Editor’s note: The following provides updates on the EaglExit project, a multi-year effort which is underway to detach the Eagle River and Chugiak areas away from the Municipality of Anchorage in order to create a separate and independent borough. This includes smaller school and tax districts.
We’ve had a steady freeze-thaw spring, and steady work is also happening at EagleExit! Spring is a time of great prospects, and we’re excited to share the latest. And now, drumroll, please.
We told you we’d be sharing some numbers, and are happy to present to you a preliminary proposed budget for our new borough. Below we’ll give you background on sources for numbers, give the preliminary proposed budget, and then information on what’s next and how you can move this forward.
We started by looking at budgets for the same basic services we currently pay for as part of the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) for Fire (including the Chugiak Fire Service Area), Police, Parks & Recreation, and CBERRRSA (Roads). A good indicator of a budget might be what we currently spend as taxpayers of Assembly District 2 in the MOA. As 15% of the total population of the Anchorage Municipality, a target level for basic services could be 15% of the overall muni budget. (See the 2020 Municipality of Anchorage CAFR for more details).
We also looked to other governments in Alaska, to know what funding levels their areas require. Northern Economics did an Expenditures Analysis of communities with similarities to our own. They looked at expenditures for basic services in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the City and Borough of Juneau, the City of Fairbanks and others, to come up basic service budgeting in other areas. (See the Northern Economics Expenditure Analysis for more details).
We took those two sets of data, revised up or down based on how our local services are provided currently and what different needs may be with a new government. These are the preliminary numbers:
Current Contributions to Muni Budget by Taxpayers of Assembly District 2
— Fire & Police: $12.9 million
— Road Maintenance & Lights: $7.1 million
— Parks & Recreation: $4.1 million
— Administration: $8.7 million
Total collected property tax for all Basic Areawide Services: $32.8 million.
Property taxes collected for schools: $32.9 million
— TOTAL CURRENT SPENDING: $65.7 million
Chugach Regional Borough PRELIMINARY Proposed Budget
— Fire & Police: $9.5 million
— Road Maintenance & Lights: $7.3 million
— Parks & Recreation: $4.7 million
— Administration: $1.3 million
Total collected property tax for all Basic Areawide Services: $22.8 million
Property taxes collected for Schools: $32 million
— TOTAL PRELIMINARY BUDGET: $54.8 million
This is a simple budget. The list of other general government expenditures can be long, so our question to the community is, “What services do you want and how much do you want to pay?” We absolutely believe, through tailoring services directly to our community’s wants and needs and contracting out for services like we do so successfully now through CBERRRSA, our road board, that we will be spending less than we do currently as part of the Municipality of Anchorage. We are happy to go over details with you. Your feedback is critical to our success forming a workable new government, and ultimately in gaining our independence.
WHAT’S NEXT? We are finalizing the draft Petition to Detach and Incorporate to submit to the legal team on May 19. A legal review and brief that must accompany the petition will cost tens of thousands of dollars. To those contributing monthly already, know that your dollars have funded this effort to date, and are allowing us to pay for the first installment of legal work. To those waiting until we “see the numbers” to know your taxes won’t be more than they are as part of the Municipality of Anchorage, HERE THEY ARE!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please, donate NOW so we can continue to move this forward. We as an EaglExit Board, and engaged members of the community, have worked very hard, week in and week out.
Upcoming costs we need to fund include the legal brief and representation retainer, and a marketing campaign to inform your neighbors and friends about the details of the Petition and Charter. This is a requirement of the LBC. We need help funding the legal work. We could ask you to attend a spaghetti feed, buy an item at an auction, or other fundraising method. We will do that if we can’t raise the funds with a simple ask, PLEASE DONATE NOW, at www.eaglexit.com.
The views expressed here are those of the author.