We are working hard to prepare the 2011 budget, which has to be introduced to the Assembly by October 1. Each municipal department director has presented scenarios that show what their priorities would be if they had to find 7.5 percent savings in their departments, as well as what potential revenue increases might be available.
The 2011 budget, with no increase in property taxes, has a gap of nearly $25 million. Quite frankly, expenditures are increasing at a much greater rate than revenues. Even if we were to tax to the cap, which would be a 9 percent increase in property tax, the budget would still be about $8.5 million short. Tough decisions will have to be made over the next few months and we will work closely with the Assembly to put together a responsible plan. We look forward to hearing from the community, as well.
EXECUTIVE PAY REDUCTIONS
Last week I sent out a directive that takes the 5 percent pay reduction that the executive employees took fourteen months ago and changed it to a 2 percent reduction. While some try to characterize this as a raise, it is still a reduction from the amount they were making when this administration came into office. In fact, the executive employees are the only ones who are making less – every other city employee is making more than when we started.
Several pundits and a couple of union representatives criticized the smaller reduction. I will offer any bargaining group the same deal: Take a 5 percent reduction for fourteen months and I will give you 3 percent of it back for the following sixteen months. We’ll see if we get any takers.
FILL THE BOOT, PART II
Friday, September 3, I was honored to help kick off the MDA Fill the Boot campaign. After arranging for a beautiful sunny day (one of the mayor’s most important duties,) I joined Chief Mark Hall and other local dignitaries at Fire Station 1, and dropped the first dollars in the Fire Chief’s boot.
This is the first year that Fill the Boot was a true all volunteer event and it appears to have been a big success, with more than $100,000 raised in just a few hours. Despite concerns abut not having on-duty fire fighters raising money, the event showed that the spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in Anchorage. I congratulate all who gave their time to make the fundraiser such a great success.