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City of Unalaska adopts balanced $35M budget for next fiscal year

Unalaska City Council
Sofia Stuart-Rasi
Unalaska City Council during a regular meeting at City Hall.

The City of Unalaska has a balanced budget for the 2024 fiscal year.

On Tuesday, city councilors voted 5-0 to adopt the roughly $35 million general fund spending plan.

The budget allocates money to pay for city services like police, public works, and parks and recreation. It also includes support for public schools and local nonprofits.

Councilor Daneen Looby thanked city staffers for bringing a balanced budget before the council. Their initial proposal could’ve run up a deficit of nearly $7 million, and councilors had pressed them to address the gap.

“I think the staff worked very hard on this budget,” said Looby. “And they brought us back to a balanced budget. So I think that was commendable of them.”

The city was able to balance the budget after updating its projections for tax revenues and shifting some capital spending.

Interim Finance Director Clay Darnell said revenue estimates increased by more than $3.5 million since the initial proposal.

At first, the finance department took an extremely conservative approach in estimating sales and seafood tax revenues. But Darnell said the city was comfortable raising projections based on actual revenues for the current fiscal year, and based on conversations with Unalaska fisheries consultant Frank Kelty.

City officials also moved about $3 million in planned capital spending from the general fund to a special revenue fund.

The budget for fiscal year 2024 will go into effect July 1.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
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