During a work session late last week, Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins presented a 146 million dollar municipal spending plan to Borough Assembly members.
The proposal is about THREE MILLION DOLLARS less than the spending plan for the current year, and makes way for a larger local contribution to public education, a slight rise in the basic property tax rate and increases in fees for things such as commercial trash dumping and monthly bus passes.
Reached for comment on Friday, Hopkins says basic government services will remain the same under his 2013–2014 budget that awaits a vote, by Assembly members, in early May.
The assembly will have the month of April, including three Saturday meetings, to evaluate and amend the 741–page budget plan.
Mayor Hopkins told Newscenter 11 "WELL WHAT I WANT TO DO IS TO ENSURE THAT THE SERVICES THAT OUR RESIDENTS WANT, THEY CONTINUE. I DON'T WANT TO HAVE LESS HOURS HERE, OR LESS SERVICES OVER THERE. SO, IT'S TO MAINTAIN SERVICES THROUGH AN EFFICIENT AND STABLE BUDGET. AND THAT'S IMPORTANT. YOU KNOW, AGAIN, WHEN FAMILIES EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO USE FACILITIES, WHETHER IT'S PARKS OR IT'S BOROUGH LIBRARIES. ALL THESE THINGS ARE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT, AND THAT'S WHAT THE BUDGET IS BASED ON, IS INSURING THAT THOSE SERVICES ARE THERE, AND THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE AS THEY SHOULD."
Other Borough officials have described the spending proposal as comparable to the current year.
Every borough department, except Financial Services gets an increase in the proposal.
The smallest increase, for the Department of Law at 42–THOUSAND DOLLARS.
The largest increase... for education at EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND.
Hopkins says the rise in education funding is necessary to relieve the stress on the school district budget and save jobs.