By DAN FOX
Skagway’s municipal budget for Fiscal Year 2019 was approved by the Borough Assembly on June 21; it included money for a number of heavily-debated community funding requests, as well as capital improvement projects like the Molly Walsh Restroom expansion, incinerator control upgrades and a new garbage truck.
The mill rate for Service Area I was set at 7.00 mills, and Service Area II was set at 5.78 mills – making the rate in both areas the same as 2018’s budget.
Not included in the 2019 budget are funds for Recreation Center expansion engineering, which had been set to the tune of $1,412,928 in the capital improvement projects list.
At an assembly of the whole meeting on June 14, members of the Rec Board made their case to leave the money in for the engineering, which would have included planning for a pool.
“It is in my opinion a crucial element to our town’s success, not only for the safety of our children – we live next to an ocean, being able to swim is not just something that’s good to have but a life-saving skill in this area,” Rec Board Member Jason Verhaeghe said.
The almost $1.5 million line item for the Recreation Center had made it through several discussions and two readings of the budget, but was removed before the FY 2019 budget was finally approved on June 21.
Added into the budget for third reading was an almost $1.3 million loan from the state for the Redwood Water Tank. However, Assembly Member Steve Burnham Jr. said that the state had said it would forgive approximately $800,000 of that cost, if the project is completed within the next year.
In total, the complete capital improvement project expenses come in at $6,024,347.
Highlights under the community funding requests included $87,400 allocated to the Skagway Development Corporation. The Chamber of Commerce received $30,000, KHNS was granted $20,000 and $10,000 was allocated to the Princess Sophia Ad Hoc Committee, which is looking to put a bronze plaque and storyboard in Centennial Park to commemorate the historic Sophia shipwreck.
Numbers given in the operating budget are the projected costs and revenues, not actual.
In the General Fund for the FY 2019 budget, total revenues are listed at an estimated $3,119,966, with expenditures set at $7,235,912, for an excess over revenue of $4,115,946. Almost $1.6 million was transferred in from sales tax and $2,574,323 was transferred from Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) Excise Tax to cover the excess.
The General Fund covers a long list of municipal departments, including the Police Department, Recreation Center and Public Works.
In the Tourism Fund for the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, revenues are estimated at $211,300 for 2019, with expenditures of $533,949, for a difference of $322,649. That amount was transferred from sales tax to cover the disparity.
Debt Services had expenditures of $1,837,831, with transfers from sales tax, CPV tax and the Permanent Trust Fund to cover the expenses.
The Permanent Trust Fund has an excess of $132,112, with revenues projected to come in at $180,912 and expenditures of $48,800.
The Health Clinic Fund for the Dahl Memorial Clinic has revenues listed at $1,174,585, and grant revenues from a HRSA grant in the amount of $1,328,685 for a total revenue figure of $2,503,270.
Expenditures are estimated to be $3,191,999, for excess expenditures of $688,729 – a transfer from sales tax is covering all but $20,000 of the excess. Any excess in expenditures are covered by the fund balance (reserves).
In the Solid Waste Fund, expenditures of $609,463 are in excess of revenues ($431,000) by the amount of $178,463. A transfer from CPV tax covered the disparity.
Water & Sewer revenues are at $485,090, with expenditures almost double that at $857,603.
The Port Commission Fund has a whopping $200 in revenue left over; it receives $127,200 from the White Pass Lease as its sole revenue, and has expenditures of $127,000. However, $3,113 in allocated expenses leaves that fund with an excess of expenditures of $2,913.
The Small Boat Harbor Fund has revenues of $338,573, and expenditures of $326,477. An additional $8,287 was taken out as allocated expenses, for a total surplus of $3,809 in that fund.
Sales tax revenue for 2019 is estimated at $8,276,380. Expenditures of $2,148,729 (notably including $1,555,219 for school funding and $522,110 for school activities), leaving a surplus of $6,127,651.
$7,169,515 has been allocated to transfer out of the Sales Tax Fund, leaving a deficit of $1,041,864.
CPV Tax revenues sit at $4,960,000, with expenditures of $73,600 for an investment advisor. A total of $3,537,667 of the CPV tax is slotted for transfers to different funds/capital improvement projects, leaving $1,348,733 left in the fund.