Fairbanks City Council advances water stipend

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks City Council advanced an ordinance that would allow a stipend be paid to families who have had their wells contaminated by perfluorinated compounds, for the purpose of covering their water utility bills.
Mayor Jim Matherly advised the council to research the issue before the Sept. 25 meeting and bring their amendment ideas to the table.
Since announcing a couple dozen properties had been affected by the contamination in February 2016, the city has provided clean water at no cost, and this summer work crews began to connect these residences to the city’s water system.
This ordinance would provide certain families affected by the contamination a stipend of up to $2,500 per year to help them pay their water utility bill.
Another affected property owner, David Berrey, asked the council to be “made whole.” He also told the council they had encumbered funds toward remediating the contamination, and this was disputed by the council.
This is new for us,” Pruhs said.
“This is an emotional issue.
We’re dealing with people’s health and property.” Pruhs also explained why the stipend was capped at $2,500 per year.
Pruhs reminded the council nobody has to accept this stipend if the ordinance is passed.
He said claims and judgments — which in this situation include any lawsuits, construction work or other costs associated with remediating the groundwater contamination — will be paid for through property taxes.

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