Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions


Governor Wins Approval of Grants to Rural Communities
131 Communities to Receive $40,000 Each for FY 04


October 30, 2003
Thursday - 12:45 am

Murkowski administration OMB Director Cheryl Frasca gained Legislative Budget and Audit committee approval Wednesday of a proposal to provide minimum funding of $40,000 to each of 131 small municipalities in the state for FY04. An earlier revenue-sharing proposal in July was over-ruled by LB&A, which instead reallocated more funding to urban municipalities and less to rural communities. Governor Frank H. Murkowski directed OMB to make the second proposal to ensure that each community would have at least $40,000 to "make them whole."

Funding for the revenue-sharing effort comes from two $25 million federal grants given to Alaska under the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act signed by President Bush in May. The first $25 million was received last summer, and the second in October, after the new federal fiscal year began.

"In our original proposal, we distributed $15 million to municipalities as transition funding to help them deal with the reductions to the State Revenue Sharing, Safe Communities, and Capital Matching Grants programs," Murkowski said. "We wanted each municipality to receive a minimum of $40,000. However, the LB&A committee re-figured the grants according to a formula they used that was based more on population. This reduced some communities' grant to only a few thousand dollars."

Murkowski said the minimum $40,000 funding level would be used by small communities for a variety of important functions, from operation of public facilities and utilities to snow removal and city management.

"Many of these communities have really no way to generate revenue for very basic government functions, so this funding is very important to them," Murkowski said. "And I thank the members of the LB&A committee for approving the request."

Murkowski said, now that the funding is approved, he expects the Department of Community and Economic Development to begin sending checks to the 131 communities in the next few days.

The 131 communities receiving checks was not included with the release.



Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
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