1. Is the transfer site monitoring program working? Explain.
The beginning of the program proved frustrating arriving after 7 p.m. with a load of trash and finding the gate locked. Initially I did see progress with keeping the transfer site cleaner. This past summer I have frequently witnessed the attendant playing on their phone while piles of trash are scattered everywhere. I do not believe it is any cleaner now than before the attendants were hired. New guidelines are needed.
2. Do you agree with the state’s approach of cutting portions of its budget by passing off expenses to local taxpayers? Why or why not?
Most will agree, the state has a spending problem and needs to balance the budget. However, the state should honor the intention of the bond payment agreements. Passing those costs on to the backs of our property owners is an egregious way to cut their budget. The Legislature needs to do the job of passing a balanced budget, without endless special sessions.
3. The school board has been spending out of its reserves to balance its budget. If the school district’s funding request falls short of available revenues next year, is it time for the assembly to boost financial support for public education? Why or why not?
Regarding increased funding, I start with the view that our children are the most valuable resource we have in this community. They should use the reserve fund. Good teachers, proper materials, and safe environments are a necessity. Let's give teachers needed tools to boost our graduation rates and test scores. I look forward to evaluating the needs, in regards to the product, of our educational system.
4. Which borough services would you cut if cuts become necessary? Be specific.
As a business owner, I think all services can be evaluated for efficiency. Borough services should be prioritized by necessity. We need to be transparent with the taxpayers and have real discussions about which services are beneficial in making our community a great place to live. All operations can be evaluated to lower costs. Public input is essential to this process.
5. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough? How would you manage the issue?
The current budget cuts from the state are a pressing issue which must be quickly addressed. I will be a strong voice advocating for our people of our community. We must pressure the state to honor their school bond debt obligations. Passing this burden to the taxpayers, under the guise of state budget reductions, should not be an option.
6. The borough has fallen behind with respect to building maintenance. Voters last year rejected a municipal bond package for building replacement and maintenance. What should be done?
A failure to maintain our existing infrastructure is endemic of poor leadership. Past mayors and assemblies have dropped the ball on this issue. The cost of maintenance should be calculated into building projects; failure to do so is unacceptable. We need to examine and prioritize the existing maintenance projects and work hard to get each one accomplished. Mayor Ward's last budget started a much needed fund to address this issue.
7. Taxpayers fund the recycling program with $700,000 a year even after offsets from tipping fees, according to Mayor Bryce Ward. Less than 1% of waste is diverted from the landfill. Is recycling worth it? Explain.
Recycling is an important part of being a good steward of our environment. We all need to find ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Working together with transparency, as a community, is key to solving this issue. We must examine the cost effectiveness of this service and look for ways to increase efficiency. I look forward to speaking to the community about the results of this program.
8. Do you support proposed new state regulations aimed at curbing smoke pollution on cold winter days when the air is stagnant? Explain.
I know we all want clean air, which is why I burn dry wood. Education on clean burning practice is crucial. Any regulations must pass the economical feasibility test. The state should not be allowed to unreasonably burden residents with high-cost solutions. Many fixed-income residents are stretched with the high cost of living. We must reduce the cost to allow our elders the ability to stay in Fairbanks.