FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks city voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that will let the city borrow about $5.3 million on behalf of private sewer and water utility Golden Heart Utilities. The unofficial tally was 2,555 votes to 645 at press time with all but two of 15 precincts reporting.
Sponsored by Mayor Jerry Cleworth, the measure promises to save the utility money by giving it access to a lower-rate state loan than it would normally have access to as a private utility. Because Golden Heart Utilities is a regulated utility, the savings must be passed on to city ratepayers. The money goes to necessary replacement equipment, a sludge dewatering system and a plant classifier at the Peger Road facility the city leases to Golden Heart Utilities.
City staff calculated city water rates would go up about .57 percent to pay for the equipment if voters approve the public financing, according to the text of the ballot measure voters considered Tuesday. If Golden Valley had to get private financing, the estimated increase would be 2.89 percent.