The Fairbanks North Star Borough is looking to introduce a program through which borough residents can nominate capital improvement projects.
The borough has to have a capital improvement program, or CIP, in accordance with state law. In a multiyear plan for borough infrastructure, this program is intended to be a collaboration between the Borough Assembly and the community.
“This is a new process for us,” Mayor Bryce Ward said. “Capital improvement programs are done differently throughout the United States, but generally there’s this kind of process: Projects are nominated or ratified by some means, they’re evaluated, they’re scored and then they’re inserted into the CIP.”
Ward said he has been working on this particular process since he got into office and that engaging the public on the project has been critical. He still will submit projects for the program, as will the assembly, but he added they want to incorporate community ideas into the planning process.
“For instance, we were talking about projects in regards to the Carlson Center and use of the facility,” he said, “and there were some ideas that we, as the administration and the staff, had not considered, and so that’s really what started this process of saying ‘Hey, there could be an idea that we haven’t thought of, that the community has thought of and we need to have a way to get that into this process.’”
Step 1 will be project nominations, which the borough will review, evaluate and send to Borough Assembly for a public hearing. Step 2 is the scoring process, through which the assembly will prioritize projects. Then as budgets are estimated, projects are broken down into phases and adopted in the CIP. The assembly will then vote on the final list.
Ward noted that for projects to be considered they will have to fall within the borough’s powers.
The nomination process, which is scheduled to open Aug. 12, involves a 10-page application that asks for information on project proposals such as capacity, safety compliance, public involvement, public use and energy efficiency.
Two community workshops have been scheduled to work with organizations and individuals. One will be held from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Noel Wien Public Library and another from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 24 at the North Pole Branch Library.
Only individuals can submit nominations, but groups can write letters of support that can be attached to applications.
Those interested in nominating a project can find the form on a page linked through the borough website starting Thursday. The website is not yet live, but, according to Ward, it will include a short video explanation of the process, as well as a presentation, contact information and an FAQ list.
“So if someone has some questions, or if we get questions that come in through the process, we’ll be able to throw them up on the website to help address those concerns of the public,” Ward said.
Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter:@FDNMlocal