ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Rural Alaska is facing steep losses to the Village Public Safety Officer program which many villages rely on for law enforcement, but the Dunleavy administration says the cuts will be targeted at funds that haven't previously been utilized by the program.
The VPSO program will lose just over $3 million under Gov. Dunleavy's proposed FY2020 budget, but Dunleavy's team says that pool of money is a surplus resulting from former Gov. Bill Walker budgeting for the creation of unfilled positions for Alaska State Troopers.
According to the Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin, Dunleavy's budget will work on filling current vacancies, and the money allocated toward creating new positions will be diverted to other areas of concern.
In a separate piece of legislation, the governor hopes to undo many of the impacts of SB91, which was meant in part to cut correctional costs by reducing the number of prisoners in Alaska.
The governor has introduced four bills which would reverse measures from SB91 at an estimated annual cost of about $43 million.