By Melinda Munson

Skagway’s budget for Fiscal Year 2021 passed unanimously on Dec. 17, 2020. Beginning Jan. 1, the borough’s budget now follows the calendar year, remaining in effect until Dec. 31. In the new budget, one city employee lost their job and the municipality enacted a hiring freeze through March 31.

According to Borough Manager Brad Ryan, the code enforcement officer is no longer employed by the municipality.

“We couldn’t justify that position for the immediate future,” Ryan said. While the position is no longer funded, it still exists in case of future need.

The current hiring freeze means the borough will not advertise for a police chief to replace Ray Leggett who resigned in October 2020. Jerry (JJ) Reddick will continue as acting chief.

Exceptions to the hiring freeze may be made if department heads can show an immediate need. An example is Dahl Memorial Clinic which recently hired a medical worker to replace an employee who resigned.

“This is the most fluid budget I’ve put out,” Ryan said. With the 2020 tourist season a literal bust and the 2021 season shrouded in uncertainty, it was difficult to determine this year’s expected revenue. 

 “This is a budget laid out in the middle of the pandemic that I fully intend to revisit throughout the year,” Ryan said. 

Assemblymember and Finance Chair Steve Burnham echoed Ryan’s sentiments regarding fiscal planning in the midst of COVID-19. 

“This budget is based on an expectation that Skagway may receive 25% of our typical revenue for 2021. We intend to have a deep review of our expectations beginning in March, and we might have to modify to tighten or expand the budget at that time,” Burnham said.

Burnham said he is happy with the new budget.

“The manager and treasurer brought forward an extremely well thought-out, responsible draft budget, and we were able to review and shape it without getting caught up in ourselves,” he said.

Click below to view the municipality’s 2021 budget.