Fairbanks North Star Borough seeks volunteers for boards and commissions

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 4:50 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough is currently seeing a number of unfilled positions on many of its boards and commissions.

Of the 16 boards and commissions in the borough, all but two have openings.

According to Borough Mayor Bryce Ward, these include “the Library Commission, Animal Control, Economic Development, Planning and Platting - all need members of the community to volunteer to be a commissioner.”

Ward added that while having open positions in these groups is nothing new for the borough, “I think, in light of COVID, and all of the challenges we’ve had in the last few years, it’s been more difficult to find commissioners.”

These positions are unpaid, and vary in their responsibilities. “Boards and commissions are in an advisory capacity,” Ward continued. “Sometimes they do have decision-making authority as specified in our code, but for the most part, boards and commissions will review ordinances by recommendation from the assembly, provide that feedback from the community on a particular action, and in some instances, can actually take action on their own.”

They also differ in the time commitment involved. “Some, like our Planning Commission, meet very often, multiple times throughout the month,” Ward said, adding, “Other commissions meet on a quarterly basis, for a few times every quarter, so it really depends on the particular commission that you’re interested in.”

Without a full slate of board members to make recommendations, it can sometimes be challenging for the Borough Assembly to take certain actions - which can affect the community as well. “If you’re doing a development or rezoning some property, and that board or commission can’t take your item up, it could potentially impact your development,” Ward explained.

To be a member of a board or commission, someone must be a resident of the borough and be registered to vote. However, most positions don’t have a set list of qualifications.

Ward says being on a board or commission is a great way to get involved in local government. “If you, maybe, have an issue with something, or you think that there’s something that needs to be changed, a board or a commission gives you a great way to get more information on a particular item and then weigh in and have an impact on that.”

Members are appointed by the Borough Mayor and approved by the Assembly.

Those interested in being involved with a board or commission are encouraged to contact the borough Mayor’s office.

More information can be found here.

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