Fairbanks mayor proposes reduced budget

Posted: Friday, November 03, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Mayor Jim Hayes has released his $20 million spending plan for the city that would reduce the budget by more than $3 million from the books and provide a modest property tax rollback.

''It's tight, real tight,'' said Hayes of the budget that reflects a $152,000 drop in state funding and trims six positions from the engineering department and two positions from the city attorney's office.

Hayes, who plans not to seek reelection next year, attributed the cuts to the settlement of a number of claims against the city and the drop in workload since the city sold the Municipal Utilities System.

''The council may not go along with me, but that's my opinion,'' he said.

The decline in judgments and claims against the city also enabled Hayes to lower property taxes from 6.442 mills to 5.995 mills,

Hayes' budget also would restore both police and fire chief positions, something the city hasn't had since 1991 when they were officially combined under the job title of public safety director.

''The public safety director system just didn't work out,'' Hayes said. ''I just wasn't satisfied with the results.''

No additional funds will be needed for the positions, according to Hayes, who added that he intends to fill them soon.

Hayes, acting public safety director, oversees the departments with deputy chiefs in each bureau running day-to-day operations. The city has not filled the position of public safety director since Mike Pulice resigned in 1997.

The city council will next review the budget, which must be approved before Dec. 15.

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