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Merger proposal delayed and compromise reached

Posted: Sunday, April 08, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A proposal to merge the city of Fairbanks and borough governments has been delayed and a compromise reached for the creation of a joint city council and borough charter commission.

The Local Boundary Commission came up with the eleventh-hour compromise Saturday after hearing hours of testimony. The compromise will ultimately bring the proposal in the form of a revised petition to borough voters next year.

The move also opens the door to include the city of North Pole in the consolidation movement. North Pole was left out of the original petition.

The borough assembly and city council now must both pass resolutions calling for an election of a commission to prepare a charter for the proposed consolidation on or before May 22.

Should that happen, residents would next vote on the creation of a charter commission, and commission members at the regular election on Oct. 2.

The move also opens the door to include the city of North Pole in the consolidation movement. North Pole was left out of the original petition.

Mayor Jeff Jacobson said he was in favor of making solid waste collection and economic development areawide powers as stated in the petition, but he also supports the city's exclusion from the consolidation proposal.

Petition author Don Lowell said he would accept the alternate proposal.

''If this is going to present an even more desirable proposal to the voters, then this is obviously the way to go,'' he said.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Rhonda Boyles also spoke in favor of the alternate plan, as did city councilman Charlie Rex.

''It's the direction we should go,'' Boyles said. ''It will take some work, but I am willing to do it.''

Assemblyman Guy Sattley, however, said he was against the alternative and postponing action on the petition for any length of time.

''I don't think it's got merit and we ought to kill it and stop it and send it back to the petitioners,'' he said.

If voters approve, the charter commission would prepare a proposed home rule charter for the proposed consolidation and submit it to the Local Boundary Commission by June 15, 2002. If the commission presents a charter to the Local Boundary Commission by June, the LBC is requested to amend the new petition to provide for consolidation of the city and borough as a home rule municipality.

Should the LBC approve the newly proposed charter, borough residents would get to vote on it. If any of the requirements are not met, the LBC will take action on the petition.


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