Last night was the first budget hearing for the 2013 Municipal budget. And cries of “don’t cut our program” were heard in the Assembly chamber.
One of the programs slated to be cut from Health and Human Services is the “Making a Difference Program” or Youth Court. Supporters of the Youth Court filled the Assembly chamber and 13 people testified to the programs benefits, both to those volunteering their time to work on the court and to the offenders tried by the court. They also made the point that while much of their operating cost was raised from sources other than the Municipality, they still needed the seed money. There undoubtedly will be an amendment to preserve the Youth Court’s $205,000 funding in another department, possibly under Legal. There will also be lobbying at the state level for the state to take over the funding since they are reaping the cost savings from the program.
Is enforcement of the law a proper function of government?
From the Parks & Recreation department, the Boys & Girls Club will lose $350,250 support for their Mountain View Recreation Center after school program and $181,000 from the Northeast Community Center after school program. These programs may continue, but the Boys & Girls Club will need to fund them. No one spoke in their behalf. The Campfire program will lose $30,000 of their grant money, and this brought out the programs supporters. Six people spoke to the needs of the elementary children in Mt View and Fairview in the program that will lose their after school safe place, and be back out on the streets, with the loss of this funding. The Municipal grant is not their sole source of funding, but again obtaining the grant makes fund raising easier in the private sector.
Are social programs for disadvantaged youth a proper function of government?
Eleven people spoke against the reductions in service and fare increases for People Mover and Anchor Rides. There is a bit of irony in reductions to the People Mover service in as much as the Anchorage 2020 Comprehensive plan demands fewer cars and more bus riders. In fact all of the plans created by the government lately seek to restrict automobiles and force citizens onto the bus.
Is bus service a proper function of government?
There are many more reductions in the proposed budget, and another opportunity to testify Tuesday October 30th, after 6 pm at the Assembly Chamber located below the Loussac Library. Both the A and B budgets are available on-line at www.muni.org in the Assembly pages.