The Haines Borough stands to receive $350,000 more in state revenue sharing funds than projected, a boost that could put a big dent in a projected deficit in the coming year’s budget.
Borough manager Mark Earnest has proposed cuts, slight property tax increases and borrowing from reserves to fill what was expected to be a $579,000 hole in the $11.3 million spending plan.
That hole was looking considerably smaller with the news last week that the Alaska Legislature has approved supplemental revenue sharing statewide that would add an additional $253,000 for Haines. In addition, the base level of revenue sharing for the borough came in at $606,852, about $100,000 more than previously budgeted.
Earnest told the assembly this week that it’s still premature to amend the coming year’s budget to reflect the additional income, as the amounts still could be vetoed or reduced by action of Gov. Sean Parnell.
At Tuesday’s assembly meeting, Debra Schnabel told the group she’d be applying for the manager’s job.
“I just want to inform my fellow assembly members that I have made an application for the borough manager’s job,” Schnabel said. “I submitted on the day it was posted, so that would impact how the deliberations go for picking a manager.”
Borough manager Mark Earnest has resigned effective June 15. Applications for the job are due Thursday, May 10.
Schnabel is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration through the University of Alaska Southeast.
She told the assembly that as a candidate for the manager position, she would not participate in their deliberations regarding the position, “unless you inform me that I will not be considered, in which case I’ll withdraw so I can participate.”
Resident Jerry Erny addressed the budget at Wednesday’s assembly meeting, saying he opposed raising property taxes. Property owners should be viewed investors in the community, not its cash cows, Erny told the assembly.
Earnest’s recommendation to increase taxes is “arrogant,” Erny said.