FAIRBANKS — The operating and capital budgets for the city of Fairbanks will be brought before the City Council for second reading and public hearing at Monday’s meeting.
General fund estimates predict $36.4 million in revenue will cover $35.6 million in expenditures.
The council made amendments that increased expenditures of Mayor John Eberhart’s recommended budget by roughly $700,000. That cut the budget surplus in half, to about $700,000.
The mill levy remains capped at 4.9 mills, though claims and judgments is expected to increase 0.102 mills — Fairbanks is allowed to recapture claims and judgments against the city under the tax cap. Chief Financial Officer Jim Soileau said the estimated 0.102 mill increase is a result of workers compensation premiums rising $150,000.
The rise in claims and judgments would mean a $10 increase for every $100,000 of assessed property.
Soileau said many amendment increases initiated by the council are for capital expenditures.
The fire and public works departments received the largest budget increases — both roughly $200,000.
Public works received increases to temporary wages and benefits, in part because of expected road repairs after record-setting rain last summer.
Fire department increases are mostly for equipment replacement.
Council amendments increased dispatch center funds by $135,506 — $90,000 for equipment replacement and $45,000 for temporary worker wages and benefits. Eberhart explained a pool of temporary workers exists to supplement operations.
The general account, police department and information technology all received amendment increases between $46,000 and $60,000. Capital spending again makes up most of the increases, with a large portion of the general account increase in preparation for dispatch center training and to cover potential employee turnover.
The only expenditure cut by council amendments was a $9,400 reduction to the mayor and council.
Eberhart said the council amendments were an attempt to “get on a realistic capital replacement schedule” among an expected decline in grants. “I think these are fair add backs,” Eberhart said, adding they are unrelated to union contracts.
Eberhart said if every city employee received a 2 percent wage increase it would “burn up roughly $500,000.” That is still less than the estimated $700,000 surplus.
The largest expenditure for Fairbanks — 65 percent of general funds — is personnel pay. Budget expenditures for 2015 are expected to rise 2.7 percent in 2014.
Revenue and funding from other sources for 2015 is expected to be $4.8 million more than 2014, thanks in large part to city’s capital and permanent funds. Property and sales taxes are the largest source of revenue for Fairbanks at 57 percent.
The council has until Dec. 15 to adopt a budget. If they fail to, the proposed budget, with amendments, will stand as submitted.
Contact staff writer Robin Wood at 459-7510. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcity.