Operating Budget

What is the Money Spent On?

The Operating Budget

The Operating Budget pays for day-to-day city services—from the employees and equipment to mow the grass at parks and plant flowers; to police officers, their guns and cars; to employees that drive buses, clear snow, and collect property taxes.

Department funds are divided into seven accounts

Each department’s budget divides funds among seven accounts and reflects its plans for the upcoming fiscal year (January 1 to December 31): personnel (salaries and benefits); supplies; travel; other services (contracts, utilities, leases); debt service; depreciation; and capital outlay.

Fewer employees but costs still increase

Salaries and benefit costs are the major contributor to this increase over time, the cost of which has grown from $140 million in 2000 to $240 million in 2011 for a 72 percent increase.

Change in employee positions from 2009 to 2011

Full time Part time Temp Total
-195 23 10 -162

The operating budget does not include grant funds received for specific purposes, such as state funds for public health nursing and federal funding for police department training and public transportation and on behalf PERS contributions from the State of Alaska.  In 2011, Anchorage received $27,894,091 in grant funding.


An important part of the budget is to set aside funds in two reserve accounts.  The largest reserve (usually about $26 million) is to protect the Municipality’s bond rating (the higher the rating, the lower the interest rate paid when the Municipality issues debt).  This reserve assures the bond rating agencies that if there were a substantial decrease in the Municipality’s revenue, funding still would be available to pay the Debt Services to those that purchased the Bonds.

The second reserve is for operating emergencies.  It consists of between 2 to 3 percent of prior year revenue.  This reserve (usually between $6 and $9 million) is used to pay obligations that are becessary, but were unanticipated at the time the budget was approved during the remainder of the year.

Anchorage School District Budget

The Anchorage School District (ASD) budget year runs from July 1 to June 30.  Its budget is proposed by the School Superintendent and approved by the School Board. In the spring it is submitted to the Anchorage Assembly for its approval, which is limited to the amount of property taxes that will support the district’s budget and setting the overall amount the district can spend.

The Anchorage Assembly and Mayor play a limited role in the School District’s budget process, albeit an important one.  While neither the Assembly nor Mayor can direct how much the School District spends on a program, they do have the authority to establish how much in property taxes the School District receives.

Anchorage School District Total Annual Budget and number of Students



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