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Fairbanks Council Considers Budget; Mayor: Surplus Should Enable Pay Hikes

City of Fairbanks

The Fairbanks City Council tonight will consider final approval of the city budget for the coming year.

The operating budget calls for $35.6 million in general fund spending and $36.4 million in revenue.

Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart says that budget doesn’t include a specific amount set aside for pay hikes for unionized city employees, because those negotiations are under way. But he says the $700,000 surplus would allow a 2 percent across-the-board pay increase.

“If there are other any major changes, there’s enough money to afford that, say, 2 percent increase to all the employees,” he said.

Eberhart says he hopes to find out soon about the city’s latest offer to settle the a contract dispute for the city’s Public Safety Employees Association, or PSEA, members.

“As far as PSEA,” he said, “we had an executive session, and after that we were authorized to go back with a new offer, which we’ve made. And we’re just waiting for a response at this. So, again, it’s sort of a question mark as to what will happen.”   

The mayor says he hopes the state’s budget problems caused by falling oil revenues won’t result in funding cuts to Fairbanks. He says it would hurt if the state reduced or eliminated the $1.6 million Fairbanks gets in annual revenue sharing. But he says it would be manageable.

“That’s probably about 4 or 5 percent of our budget,” Eberhart said. “So, it’s a significant amount of money, but we’re well-prepared if it does get reduced to be able to absorb that reduction.”

As for the capital budget, the council recommends an appropriation of about $2.3 million; the mayors recommendation expenditures of just over $2 million.

Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 at City Hall downtown.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.