The Mayor is required to propose a balanced budget because the Charter prohibits the city from incurring debt without voter approval. As a result, the budget identifies $452.3 million in revenue from six major sources. Of this, $245 million (55%) is from property taxes.
The 2012 approved budget is $452.3 million, a 2.1% increase above 2011. As shown in Chart 2, the largest cost is $247.5 million for salaries and benefits, which makes up 55% of spending. The second largest is $129.4 million (29%) for other services (leases, contracts, utilities, etc.).
Given the challenge, the Mayor asked each department to identify potential reductions of increased costs and reduced revenue. In the summer of 2011 he met with department directors to discuss their ideas. Some of the proposals impacted the level of service that would be delivered to citizens. As an alternative, the Mayor asked OMB to “scrub” current year spending to identify other potential savings.
When the Administration started working in July on its proposed budget for 2012, it once again face a challenge. Just as in the last two years, a continuation budget to fund the same level of service in 2012 was projected to increase $19.5 million.
Anchorage Municipal Code 6.10.040 (A) requires the Administration to provide preliminary information regarding the 2012 budget for general government, utilities, and enterprises at least 120-days prior to the end of the fiscal year.
The Mayor is required to submit the proposed operating and capital budgets to the Assembly 90 days prior to the end of the fiscal year (October 2nd). Thirty days earlier (September 2nd), the Mayor is required to provide to the Assembly preliminary operating budget information on projected revenues, preliminary Tax Cap calculation, major reorganizations, and preliminary capital budgets.