The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly passed a $34 million budget for FY 2015 during its regular meeting Thursday night.
Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said that revenues for the borough should be stable in 2015, but added that expenditures have increased.
“There’s increases in salary due to the classification and compensation study. There’s an additional position in the managers office, there’s a half time economic development position, or contract position.”
Also included in the budget is a larger travel budget for assembly members, which Assemblyman Aaron Griffin said is to make sure the assembly will visit the borough’s outlying villages and get more involved in what’s happening in rural communities.
“We took a look at how much contact we were having with our village communities and quite frankly we were lacking and we’ve been lacking for a long time. We are a large borough, it’s really incredible the amount of square mileage that we encompass. It takes money to get out and visit our remote communities.”
Griffin added that lobbying trips are becoming increasingly important for the borough, especially as the state tightens its own budget. He said meeting with legislators, both in Juneau and Washington D.C., helps put Kodiak on the map and increases the chance for state and federal dollars to head this way.
Also included in the budget was nonprofit funding. The assembly recently introduced a new application process for non profit funding, and a number of local organization missed out on that funding because of incomplete or late applications.
Assemblywoman Carol Austerman sits on the nonprofit funding subcommittee and said despite those organizations not being included, the borough will still be funding non profits at a larger amount this year than ever before.
“We’re trying to go for more accountability. The assembly is paying more attention to what the nonprofits are asking for and why and what their other funding sources are, what other avenues they have to raise money besides just the borough assembly. And so we’ve been working long and hard to try and improve our process about how we fund nonprofits. And in doing so, we’ve managed to increase the amount of money dramatically in the last couple of years that the borough has given nonprofits.”
The 2015 budget includes $398,992 for nonprofits, up from last years funding amount of $381,832.
Almost $11 million of the borough’s budget will go toward funding the school district. The budget also accounts for a $300,000 increase in landfill rates, meaning the garbage rates will also increase.
After much discussion, the assembly passed the budget unanimously. The next fiscal year begins on July 1.