Anchorage's leaders have thought the municipality had a budget surplus, when in reality it's millions of dollars in the red.

The reason could be human error, according to discussion Tuesday evening of the emerging deficit at an Anchorage Assembly meeting.

Assembly member Suzanne LaFrance said it was originally believed that Anchorage had a $1.75 million surplus in its savings account, but it's actually a shortfall of $4 million to $6 million.

Assembly members believe the discrepancy was the result of data incorrectly transferred by an employee from the muni's old software system to SAP, its new and over-budget accounting system.

During Tuesday's meeting, the Assembly considered but did not pass a resolution urging Mayor Ethan Berkowitz's administration to complete the muni's 2017 financial statements as soon as possible.

The resolution, which failed by seven votes against it to four for it, said the Assembly would not approve a 2019 budget without first seeing the audited financial statements.

City officials can still prepare a 2019 budget without audited financial statements, but many Assembly members hope to have the audit sooner than later.

Correction: An initial version of this story inaccurately said the Assembly passed a resolution urging completion of the muni's 2017 financial statements.

Scott Jensen contributed information to this story.

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