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Daily News - Miner Editorial, November 10, 1998, relative to petitions seeking to consolidate the city of Fairbanks with the Fairbanks North Star Borough (boroughs are similar to counties, though in this case, much larger than most counties) Click here to go to rebuttal.

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Sponsor the Merger, Personally

Fairbanks voters should have little reason to hesitate if they are asked during the next few months to sign petitions advocating the merger of the city and borough governments. The petition calls for almost no change in local government services and asset distribution. At the same time, the consolidation should cut loose some money for better services and give the community a stronger voice in state and federal issues.

If anything, the proposal could be most easily criticized for not changing enough. Authors of the petition took care not to alienate anyone unnecessarily. The words "will not be affected and will remain in force" repeat as a chorus in the transition plan.

For the most part, taxes wouldn't change, services wouldn't change and boundaries wouldn't change. The most significant alterations would be at the upper level of city and borough administration, where duplication would be eliminated. We'd have one mayor instead of two and one local legislative body instead of two. The borough and city finance, legal and personnel departments would merge.

However, people would see little change on the street The city of Fairbanks would disappear and be resurrected as an "urban service area." Police, fire, building inspection, public works and engineering services all would continue as before within the new service area's boundary.

These services would be paid for in part with existing taxes, of course. But the urban service area would also have exclusive access to the (former) city's permanent fund, which was created with money from the 1997 sale of the Municipal Utilities System. That money would be placed in trust for the benefit of people within the new urban service area. The account will top at least $86 million within the next Year. It would remain an immense and valuable asset for those residents and businesses with the good fortune to be located within city limits.

Petitioners need to gather more than 3,400 signatures before submitting the idea to the state's Local Boundary Commission. So if you see a copy of the petition somewhere in the next few months, add your name as a sponsor.

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Want the other side of the story? Click here.

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Candidate endorsements on this Web Site are not authorized, paid for, nor approved by any candidate. ITA, as a non-profit organization, does not give money to candidates. ITA is solely responsible for the content of everything appearing on these pages unless otherwise noted. We believe in the truth and are proud of our research. We stand ready to back up anything we say here, with the originating documents if necessary. However, we will not be responsible for inaccuracies found in other's documentation.

Paid for by The Interior Taxpayers' Association, Inc. PO Box 71892, Fairbanks AK 99707,
Donna Gilbert, President  ITA Phone (907) 456-8031.
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