Mayor Dan Sullivan's administration Friday reported the city has a balance of about $11 million from 2010 that it could tap for this year, though the money comes with certain restrictions.
The number was released at an Anchorage Assembly work session as the city prepares to make first-quarter revisions to the 2011 budget -- and to set final property tax assessment rates for the year.
City chief financial officer Lucinda Mahoney gave a generally positive picture of the city's financial condition as of the end of last year. Revenues were higher than projected for the first time in years, she said.
The $11 million balance could be used for additional spending or property tax relief, Mahoney said.
It resulted from personnel savings through managing overtime and leaving jobs unfilled, she said.
Sullivan said afterward that he will propose some additions to the 2011 budget on April 15, including:
• An as-yet-unspecified amount of money to hold police and firefighter training academies.
• About $1.7 million to clean up environmental problems at a site on Reeve Boulevard and another in Kincaid Park.
• $3.6 million to pay back a debt to the city Municipal Light and Power Co. for a purchase of land.
The administration is still considering other possibilities, Sullivan said.
The $11 million is split into various funds that restrict where it can be spent, such as for police, parks and recreation and the like, he said.
Mahoney also listed some major expenses and potential expenses hanging over the city, such as a huge Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility rate case that is supposed to wrap up in May. The city could end up owing as much as $50 million, she said.
The 2011 budget that the Assembly and the mayor are considering changing is for $435 million and was approved in December. It cut services and positions, falling about $14.5 million short of the amount needed to fund the same size government as in 2010.
For example, the Dimond Center library branch was closed late last year. One bus route between Mountain View and downtown was eliminated.
Positions lost ranged from police officers to parks workers, though most job cuts were absorbed through attrition.
Assembly members have talked about restoring some services during the first-quarter revisions, such as the bus route, Assembly chairman Dick Traini said.
The Assembly will vote on any budget changes, including Sullivan's proposals, at its April 26 meeting, said Assembly budget committee chairman Bill Starr. Starr said he has not seen any specific proposals from Assembly members yet.
Last year, the city spent $9 million less than budgeted on labor costs due to vacancies and managing overtime, Mahoney said, and saved $6 million more in discretionary spending.
But health insurance claims were unexpectedly high in 2010, leaving the health insurance fund down $3.6 million at year-end, the city reported. Premiums have increased for 2011 as a result.
General government revenues were about $4 million higher than anticipated, largely because of a $4.6 million back property tax payment from owners of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. However, that money is still open to dispute and can't be spent.
It's not included in the $11 million that's available.
Among other general government revenues:
• City investment funds earned $3.3 million below the budgeted amount but have improved so far this year, Mahoney said. The market dropped in November and December.
• The city's hotel and motel room tax, which depends on tourists and other visitors, generated $1.5 million more than expected. "We did as an economy much better than projected," Mahoney said.
• The city tobacco tax produced $1 million more than was budgeted. Mahoney said that might be because smokers knew the tobacco tax rate was set to increase in 2011. People may have stockpiled at the end of the year.