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Fairbanks City Council discusses gasoline excise tax and Yukon Quest building

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 4:11 PM AKDT
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Finance meeting at Fairbanks City Council. (Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.)
Finance meeting at Fairbanks City Council. (Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.)((Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.))

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -

The Fairbanks City Council held their finance meeting in the early hours of July 21 to discuss items such as an amendment to Ordinance 6137 and an update on the Yukon Quest building on First Ave. Ordinance 6137, which was introduced on June 29 this year, is implementing a gasoline excise tax attachment to the taxation section of the general code.

One of the points that was brought up during the meeting was why diesel was left off in terms of taxing, to which Council Member Jerry Cleworth said they did consider it but made the decision to withhold it since it would impact the trucking industry. After discussing the gasoline excise tax, Cleworth said that the tax may not even cover the wage hikes that city has seen in 2020. He touched on the different industries that have been negatively impacted by the COVID situation.

“In this time [of] COVID, the community is struggling, and the tourist industry, the hotels and catering, anything related to that. Entertainment industries or whatever, these people are really suffering,” said Cleworth. “A lot of my friends have lost their jobs and so they keep wondering what has the city done when we’ve suffered some revenue loss... what have we done? We have done really nothing that I can see. We haven’t cut anything, we’ve spent more money. We’re now in a deficit spending situation and that concerns me.”

Jerry Cleworth speaks during the finance meeting. (Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.)
Jerry Cleworth speaks during the finance meeting. (Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.)((Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.))

In regards to the Yukon Quest building, Chief of Staff Mike Meeks gave an update to the council. Meeks stated to the group that the tenants have proposed a new agreement to the council. One is to forgive their debt of around $5,000 and the city of Fairbanks will pay the utility bill, while the Yukon Quest’s rent will go from $500 to $900.

“There’s single pane windows which means efficiency there in the summer but in the winter time there is almost zero,” said Meeks on his update of the Yukon Quest building. “There’s incandescent light bulbs, I saw electric heaters up high, I don’t know why anybody would put a heater up high but it was there. What I think I would like to do is ask to see if Golden Valley would come out and do their assessment.”

Mike Meeks gives an update on the Yukon Quest building. (Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.)
Mike Meeks gives an update on the Yukon Quest building. (Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.)((Aaron Walling/KTVF, July 21, 2020.))

The next finance meeting is set for August 4, 2020.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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