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Fairbanks North Star borough mayor race — Norm Phillips

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Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 12:13 am

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

We heard last legislative session that the state would assist us if we have a unified plan. If elected, I will work with our legislative delegation and community leadership to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce energy costs and provide competitive fuel prices. Short-term goals (within three years): Bring Healy Clean Coal Plant online without debt; reduce price on crude oil refined and consumed in Alaska; bring natural gas from Cook Inlet, 7.5 billion cubic feet per year, by rail, for power generation and distribution. Mid-term goals (within five years): Facilitate private-sector trucking of natural gas from North Slope and build-out of distribution system. Long-term goals (within 10 years): a gas line to tidewater through Fairbanks and the construction of the Susitna dam and/or a natural gas power plant on the North Slope connected to the Railbelt grid.

2. Do you believe the borough should privatize any of its services? Why? If yes, what services should be privatized and why?

Yes, if a service can be provided cheaper with equal or better quality of service, I would support privatization.

3. How do you intend to vote on Proposition 3, the borough air quality initiative? Explain.

Yes. Because air quality is a symptom of our high-energy cost. We need to hold the state to its responsibilities and negotiate an exemption from PM 2.5 standards during the winter when we have our unique climatic inversions. The borough should monitor air quality, continue efficiency education and the stove exchange programs and facilitate private-sector natural gas supply and distribution growth.

4. How much authority should road service area commissioners have to make improvements to area roads without borough approval or oversight?

The borough doesn’t have road service authority; it has responsibility. The service areas and the state of Alaska have authority. The commissioners serve on behalf of the residents of their service area and should have full authority to do so. If the commissioners determine they do not have the resources to perform their responsibilities, they could request borough assistance at a negotiated rate.

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?

No. The list should not be expanded. I support the assembly’s decision.

6. What role should the borough play in promoting the local economy, and what can it do to diversify businesses?

Reducing our energy costs and taxes will put money into residents’ pockets and into the local economy. A strong private sector will grow the economy, and it’s the borough’s job to provide balance, not create more government and more government jobs.

7. Why do you want to be elected to this office?

I want to use my experience and abilities to lead a borough-wide effort to reduce our energy costs, create greater efficiency within government — reducing costs and control — and support private-sector growth in our economy.

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