Borough Mayor Bryce Ward discusses budget talks in assembly

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 4:59 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly is holding meetings and worK sessions throughout April and May to finalize the borough’s 2022-2023 budget.

From parks and trails to the Noel Wien Library, the borough is responsible for funding services all across Interior Alaska.

This year, the budget talks include funding to renovate the John Weaver Memorial Skate Park.

Mayor Bryce Ward is introducing an ordinance asking for nearly 300,000 additional dollars for the project. “My technical terms that I used in finance committee is that it’s going to be a kick-butt skate park,” Ward quipped.

This would bring the cost of the project to about $1.5 million. Construction on the skate park is scheduled to begin this season and end in the fall.

The current budget draft also contributes an additional $2 million to the school district next year, matching the school board’s request, but Ward worries this may not be enough in the long-term. “The borough assembly is in a position where we can provide some additional funding, but the numbers that they’re dealing with right now are much bigger than what I think the local community can contribute to provide relief to. They really require state support,” he explained

The assembly has also proposed adding a full time employee whose job would be to maintain access at bus stops within the borough during the winter.

This came in response to concerns from the community. “If we want to maintain a high level of service within the transit system, then we need to have folks dedicated to making sure that those facilities are accessible and cleared of ice and snow,” Ward said.

Ward added that in the summer, the position would “help keep the bus stops clean, swept out of gravel, picked up from trash.”

These changes are not final, and community members will have an opportunity to testify on the budget at borough assembly meetings.

More information about the budget, as well as Ward’s initial budget proposal, can be found here.

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