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Mat-Su Borough budget shrinking as population grows

by KTNA Staff ~ April 26th, 2017

by:  Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s budget proposal is out and it’s smaller than last year.

If approved, the budget for the fastest-growing population center in the state would shrink about $9 million to about $400 million. The plan keeps school funding about the same as last year.

The borough prides itself on having the leanest personnel to resident ratio of any municipality in the state, with one employee for every 330 residents, Borough Manager John Moosey said.

“I think what it shows is that we’re trying to provide services the most economical way possible,” Moosey said.

Moosey said cuts from cost-saving efforts have not been proposed across the board. The Borough has tried to prioritize parts of the budget like public safety and schools while putting off expenses for things like new equipment or vehicles, he said.

As the number of people living in the Mat-Su has gone up, state contributions to the Borough have dropped, Moosey said. Considering the state’s revenue is dependent on oil production and forecasts are not optimistic, Moosey said he does not expect help from the state anytime soon.

“There’s no other conclusion to draw, other than there’s less money for state operations and government and we have to make sure we’re providing services at a fair rate for our citizens,” Moosey said.

Meantime, the Mat-Su Borough budget is up for public comment.

Members of the public can testify at the Borough Assembly Chambers in Palmer at 6 p.m. Tuesday and in Willow at the community center on Thursday at 6 p.m.

After that, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly will take up the budget.

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