HATS OFF – Sitka High School graduates toss their mortarboards in the air after receiving their degrees Monday night in the Sitka High gym. This year 74 seniors graduated in a ceremony that included addresses by teacher Howard Wayne and class representative Nai’a Nelson, a performance by the symphonic band and a video of graduates. A car parade was held after the ceremony. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Assembly to Revisit Hiring of Attorney
20 May 2024 15:44

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Assembly members are weighing their next steps in hir [ ... ]

It's a Big Night for Sitka High Seniors
20 May 2024 15:41

Jamison Dunn, Felix Myers, Nai’a Nelson, Kylie Orlando, Benjamin Hedrick, Clarence Joaquin, Dani [ ... ]

Peltola Thanked for Aid to Projects
20 May 2024 15:37

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The leader of a Southeast commercial fishing organiza [ ... ]

Wolves Sweep Series, Secure State Softball Spot
20 May 2024 15:34

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Sitka High swept to victory in a three-game softball  [ ... ]

$92,000 in Grants Awarded By Sitka Charitable Trus...
20 May 2024 15:28

By Sentinel Staff
        Grants totaling $92,240 from the Sitka Alaska Permanent Charitable Tr [ ... ]

Bill Passed to End Use of PFA Pollutant
20 May 2024 15:25

Alaska Beacon
    For the second time in two years, the Alaska Legislature passed a [ ... ]

May 20, 2024, Community Happenings
20 May 2024 15:22

SJ Museum Posts List
Of Summer Native Artists The Sheldon Jackson Museum will host several artists t [ ... ]

May 20, 2024, Police Blotter
20 May 2024 14:38

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
May 17
A traffic complaint was turned in at [ ... ]

Task Force Presents Report on Tourism
17 May 2024 15:56

Sentinel Staff Writer
    At a sparsely attended meeting Thursday, the Assembly [ ... ]

C.G. Presents Findings on Fatal Boat Accident
17 May 2024 15:55

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Well over 100 Sitkans attended a town hall-style prese [ ... ]

Short-Term Rental, Variance Approved
17 May 2024 15:52

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Planning Commission passed two conditional use permit [ ... ]

City Loses Offer for Attorney Job
17 May 2024 15:50

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The single finalist in the Assembly’s search for a  [ ... ]

Driver Injured In SMC Road Traffic Accident
17 May 2024 15:49

By Sentinel Staff
    A driver was medevacked  early this morning following an accident in the 20 [ ... ]

Julie Hughes 40th Anniversary Triathlon Nears
17 May 2024 15:44

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Competitors will line up Saturday for the 40th annual [ ... ]

Lawmakers Expand Food Stamp Program
17 May 2024 14:35

Alaska Beacon
    More Alaskans will be able to access food stamps following law [ ... ]

Legislature Leaves Some Bills for 2025
17 May 2024 14:34

Alaska Beacon
    In the last days of their two-year session, Alaska lawmakers pass [ ... ]

May 17, 2024, Police Blotter
17 May 2024 13:23

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
May 16
At 12:41 a.m. a man wa [ ... ]

May 17, 2024, Community Happenings
17 May 2024 13:22

Climate Building Science
As we wean ourselves off of fossil fuels by electrifying our homes, we cons [ ... ]

Fire Destroys Island Home, No One Injured
16 May 2024 16:01

Sentinel Staff Writer
    A fire destroyed a small island house in Thimbleberry [ ... ]

Peltola Adds Haulout To Federal Funding List
16 May 2024 15:52

Sentinel Staff Writer
    U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola has included $5.8 million for  [ ... ]

City Loses $58K in Scam
16 May 2024 15:51

Sentinel Staff Writer
    The city announced Wednesday that $62,795 was stolen  [ ... ]

Talent Show, Art on Tap for Porch Fest Saturday
16 May 2024 14:42

Sentinel Staff Writer
    A day of street performances, art, food and music, cap [ ... ]

Legislature Goes OT, Gets Big Job Done
16 May 2024 14:41

Alaska Beacon
    The 33rd Alaska State Legislature [ ... ]

Legislature Approves Carbon-Storage Bill
16 May 2024 14:39

Alaska Beacon
    The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that combines carbon sto [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Rebuilding Savings Is Stedman’s Goal

Sentinel Staff Writer

Alaska’s financial picture is improving with the rebound of oil prices and federal pandemic relief, and Sitka’s senator says the state’s next move could ensure longer-term gains.

“It could greatly improve if we replenish our savings,”  said Bert Stedman, Sitka’s senator for almost 20 years. “We pulled $660 million out of our savings (in the current year) and depleted our savings to a minimum. We need to replenish it. This governor proposed spending and not replenishing, leaving the state in a precarious position.”


Bert Stedman. (Sentinel file Photo)

Stedman is the co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee in charge of the operating budget. His district includes Sitka, Ketchikan and smaller communities in Southeast, and with this year’s redistricting now includes Yakutat.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy released his fiscal year 2022-23 budget in December, and Stedman said he and the finance committee staff have been busy reviewing what’s in – and not in – the governor’s proposed spending plan.

Contributing to a seemingly rosier picture are federal pandemic relief funds, and oil prices rising back to above $90 per barrel – the highest since 2014. Stedman said he’s not assuming the price will stay at that level as he looks beyond fiscal year 2023.

“We’re working on figuring out the structural deficit we’ll be facing once the federal money goes away,“ Stedman said.

He puts the rough estimate of the structural budget deficit at a half-billion dollars.

“We have to have a balanced budget,” he said. “For the last several year the balanced budget has been from savings and COVID money and our savings are pretty much depleted.”

Besides putting funds into reserves, he’s also hoping the Legislature takes a look at the backlog of deferred maintenance.

Stedman gave a quick recap of what has happened in the Legislature since it went back into session Jan. 18 and what he sees going forward, particularly on how much to replenish the state’s savings account.

For Stedman’s part, his outlook is for a “healthy budget in fiscal year 2023,” and he hopes that unanticipated revenue from the past year can go back into statutory and constitutional budget reserves instead of being spent.

“We depleted the savings to get to a $1,100 Permanent Fund Dividend,” Stedman said. That amount was supported by Stedman.

Although the higher than expected oil prices and federal funds are helping close the budget gap, Stedman said replenishing the savings instead of spending it will give the state something to fall back on when oil prices drop again, and federal pandemic relief runs out.

One of Stedman’s concerns is to add back funding in the current year and next year to make up for budget reductions in previous years.

He is keeping his eye on other things as well as the budget process unfolds. One is the reimbursement of school bond debt, which has an effect on city finances and the sunset date of the seasonal sales tax. The governor has already included it in his proposed budget, and Stedman wants to make sure it stays there.

“It’s also time we look at BSA – the base student allocation. It’s been flat for several years,” he said. The BSA is the main funding mechanism for public schools.

Stedman also is hoping to see the availability of vocational-technical education increase. And he’s following the development of a new reading program to help kids learn to read, and boost test scores in that area around the state.

“We need to put things in place to expand opportunities for young Alaskans,” he said.

You have no rights to post comments

Login Form



May 2004

Dr. Arthur Cleveland, a former dean at Columbus State University in Georgia, was named the new president of Sheldon Jackson College, SJC officials announced today. He will be replacing C. Carlyle Haaland, who has held the position for four years.


May 1974

Coaching and managing the Little League teams this year are John Abbott and John Calhoun, ANB; Dale and DeWayne Vilandre, Alaska Federal; Walt Barker, Elks; Frank Simmons and Frank Vilandre, Lions; Leo Bacon, Pat Ness, Cliff Robards and Bob Edenso, Moose; and Everett Webb, Sportsmen. Head umpire is Carl Karpstein.


Local Events


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Instagram!


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Facebook!