FNSB Mayor Bryce Ward presents FY 2024 borough budget proposal

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 8:51 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In the budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2024, the Comprehensive Operating Budget for the Fairbanks North Star Borough stands at just over $188 million. That represents a 1.9 percent increase from last year’s budget.

According to Bryce Ward, Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor, “This is pretty significant considering the fact that we’re looking at about 8.1 percent inflation for the urban area, so we did our best to keep that down. We’re under inflation for this last year, which is a pretty significant challenge.”

On Tuesday, Ward presented this and other figures in a livestream event for the community called the State of the Borough address.

While raising the total budget, the mayor proposes to lower the mill rate for property taxes by .599 mills, bringing the rate down to 11.691 mills. “But our overall revenue is expected to remain relatively stable based on the drop in the mill rate and then the increases that we’ve seen across the board in values,” Ward explained.

This means for every thousand dollars of assessed value, a property owner would pay around 11 and a half dollars in annual taxes. According to the mayor, “We’re 16.5 million dollars under the tax revenue cap. This is one of the largest numbers I’ve seen since I’ve been here of how far we’re under the tax cap and includes no changes in services over prior year. There’s no additional FTE’s [Full-Time Employees] included in this budget.”

The school district would see nearly $3.5 million more in funding from the borough, a 10 percent increase from last year. “This is how much the local required contribution increased this past year. It grew by about 10 percent, which is pretty significant. This is how much we have to contribute to education funding as a part of state law, he said.

However, this amount falls short of what the district requests in their budget.

The price to utilize Emergency Medical Services (EMS) would also rise under this budget proposal, Ward said. “The FY 24 budget does include an increase of $200 for EMS transport fees to bring the total amount to $1,300 per transport.”

Meanwhile, the borough expects to add around 350 new residents over the next few years, as Eielson Air Force Base continues to bring in personnel for the KC-135 mission.

These incoming workers and their families need housing, and the borough is currently offering a tax incentive for the construction of new units that could be used to house them.

That program expires at the end of 2023.

The full State of the Borough address can be found here.

This budget is not final, and in the coming weeks the Borough Assembly will hold work sessions to fine tune and amend the document.