When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight (4-28-20), it will have its first reading of next year’s budget.

The city’s general fund budget is set at just under $29 million, with a projected surplus of just over $1.3 million dollars.

Each enterprise fund budget includes rate increases: a two percent increase for electric, water, and wastewater, and a 5.5 percent increase for solid waste collection. The budget also calls for a 5 percent increase in harbor rates.

The assembly will discuss how to appropriate Secure Rural Schools funding for the last fiscal year. That’s money from the federal government that can only go toward schools or roads. According to a memo from the head of Sitka’s Finance Department, Jay Sweeney, earlier this month, the city received notice that they would receive the funds for FY20, which they had not included in last year’s budget, so the assembly will now decide how to disburse the additional $450,000.  

In other business, the assembly will consider, on second and final reading, paying the $4.5 million dollar fine the city owes to the federal Office of Inspector General for outstanding Sitka Community Hospital liabilities. The group will also consider, on second and final reading, adopting the new “Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax” to local code. 

It will also consider an emergency ordinance abating any penalties and interest for first quarter sales tax filings through June 30th, a measure intended to offer relief to businesses suffering economic setbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Sitka Assembly meets at 6 p.m. tonight via Zoom. The meeting is still open to the public in the usual chambers at Harrigan Centennial Hall, but the city still encourages social distancing. Those wishing to make public comment without attending the meeting can email municipal clerk Sara Peterson at clerk@cityofsitka.org with your comment before 4 p.m. this afternoon, or call 747-1811 to sign up to give live testimony over the phone.

Raven News will broadcast the meeting live at 6, after Alaska News Nightly.