Born and raised in Fairbanks. Attended Denali Elementary, Main Jr. High and Monroe Catholic High School. Earned a bachelor of science from California Polytechnic State University with a degree in business administration and concentration in real estate and finance.
Owner of Pruhs Real Estate Group and Board of Trade Real Estate School. Served on the Fairbanks City Council for six years, Alaska Real Estate Commission for four years, Clay Street Cemetery Commission for four years and both the FNSB Planning Commission and Board of Equalization for eight years each.
Founded the Polaris Working Group and the Alaska BBQ Association. I am presently on the board Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing and a past director of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and the Tanana Yukon Historical Society.
I have two radio programs on KFAR. I have hosted “Problem Corner” for six years and “Fairbanks Foodies” for two years.
— David Pruhs
What approach would you bring when creating the city’s budget?
We get the most accurate revenue and expense projections from the 105 sources of income received and the previous year’s ending expenditure amounts. Adjust items to be as accurate as possible and have a budget a revenue surplus of approximately $500,000 for the fiscal year.
Priorities will be snow plowing, ambulance and police services. I look for efficiencies in operations to maximize these services. To alleviate the ambulance stacking issue, we need to go back to a third ambulance. The 2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement my opponent voted in requires Mandatory Apparatus Maning which removed the third ambulance. We down-graded operations to only two ambulances. Fairbanks has over 22 Paramedics/EMT’s! We could staff seven ambulances!
Removal of the Mandatory Apparatus Maning provision will allow Fairbanks to have a third ambulance. Our 44 police officer positions will always be fully funded.
I will budget a minimum of $1,250,000 for “temporary hires” for Public Works. This allows Fairbanks to immediately increase personnel when needed from snow events. We can also hire private contractors if needed to plow subdivision streets while having the city plow main arterials and downtown. Snow plowing should take three to seven days, not three to five weeks.
Do you support the cap-within-the-cap ballot measure? If does not pass, how can the city diversify its revenue sources?
I will be voting for this measure. I appreciate the directive the voters of Fairbanks will give to myself if elected mayor. Fairbanks has budgeted using the Cap within the Cap for 35 years. We will be fine either way.
I am not in favor of any new taxes or increases and I will veto any ordinance that does.
My opponent wanted to increase the bed tax so private security could be hired for Golden Heart Park. Fortunately, this ordinance failed. Security of the area was rectified by increasing police patrols/presence. This patrol increase had no budgetary expense increase. With the new construction and building remodeling Fairbanks is experiencing, we will receive more building permit fees and new real estate tax revenue. We have a cash reserve fund of $10,000,000 that cannot be used in the budget. We receive no investment return on this reserve.
By investing a portion into say GNMA, with no risk, a fixed investment return of 3% to 4% can be achieved. We must require our available assets to provide better returns to increase the city’s revenues.
How will you address the Fairbanks Police Department’s current challenges including recruitment and retention?
By far, most success is from “Lateral Hires,” the recruitment of existing police officers from different jurisdictions. I will recruit heavily from retiring MPs from the local/state military services.
We have an “incubator recruitment system” within the city limits of Fairbanks! Fort Wainwright! Recruitment must also be continued from prospects looking to join the FPD.
This is the lowest ratio of success as we have less than a 10% success in recruitment of the candidates who had interviews and background checks. Recruits spend six months in Sitka training then six months field probationary training. 50% of recruits are lost during this year long process as many realize policing is not their career. We must keep this recruitment process in place as it brings in local and young officers.
Retention and Recruitment of Police is a national issue! Fairbanks is starting to fare better as we recently hired two Public Service Aids to assist police officers in administrative work, two female officers and a return of a past officer.
These events coupled with the new collective bargaining agreement has helped stop the loss of officers and our boost our retention.
What role, if any, should the mayor play on the Diversity Council? Should the mayor have a seat on the Diversity Council?
As mayor of Fairbanks, I will chair the Diversity Council. This city commission has had some issues from its inception. As chair of the Diversity Council, I will interview each member of the council. Those who do not wish to be active members will be replaced by someone who will be active. On meeting nights, I we will follow an established agenda which promptly adjourns at two hours.
The agenda will be sent to members and public one week prior to our meetings. Agenda items will have those issues a member wants addressed and placed in a format of old business, new business, member comments, etc. The Diversity Council will have annual Roberts Rules of Order training so new members are oriented in meeting procedures.
A pleasant atmosphere for the members of the commission and the public must be provided to retain its members and give the public confidence in our mission. The diversity of Fairbanks and its residents is one of our greatest strengths. We can use the Diversity Council and its strengths to make Fairbanks a better place to live and work.
What can the city of Fairbanks do to bring business traffic back to the downtown core?
This has been happening for the past 10 years! The most important ingredient that Fairbanks can provide is infra-structure!
We have upgraded three bridges for access in and out of the core. Barnett, Cushman, Lacey and Noble streets have gone through recent upgrades as have 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Avenues. 5th and 6th Avenues are scheduled for upgrades.
Fairbanks has provided more police and presence and has seen an expanded park/greenbelt development to enjoy the Chena River. Fairbanks has both gas and steam heat available in this area for power generation, our most efficient, affordable and environmentally effective power source.
The downtown core has received a migration of new businesses which include restaurants, distilleries, craft breweries, retail, small business and government entities. Fairbanks has a First Friday each month plus many monthly/seasonal festivals that are hosted. I will work to get the Open North American Sled Dog races to start downtown as it had for generations. A new courthouse, hotel, bank and public parking garage have been constructed plus many existing buildings upgraded. Within a year, the Polaris Building will be removed giving an opportunity to redevelop this site.
How should the city address the problem of Fairbanks’ growing homeless population?
Unlike many other communities, Fairbanks hasn’t looked to government, large religious denominations, or even major nonprofits to deal with homelessness. We’ve looked within ourselves. Seeing the need, ordinary people of the community have stepped forward and created organizations like the Fairbanks Rescue Mission, The Door, The Center for Non-Violent Living and The Food Bank to deal with many of our social ills, including homelessness. This is not to say city government can’t come alongside these organizations and play a role.
As mayor we will continue to participate in the coordination of homeless services and support any effort to finally solve the nagging problem of mental health that is such an aggravator of homelessness. As mayor, I will facilitate, encourage and work with our incredible nonprofits instead of creating roadblocks as we have seen in certain sectors of our local government recently. As mayor, we will seek opportunities to participate in job training programs that provide needed skills to people who are struggling. One program that immediately comes to mind is the Enterprise Unit created by the Fairbanks Rescue Mission. We must find and start more of like this. We have many tools to combat homelessness. I intent to use them all.