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Voters to decide if assembly should be smaller

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) People who say there are too many politicians in Fairbanks will have a chance to eliminate a few this fall.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly on Thursday approved a question for the Oct. 7 municipal ballot asking if the assembly should be cut from 11 members to nine.

If passed, the two seats would be dropped in the 2004 municipal election.

Assemblywoman Victoria Foote proposed the ballot question. She said the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly is the largest assembly per capita in the state, serving about 85,000 residents.

Anchorage has about 269,000 residents and has an 11-member municipal panel. The Kenai Peninsula Borough serves 50,000 and has nine members on its municipal panel. The 62,000-strong Matanuska-Susitna Borough has a municipal panel of seven.

Eliminating the two seats will save a minimum of $12,000 a year, the combined annual pay for two members.

The measure passed 7-1.

Several members asked to be co-sponsors of Foote's measure, while others despite voting for the measure are concerned a smaller assembly would be less diverse.

''I like the diversity of people on here,'' said Guy Sattley, the lone no vote. ''Various people come from various backgrounds. There's some savings, but I don't think that's worth the reduction in diversity.''

Assemblyman Garry Hutchison said reducing the assembly's size would make elections more competitive and thus attract more people to the polls.

''I think we would be a more efficient body,'' he said.



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