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The budget submitted by Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor David Carey is encouraging in several aspects, but simply doesn't go far enough in others. 052911 OPED 1 Peninsula Clarion The budget submitted by Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor David Carey is encouraging in several aspects, but simply doesn't go far enough in others.
Sunday, May 29, 2011

Story last updated at 5/29/2011 - 2:15 pm

A balanced budget -- that's the bottom line



The budget submitted by Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor David Carey is encouraging in several aspects, but simply doesn't go far enough in others.

For fiscal year 2012, Carey has proposed the borough spend about $71 million -- a $2 million decrease from last year.

But, the budget isn't balanced completely. As Carey is proposing it, the budget could call for more than $1 million to be pulled from the fund balance to make up for costs, but that all depends on several items yet to be finalized and also depends on the action of the Borough Assembly.

Carey said in a recent interview with the Peninsula Clarion that his top priority was "getting the budget as balanced as possible." His words are clear and actions admirable -- it's obvious Carey understands what voters want, and that is for government to live within its means.

Everyone knows from their personal lives that you can only dip into savings for so long before you find yourself in trouble. The borough's fund balance is for emergencies, not times when the pennies need to be pinched.

Assembly members should consider that when addressing this year's budget at their next meeting on June 7.

Frankly, it is time to draw a line in the sand -- find a way to balance the budget without dipping into the fund balance.

The mayor has suggested several ways to accomplish this goal. However, there is still talk of funding non-departmental agencies and other allocations that would dip deeper into the fund balance.

We're not going to make suggestions about what should or shouldn't be on the chopping block. That's up to the assembly now and that's why they were voted into office.

If it comes down to it, we think residents would certainly accept a reasonable reduction in borough services if it means keeping the financial state of the borough healthy.

We also would encourage the assembly to look at what services can be privatized, re-organized or what departments can be restructured to eliminate duplication, reduce the size of general government and ultimately ease the load on tax payer's shoulders.

This year, something must be different.

It needs to be the assembly's priority to balance the budget to keep with voter wishes.

In short: Some tough decisions lie ahead for members of the borough assembly who are tasked with ensuring the borough does not spend more than it takes in.





THE REC GUIDE

WINTER ACTIVITIES

If you think the Kenai Peninsula is beautiful in the summer, you should see it when cloaked under a thick blanket of white with the aurora borealis rippling through the celestial canopy above.

BERRIES OF THE KENAI PENINSULA

Whether intentionally seeking berries for jellies and jams or just out for a casual hike, residents and visitors will find the 50-some varieties of wild berries in Alaska hard to resist.

COMMON SENSE SURVIVAL

There’s adventure and beauty in the wild country, but also an element of risk.



2010 Peninsula Clarion award winners

Best Education Reporting
1st Place – Dante Petri, “All under one roof

Suzan Nightingale Award: Best Columnist

2nd Place – Will Morrow, “Voices of the Clarion”

Best Sustained Coverage

3rd Place – Dante Petri, “Mt. Redoubt Eruption”

Best News Photo

3rd Place – M. Scott Moon, “Bear Rescue

Best Photo Portrait
3rd Place – M. Scott Moon, “Ear Gauger

Best Audio Slideshow
2nd Place – M. Scott Moon, “Learning to ski

Best Use of Story and Photos by a Journalist
2nd Place – Joseph Robertia, “Dipnet disaster averted

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