Today, I provided my proposed 2012 budget to the Anchorage Assembly, as required by municipal code. The 2012 spending plan, which focuses heavily on public safety, maintains city services at current levels despite addressing a $15 million gap between revenues and expenses.
Overall, I am satisfied with the 2012 proposed budget. By putting every municipal department under the microscope to find areas where we could save money, we've achieved a budget that delivers essential services to citizens while keeping property tax increases relatively flat. In this volatile economy where many people are still feeling the effects of salary freezes and reductions, it's prudent to rein in spending and let citizens keep more of their hard-earned money.
Here's a look at the numbers: my 2012 proposed budget is $451.8 million, a 1.9 percent increase above 2011. The largest cost is $247.2 million for employee salaries and benefits, which make up 55 percent of the city's costs. This represents an average increase in property taxes of $7 for every $100,000 of home valuation.
In order to meet my goals of maintaining public safety levels and keeping tax increases to a minimum, I charged city department leadership with the task of finding additional efficiencies and reexamining their budgets for savings potential. The results, outlined below, allow us to continue delivering services with little to no impact to you, the citizens.
You can read through the details, below, but suffice to say that city leaders met the challenge and found additional ways to save money and work more efficiently. I am grateful for their professionalism.