1. Is the transfer site monitoring program working? Explain.
The program is working at keeping the spaces clean and orderly, but at a large expense and limited hours during the summer, which I disagree with given the nature of Fairbanks and the long working hours in the summer. By limiting hours and not always opening when advertised, it’s angered many residents.
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?
I disagree with the budgeting approach presented by Governor Dunleavy. Line-item vetoes to this magnitude are reprehensible when an operating budget was debated and worked on extensively in the Legislature. Passing the buck to local taxpayers is also damaging to those communities depending on their size and the ability to weather the alterations.
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?
It may not be the best time, depending on the borough’s current budget. Given that the borough will have to make other cuts to support an increase in education, we might have to take a hard look at some other services to reduce if we need to aid the school district.
4. Which borough services would you cut if cuts become necessary? Be specific.
Taking a closer look at the Solid Waste Division, specifically transfer sites themselves (rather than just attendant services) and possibly looking at the recycling center. It’s hard to want to cut other services, as I feel that if we are receiving the same amount in revenue, then we can maintain the services we have at this time.
5. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough? How would you manage the issue?
Air quality and climate change are the two most impactful issues affecting the borough. The ability to get our air within the appropriate range to avoid federal sanctions is paramount, and I’m looking forward to the implementation of an ESP installation program to help the citizens scrub their PM2.5 when utilizing solid fuel burning devices. Climate change is happening here, and we need to plan appropriately for the coming changes.
6. With continued efforts in properly funding the Facilities Maintenance Reserve Fund, we can spend more on major maintenance projects to increase the life of our buildings. Along with the new Capital Improvement Program, we can plan for major projects and fund them realistically.
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?
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.
Changing the minds of our citizenry to think more about the five Rs and getting more residents to buy into the program can make it more viable. When pressed against hard times and tighter budgets, we should take a look at how much further to continue investing in this versus a smaller, more measured approach. Changing the way our community thinks about recycling is important, though, and shouldn’t be ignored.
8. Do you support proposed new state regulations aimed at curbing smoke pollution on cold winter days when the air is stagnant? Explain.
Yes, our community has voted to have the state implement rules and enforcement instead of doing it ourselves. Therefore, we need to work closely with the DEC and EPA to provide a serious SIP that we as a community can buy into. The regulations they’ve selected are far less draconian than they could have been.