Our economy has been surprisingly resilient during this state's economic downturn. Right now we are all holding our breath to see where the state budget settles out. In Fairbanks we have been lucky to have three major military projects going on in or near our community (Eielson F-35s, Ft. Greely missile defense updates, Clear LRDR upgrade). This has helped us remain fairly stable during the ups and downs of the state economy. During economic times like these it is even more important to have a business plan to guide decisions. As your mayor, I will pull together our community to develop a business plan that reflects where we want to be in 20 years, how we will get there, and how we will pay for it.
I have heard from many of you that you are worried about the impacts of the opioid epidemic, thefts, or the homeless people in your neighborhood. As I knock on doors I see more and more cameras and no trespassing signs. This is clearly not what we want for our community. I look forward to working with the new Police Chief and a fully staffed Police Department to restart community outreach and community-based policing. This and an emphasis on a strong economy are first steps in addressing these concerns.
Now is the time to put together a business plan for our future! We need to create a plan to build a resilient economy and attractive quality of life. I look forward to working with the broad community to imagine what we want to look like in 20 years, how we are going to get there, and how we are going to pay for it. With a plan for where we want to go we can make sure we are making decisions that move us forward towards our goals. We need to do this now!
The city has managed to deliver services reasonably well these past few years. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with inflation and health care costs. While building our business plan we will talk about how we want to fund the plan we develop. We have many options, including doing nothing, and the community needs to understand them and make decisions.
Our neighborhoods will benefit from community or policing where officers know the neighborhood and the neighbors know the police. There are many ways to do this, and now that we are getting closer to being fully staffed, we can begin implementing community policing.
I believe that human rights are a core part of who we are as a golden heart community and as a community that our young people want to live in. It is certainly a part of the community I envision Fairbanks to be.
City employees are dedicated and hard working. I want to make sure that our policies, procedures and tools help them deliver services efficiently and effectively. I also want to make sure that city hall is transparent and easily understood. I look forward to working with the city employees and community to implement their ideas about how to be more efficient and transparent.