 
 

By LEE REVIS
Editor, Valdez Star 

Millions in city funds up for public scrutiny

Budget for 2016 up for public hearing on November 10

 

Valdez Star photo

This chart published with the briefing on the city's proposed 2016 budget says that oil-related property taxes account for 90 percent of revenue in Valdez.

The Valdez City Council has been holding budget work sessions since last week, debating the merits of the proposed 2016 budget - which includes a big break for homeowners.

The proposal includes a de facto property tax break for homeowners by increasing the valuation exemption on a primary residence to $50,000, up from the current $20,000.

"The total Proposed 2016 Budget is $89.1 million," said Robert Jean, the city's interim manager, in his statement to council regarding the proposed budget. "Of that, the base City Operating Budget is $30.5 million, up 2.8 percent from the $29.7 million 2015 Budget! Additional to this is the newly proposed Valdez Housing and Improvement Authority (VHIA), funded from the 1 percent earning on the City Permanent Fund of $2.6 million."

Jean is tasked with creating the budget that will be inherited by his successor, Dennis Ragsdale of St. Cloud, Florida.

Ragsdale will replace Jean this January.

The balance of the budget - $58.6 million - will be used to pay off bond debt and applied to the new harbor construction and capitol improvement projects.

Education in Valdez will be funded to the maximum allowable by law - $10.86 million. Valdez also funds education related expenses outside of the maximum.

Source: City of Valdez

A breakdown of the city's major spending categories.

There is also $2.6 million allotted to create a housing authority - Jean refers to it as the Valdez Housing and Improvement Authority, or VHIA. The creation of VHIA was put on a fast track after residents of Aleutian Village Trailer Court received mass eviction notices from the park's owners at the Aleut Corp.

The council began work sessions on the budget last Thursday, October 27. A final work session is scheduled for this Thursday, Nov. 5 at council chambers beginning at 6 p.m.

The first public hearing on the budget is slated for next Tuesday, Nov. 10, during the regular city council meeting. The second hearing is slated for Dec. 1, where the final document will be voted on by council for adoption.

The work sessions on the budget - which are open to the public - allow council to clarify budget questions and make changes to the proposed budget before it is adopted into law.

In his budget statement, Jean noted that ninety percent of the city's property tax revenues are generated from oil properties.

 

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