state budget cuts

Tim Ellis/KUAC

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly decided Monday to delay a plan to demolish the Mary Siah Recreation Center, proposed by Mayor Karl Kassel. Assembly members instead approved a measure that keeps the popular but aging rec center operating – if it passes engineering tests to be conducted over the next month.


Tim Ellis/KUAC

About a hundred people packed the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly chambers Thursday to declare they don’t want the borough to demolish the Mary Siah Recreation Center. They told Assembly members to reject Mayor Karl Kassel’s proposal to knock down the 68-year-old structure and they said the borough should instead fix it up and keep it operating.


KUAC file photo

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel on Thursday unveiled his recommended budget for the next fiscal year. He told Assembly members during a Finance Committee meeting that he’s tried to hold operating expenses to last year’s level and to keep property taxes just under the tax-revenue cap. And he says the budget also includes funding to begin catching up on a long list of deferred maintenance around the borough.


Tim Ellis/KUAC

The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Board of Education on Wednesday narrowly approved the administration’s recommended $232 million budget for next school year. That’s 3.3 percent or about $8 million lower than this year’s budget, mainly due to anticipated cuts in both borough and state funding and a slight drop in enrollment. It would require the district to increase class sizes and cut nearly 50 jobs, and sharply cut back on sports and other activities – unless the Assembly and Legislature come through with more funding.


Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

A snowier-than-average winter and four consecutive years of budget cuts and have stretched the state Department of Transportation’s ability to plow state roads to the limit. Department Commissioner Marc Luiken says that’s forced him and his workers to come up with more efficient ways to get the job done.


Tom Hewitt/KTVF

Gov. Bill Walker says he’s optimistic Alaska’s economy will begin to rebound in 2018. He says there's a good chance that lawmakers will pass measures this year that’ll set the state’s budget on the path to solvency. And he’s downright excited about three promising economic developments that suggest Alaska finally will be able to open more areas to resource extraction and bring those resources to market.


City of Fairbanks

Hundreds of local government officials from around the state are in Anchorage this week for the Alaska Municipal League’s annual local-government conference. At the top of their agenda is finding ways to deal with cuts in state funding that in turn have forced the municipalities to reduce services and raise local taxes.


Tim Ellis/KUAC

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel says most of the borough’s 250 or so buildings are badly in need of maintenance. He says many are so old that they just need to be torn down and replaced. And he says it’ll cost nearly $400 million to catch up on that backlog. The mayor told a couple hundred area residents who showed up for two meetings Wednesday that they and their local elected leaders will have to solve the problem, because it’s unlikely the state will pay for much, if any, of that work.


Seattle University Spectator

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel says state officials have cut funding to the borough for three straight years now, and it appears likely that’ll continue in the years ahead. The mayor says borough officials face some tough choices on how to deal with those cuts, so he’s scheduled two public meetings for Wednesday to talk about the problem – and ask borough residents what they think ought to be done about it.


KUAC file photos

Leah Berman Williams says even though she lost the race for Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Seat H last week by only five votes, she didn’t request a recount. She says instead she decided to focus her energy on running again next year.


Pages