After a month of contentious public meetings and discussion, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly late Thursday approved a municipal natural gas distribution utility.
Last night's decision, reached by a 6–2 vote, now clears the way for the public to take a strong role in bringing natural gas to Interior homes and businesses.
After clearing hurdles with the North Pole and Fairbanks City Councils, Borough Assembly passage of the ordinance, which they originally sponsored, was pretty much a done deal.
A near two–hour meeting however, produced a point–by–point review of the utility, its board and how it will function.
The utility will be headed by a board that initially will be appointed by the borough, Fairbanks and North Pole mayors, as well as the Borough Assembly's presiding officer.
That group will set to work on writing its bylaws, which must be approved by the assembly.
The municipal utility was the brainchild of Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins and Assemblywoman Nadine Winters, whose purpose was to jump–start progress on shipping and distributing natural gas, as well as breaking gridlock among the existing utilities locally.
As mentioned earlier, the Borough Assembly voted 6–2 to pass the ordinance.
Assembly members Michael Dukes and Natalie Howard were the lone members to vote no.
Assemblyman Matt Want was not present.