by Phillip Manning ~ June 6th, 2013
On May 22nd, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly approved the Borough budget for 2014. According to a Borough press release, Mayor Larry DeVilbiss describes this budget as “the most scrutinized in his career in public service.” The Assembly held three special meetings in order to debate and amend the proposed budget.
Before the special budget meetings began, two public hearings were held where Borough residents were invited to voice their opinions on the proposed budget. Some Talkeetna area residents attended one or both of these public hearings in order to advocate that the Borough Assembly increase the proposed funding for construction of a new Talkeetna Public Library. The library became the largest component of an amendment put forth by Assembly Member Jim Colver during the special budget meetings. The amendment proposed changing the amount of funding for the library to $905,000. The stated intent of this increase was to guarantee that state and grant funding would not be lost due to a lack of contribution by the Borough. The amendment was passed by a vote of four to three. The proposed plans for the new building are currently on display at the Talkeetna Public Library.
Additionally, Assembly Member Vern Halter proposed an amendment to use $75,000 from state revenue-sharing funds to decrease the debt of the Talkeetna Water and Sewer program. He stated at the meeting that metering was beginning, and that sufficient data would need to be gathered by the board before the final water and sewer rates could be determined. Halter also introduced an amendment that would supply the Borough Community Enrichment grant with $26,160. The Community Enrichment grant funds the Talkeetna Community Schools project, among others. Both of these amendments were passed by the assembly.