FAIRBANKS, Alaska - With the elections for borough assembly less than a week away, we took a look at some of the benefits that their members receive, and you may be surprised to learn how much they get. As the staff at the borough preps for the upcoming elections, Borough Clerk April Trickey spoke about some of the benefits assembly members receive as compensation.
"For the borough assembly, they do receive a monthly stipend. It's a$900 monthly stipend for all assembly members, and it's $1,100 for the presiding officers. They also receive, if they travel on borough business, the borough pays for their airfare, hotels and they receive a per-diem, but there are no other fringe benefits given to the assembly members," she said.
When asked where the money to fund the stipend comes from she said, "It is budgeted every year by the assembly. It comes out of the general fund."
The area wide general fund is contributed by tax payer's dollars from property owners within the borough.
"It comes out of the area-wide taxes that you pay on your property taxes every year," she said.
The Salaries and Emoluments Commission oversees what the borough assembly is paid, what the mayor is paid, as well as the school district. If they have recommendations they will present it to the assembly once a year, typically before budget time. When asked if members are able to opt-out of the stipend she said, "That's a good question. I'm sure that they could opt- out."
She says it is plausible, but she has never had anyone in her time at the borough opt-out of the benefits. She says that the assembly members do a lot for the community, and whatever compensation that they are given doesn't nearly amount to the time and effort that they put into the job.
"What I see is that, they run for office because they feel they can contribute to the borough in a way where they can help out their residents of the borough. Whether they are on different political spectrum, or what side they're on, they are here for the residents of the borough and to make the borough a better place. For whatever that may be for that person," she said.