Files Petition to Repeal Fairbanks Port Authority
December 18, 1996 the Interior Taxpayers'
Association filed for an initiative petition to repeal the Fairbanks Port Authority. Why,
Tuesday, December 2, 1996 the Fairbanks City
Council voted to establish a Fairbanks Port Authority - an
entity permitted to issue bonds to fund projects approved by them. While some are worried
about these bonds not requiring a vote by property owners, the real danger lies more in
the layering of government - and the potential costs of the increased government. Among
other things, the authority would be able to condemn property, own property, and lease
property. The enabling ordinance also gives them the right to sue and be sued!
We have been told of several cases that illustrate the danger to property owners -
cases where foreign companies persuaded port authorities to finance economic development
proposals, but later pulled out, leaving the property owners "holding the bag."
Port authorities seeking legal remedies were left to try and sue (for the millions they
lost) a company in a foreign country. In Oregon, one community was also left with a well
contaminated site that the EPA refuses to let them use!
This reminds us of the proposal for a pig farm that came from Denmark just a few years
ago. Is this what would have happened to us if we had had a port authority to approve the
project then? Only recently were we able to get out from under the Fairbanks Development
Authority - an organization with goals remarkably similar to those of the proposed Port
Authority. Incidentally, the ordinances setting both up are almost mirror images!
How about other economic development projects of the past? What kind of a track record
do they have? Well, Alaskaland had to be passed on to the borough when the city could not
afford to support it. And the Carlson Center, that voters were told would be
self-supporting, is STILL in the red! Now the Council, which just spent 18 months advising
us to get out of the utilities business, is suggesting that we get into the banking
business! Don't we have enough bankers and real estate brokers in Fairbanks? Do we need
the city competing with them?
How can you fight this? We dropped our petition when the City Council voted to put the
question on the fall municipal election ballot. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO VOTE
YES TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7.
If you have anything to say to the Council or Mayor, on this or any issue, you might
consider sending a letter (or testify at any Council Meeting in person) to the City
Clerk's office asking that it be copied to all council members and the mayor. We do not
know of any yet who have e-mail, so, in case you want to phone instead, here are their