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Little money in the Capital Budget headed to the Northern Valley

by Lorien Nettleton ~ April 5th, 2013

Alaska’s Senate Finance Committee released their 1.9-billion-dollar capital budget on Wednesday, and there’s very little in it for the Northern Susitna Valley. Most of the infrastructure money in the Matanuska Susitna borough is headed for the population centers of Palmer and Wasilla, leaving the Talkeetna and Trapper Creek areas without much to look forward to in the way of buildings or grants.

The Senate Finance Committee worked with a frugal proposed budget from Governor Parnell, and they adjusted a few items here and there, but it comes in at a 1.9 billion dollar price tag. The administration says it is hoping to trim back expenditures in the face of a pending oil-tax cut that would see less revenue headed to the state. The proposed Susitna Watana Dam was among the largest big-ticket items in the budget, slated for more than 95-million dollars. Another Alaska Energy Authority initiative, the Renewable Energy Projects was denied the 25 Million dollars allocated by the Governor’s office.

The Budget includes 3 million dollars for Healthy Alaskan Foods in Schools program, and the Food Bank of Alaska was awarded a 665-thousand dollar grant for equipment upgrades.

A grant request to help fund the Northern Susitna Institute’s goal to purchase the property on which they now sit was denied, despite a letter-writing campaign with support from the Talkeetna Community Council, Matanuska Susitna Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss, and numerous local individuals and organizations.

The Budget must still be approved in a floor vote of the senate, before heading to the House, where more tweaks and adjustments could still take place before the final budget is released.

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