Jo Ann Borges

Jo Ann Borges  

1. Is the transfer site monitoring program working? Explain.

The new updated facilities are accommodating to the increased flow of traffic. The expanded installed lighting is producing a safer environment. My only concern is the hours of operations are lacking. The monitoring personnel were greatly effective in keeping the transfer sites neat, clean, organized, and safer with fewer incidents. But now that the contracts have expired, I can only hope it doesn't recede back to its prior state.

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?

The state’s approach in cutting the budget and passing off expenses to taxpayers. The budget cuts were implemented without warning! To a point. I feel it would have been prudent if the budget cuts were outlined and actualized over a short length of time in order for the community to readjust their own budgets instead of slamming everyone with monumental budgeting shortfalls.

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?

The school board is balancing the budget with reserves. Yes. It is not reasonable to allow the school district to bankrupt itself. The borough should supplement the shortfall. The borough and school district are responsible to forecast the budget requirements. I feel the additional reserves should be budgeted to curtail the huge dropout rate and formulate a plan to increase the grade point average.

4. Which borough services would you cut if cuts become necessary? Be specific.

Consolidating schools that have low enrollment. Considering the budget constraints on constructing a new swimming pool facility at Mary Siah, we should merge it within Hamme Pool. Adjust the operational hours to reflect on the needs of the community, and build a spa facility, with hot tubs, saunas and separate public showers. This would be a cost-effective solution to decrease the financial burden upon the community.

5. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough? How would you manage the issue?

Lack of acceptable quality of life, air quality and contaminated sites. On air quality, committees after committees, sessions after sessions and no obvious results or intelligent reports. This is unacceptable. Contaminated sites: DEC has deemed six highly contaminated sites located on our children’s school grounds. Why hasn’t the borough made arrangements to relocate our students?

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?

I suggest we support the borough leadership in managing this situation. Safety should always be considered a priority when decisions are made with proposed projects. Building maintenance has fallen through the cracks. Regular upkeep and status reports could have prevented such a huge backlog. Mayor Ward states they will prioritize maintenance projects and has proposed a 10-year capital projects plan.

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 program was never meant to make money or even break even. Historically, recycling facilities never recoup their initial investments. It is more expensive to recycle than to purchase new. China cannot accept used paper or plastic any longer, which puts us in a bind. Communities are now forced to end their programs. Seems burn and bury more is the only route out of this expensive investment.

8. Do you support proposed new state regulations aimed at curbing smoke pollution on cold winter days when the air is stagnant? Explain.

I do support new state regs. These state regulations are in pending status on coal, oil and wood burning appliances. Residents are moving out of state because they cannot heat their homes. Too many additional and unnecessary guidelines will cause upheaval in our community. The coal plants need to take responsibility for their huge portion of the air quality problem.