Gregg “Rocky” MacDonald
1. Discuss your idea for reducing the cost of heating homes and businesses in the borough.
Personal energy costs in the Fairbanks North Star Borough have increased dramatically in recent years to the point that borough residents are being forced to leave. The long-term solution is a gas pipeline, which we may or may not see in the near future (already 40-plus years and counting). A near-term solution would be making tax-free oil available to the state and borough just as Anchorage has benefited from gas at cost for so many years. The direct action by the borough government is very limited in this area, mostly promotion of ideas.
2. Do you believe the borough should privatize any of its services? Why? If yes, what services should be privatized and why?
Probably not. The people of the borough have not in overall opinion shown dissatisfaction with the status quo.
3. How do you intend to vote on Proposition 3, the borough air quality initiative? Explain.
I will vote “yes” to prevent the borough from enforcing the fines associated with solid-fuel burning. Now is certainly not the time to deny folks cheaper energy for heat since this very issue of home heating costs is causing the borough to see people leaving permanently. If this exodus goes on long enough, the borough will lose tax revenue, further compounding fiscal problems.
4. How much authority should road service area commissioners have to make improvements to area roads without borough approval or oversight?
The service area commissioners should have fairly wide latitude to make local decisions. Increased responsiveness to local needs is the result. This issue seems to have arisen recently and may be resulting from “bureaucratic creep” and lack of good communications.
5. The borough provides property tax exemptions for property “used exclusively for religious, charitable, cemetery, hospital or educational purposes.” Last year, the assembly denied a nonprofit performing arts organization a partial exemption. Should the list of exemptions be expanded? Reduced? Why?
The list of exemptions is fine as it is. Now is not the time to be reducing the tax revenue without coincident reduction in spending. Depending on the definition of “exempt entities,” the ones listed are broadly accepted because of their fundamental purposes in our society and the nature of their support.
6. What role should the borough play in promoting the local economy and what can it do to diversify businesses?
As to promotion of business, which is the local economy, the primary way the borough can achieve this is by not creating burdensome ordinances and tax policies. By thoroughly considering ideas with regard to their downstream effects, a healthy balance can be achieved. As to business diversity, the borough should not be in the position to pick one sector over another.
. Why do you want to be elected to this office?
7. I feel that the life experience gained over many years in the Interior and living through the booms and busts has equipped me to serve the residents of the borough in a considered and balanced way. My work in contracting has required assement of problems and implementation of solutions in diverse situations to bring about successful results in field work and human relations. My primary focus will be in the areas of fiscal responsibility so that borough residents “get the best bang” for their hard-earned tax bucks.