Borough meeting covers air quality language, school funding, hazardous material clean up

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Air quality language in Borough General Code, school district funding and cleaning up hazardous materials are just a few of the topics that will be touched on at Wednesday night's Borough assembly meeting.

One ordinance up for public testimony would remove language related to air quality curtailment from borough code. Although the borough has already stopped curtailment programs, Borough Mayor Bryce Ward says this ordinance seeks to match the code to the borough's new role.

"When proposition four was approved and then certified by the assembly, that ordinance became law or that proposition became law, so the borough was prohibited from doing regulatory acts, curtailment measures at that time. So that happened back in October. What we're doing now is we're essentially just cleaning up the code to make it very clear what we are and are not doing," he said.

Another ordinance up for public testimony would appropriate funding for the regulatory compliance program focused on cleaning up contaminated sites, as well as maintaining borough facilities such as water wells and fuel tanks.

Public Works Deputy Director Janet Smith said there are a few projects they know they want to start working on, but they also have to survey other sites to see if they are compliant.

"We don't know all of them, so it's a combination of further identification and then repairing and fixing and cleaning up as needed," she said.

For months, the borough and the school district have been trying to find a solution to an issue that came up while forming last year's budget.

Former Borough Mayor Karl Kassel introduced an ordinance that would limit the school district's ability to hold on to extra funds. Mayor Ward said the borough and school district administrations have been working very closely together on a substitute ordinance.

"I think we struck somewhat of a compromise, if you will. It does require that the school district budget for all of their funds. So I think we're able to have a more robust discussion when it comes to budget time, on what the needs of the school district are for their operations," Kassel said.