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An investment in our community

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My name is Savannah Fletcher, and I’m running for Borough Assembly Seat F this Oct. 5. I have enjoyed the candidate forums we’ve had so far, and I am eager to attend the others we will have this month. Unfortunately, the Interior Taxpayer Association’s forum on Tuesday, Sept. 7, was only offered in-person, not virtually. For the safety of my family’s and my health as Covid-19 case counts rise, I am unable to participate.

But these are important conversations. And I am here to listen and let you know where I stand on taxes for our borough.

People don’t like paying taxes, in part, because the connection between what we pay and the goods and services we receive is broken. To continue living well in Fairbanks, these goods and services are essential. When you need maintenance on your boiler, and you have a bad experience with a company, you don’t give up on paying for the service completely. The maintenance is still necessary before winter comes. Instead, you find someone who can do the job well.

It is an elected official’s responsibility to manage our budget well and ensure every member of the community sees and feels the benefits of their tax dollars. We cannot take for granted the true value (and cost) of our public goods. These include a free, quality education for all, access to open spaces, and things as vital as clean water and air.

People say that tax cuts are going to be paid for by cutting big government, reducing waste and inefficiencies. These are easy talking points but are far less easily attained. When taxes are cut, what actually happens is that we stop funding the necessities. We forego investments for the future, defer maintenance to infrastructure, and merely respond to acute emergencies as they arise. Is that good money sense?

I won’t go so far as to call myself a happy taxpayer, but I am a happy resident of the Fairbanks community. I am proud of what the borough provides, and I feel grateful to live somewhere that values a robust quality of life.

I will not make taxes out to be a “necessary evil.” Rather, they are a recognition of what I am willing to do for and with my community. To be part of a Fairbanks with good schools, good libraries, and safe and secure neighborhoods. I will always seek ways to run the borough more efficiently to reduce the burden on taxpayers. But I will not seek short-term cuts to the detriment of our community’s long-term viability and quality of life.

Once elected, I will have office hours every week. I encourage you to come talk with me about these topics; I am happy to listen and will always treat these issues with the thoughtfulness and gravity they deserve. Stay safe, vote this Oct. 5, and see you on the trails.

Attorney Savannah Fletcher is a candidate for Borough Assembly Seat F.

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