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Fairbanks City Council Seat A - David Lerman

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 8:17 am

David Lerman

1. Discuss your idea for reducing the cost of heating homes and businesses in the city.

The energy authority will fund a natural gas distribution line network for the entire North Star borough. Fairbanks, North Pole and the borough will cooperate to create this authority. Everyone will benefit with lower energy prices with natural gas. I support the creation of this energy authority.

2. The city building department this month issued a condemnation notice to the owner of the Polaris Building and said the building needs to be renovated by Sept. 30, 2013, or demolished. Do you agree or disagree with the city’s action? Why?

The Polaris can still be renovated. The city can offer another incentive. Waive the building permit fees for all renovators, including Marlow. The city has a strong savings account and can afford an ordinance to waive renovator building permit fees. Marlow is close to creating 117 renovated apartments for downtown. Condemnation will cost the city millions to demolish.

3. Do you support consolidating police and fire services in the city of Fairbanks? Why or why not?

Police and fire services cost taxpayers over $12 million annually. Consolidation is something to carefully study. I recommend a task force to study this issue. The mayor at one time talked about assigning police duties to firefighters.

4. Are you satisfied with the city’s recent agreements with city employee labor unions? Explain.

Labor negotiation is important because 64 percent of the 2012 budget was labor costs. There is not a comprehensive discussion of labor negotiations in the budget. There was a 2.5 percent raise for salaries and benefits for the Engineering, Public Works, and non-union employees.

5. Do you think the police department is adequately staffed? Explain.

The police chief says he has a skeleton force and his officers face heavy workload with only 3.5 support positions. He budgets $360,000 for overtime, which the council approved. The statistics for July show 2,668 calls for service with 34 officers responding, which equals almost 78 calls per officer per month. Overtime is a red flag and needs the council’s attention.

6. Should the city of Fairbanks take any additional actions with respect to the community’s population of chronic inebriates?

The council approved $50,000 for a Community Service Patrol to monitor the public drunks in downtown. The patrol offers free rides to their homes or to the Fairbanks Native Association Detox Unit or to the new homeless housing on South Cushman. The coverage area may need to be expanded based on citizens comments I have received while campaigning.

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