Borough residents can now nominate buildings for new capital improvement program

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Fairbanks North Star Borough has launched their new Capital Improvement Program or CIP.

“It’s a program that we’ve had around for a number of years in various different forms. The new form that we’re taking this year has a public involvement process which allows members of the public to nominate projects for consideration,” said Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce Ward.

Deferred maintenance has been an issue in the borough and Ward says they redesigned the CIP to engage the public in the process more.

“One of the things that we looked at when we were redesigning the capital improvement program was how we involve the public because often times what we’ve found is that we bring a project to the assembly or the community, maybe we don’t have it perfectly right and so there’s an aspect of it or the whole entire project itself is maybe not something the community supports, so we really want end to make sure that the things that we’re spending time on, that we’re spending money and resources on are actual projects that the community wants to see.”

Ward gave examples of projects that can be nominated, such as, parks and recreation, animal control, education, general government, administrative facilities, and playgrounds. He clarified that the borough’s authority does not pertain to roads, fire departments or police departments.

In order to nominate a project, the information is on their website at http://fnsb.us/cip/Pages/default.aspx.

There will also be a community workshop on September 24th at the North Pole Library from 6 to 8 p.m. where the community can work with staff on any questions they might have about the process.

Ward says the staff can “… sit down with you and go through a project that you maybe have or an idea that you have, our staff will be able to help you generate the nomination form that’s needed for us to be able to consider that.”

Residents can drop off nomination packets at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Administration Facility located at 907 Terminal Street in Fairbanks.

The nomination period opened on August 12 and will close on October 11. Ward says the nominations will then be approved by the Borough Assembly through a resolution for the scopes of the projects, the approved projects will then be scored and then placed into a ten year capital plan.

“The great thing about the process we developed, is it’s a biennial process and so the nomination periods are opened every 2 years and so the project is refreshed every 2 years, so that’s when we go through and we look at the projects that are currently in the out years, the ones we haven’t yet started, projects that have been newly nominated by the community, reprioritize them to make sure we have alignment and then ultimately keep updating that plan, “said Ward.

Although it is a ten year plan, Ward says they would be able to work on a different project if an emergency or dire situation occurred with a building. “So if a project comes up that there’s a natural disaster or an emergency that is not within the capital improvement program or CIP, it doesn’t preclude us from taking up that project under another mechanism. We would be able to do an appropriations ordinance that would give us the ability to go out and do that project,” said Ward.

If no one nominates any projects, Ward says it limits the projects the borough is able to work on, “we’re really encouraging folks to come out, there’s no such thing as a bad idea, every project isn’t necessarily going to be approved eventually but your ideas and your thoughts are going to be used to help generate scopes of projects,” said Ward.

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