Council passes $15 M FY 2019 budget

CSD budget increases $250,000 after numerous public comments

Cordova City Council members approved during their Dec. 19 session a fiscal year 2019 budget for the city of $15,538,342, a decision that left the Cordova School District budget short of what educators requested.

Numerous members of the community who turned out at the meeting spoke passionately in opposition of the shortfall approved in place of the proposed school district budget.

“I’m only there for two hours a day, but functioning on the current budget, I can see that the schools aren’t even meeting the basic needs,” Alyssa Kleissler said. “I mean the bathrooms at the high school, the doors don’t even close…that’s a basic need that isn’t even getting met at the current budget so I’m sure if the schools are asking you for $400,000, they need it and they’re not gonna just waste it.”

CSD superintendent Alex Russin also voiced concern over the lack of requested funding. “I’ve made that commitment to ask for what we need,” he said. “I’ve sent several letters to council…asking for what we need.”

After a nearly four-hour meeting, council agreed to increase the school transfer for the second half of 2019 by $250,000, now totaling $906,000. The city is contributing a total of $1,750,000 to the schools in the 2019 city budget year.

Council also added $250,000 to the anticipated raw fish tax revenue, now totaling $1,050,000.

Council reinstated the E911 fund where money collected from the Cordova Telephone Cooperative’s surcharge will help pay into the E911 fund. With these funds, improved location notification for emergency services will become available as well as an alert being sent to emergency services by simply dialing 9-1-1.

Council is re-implementing this program with plans to have the project online in 2019, where customers will see an increase of $1-$2 in their telephone bills, said Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin.

Council also adopted city service fees, rates and changes for the 2019 calendar budget. The completed resolution, along with harbor fees, rates and changes, can be found at http://www.cityofcordova.net/government/mayor-council/resolutions.

“Well, they’re all going up and I feel the pain that everybody in the audience has about fees, taxes, everything going on,” councilmember Ken Jones said. “But, as Councilmember (Jeff) Guard likes to point out…deferred maintenance costs more and…this is an attempt to build these fund balances for our enterprise funds so that way they can be self-sufficient and be able to maintain what we have. I’ll be voting in favor despite heartburn over raising rates.”

Capital Improvement Projects, to benefit the citizens of Cordova, and Prince William Sound, were also passed, with an amended list.

The Sawmill Avenue Extension, to provide a walking path from the high school to AC Value Center, was removed from the improvements list.

CIP’s, in order, include Port and Harbor Renovations, School Repairs, Large vessel maintenance facility (shipyard building), Public Safety Building, Road Improvements/ADA Sidewalk Improvements and Hospital Upgrades. To view the complete resolution, visit http://www.cityofcordova.net/images//cityclerk/2018/Resolutions/Resolution%2012-18-35%202019%20CIP%20List.pdf.

To view the completed FY 2019 budget resolution, visit http://www.cityofcordova.net/images/eforms/financial/2019%20Budget.pdf.