About Fairbanks North Star Borough
About the Fairbanks North Star Borough
Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest community and residents commonly refer to it as the "Golden Heart of Alaska." Due to its central location, Fairbanks has become the transportation, trade and service center for the vast Interior region encompassing some 200,000 square miles. The community was founded almost a century ago on the banks of the winding Chena River, which drains, into the Tanana River immediately south of town. The Chatanika, Chena, and Salcha River drainages define the area surrounded by rolling hills to the north, east and west of the urban centers. The Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB), a local government unit similar to a county, covers 7,361 square miles and has 99,200 residents. Within the Borough are two cities, Fairbanks and North Pole and several unincorporated communities. The Tanana Valley surrounds Fairbanks at an elevation of 436 feet above sea level and rises east to about 2,000 feet at the Canadian border. The Alaska Range is clearly visible on the southern horizon. By air, Fairbanks is approximately three and a half hours north of Seattle and fifty minutes from Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. The Borough is also the northern terminus of the Alaska Railroad with access to the ports of Seward, Whittier and Anchorage. Other than the Glenn and Sterling Highways, all major Alaskan highways meet at or near Fairbanks. FSNB’s location in Alaska, along the transpolar air routes (64º50’ latitude, about the same as Oslo, Norway) makes it logistically attractive to air cargo airlines and the military; by air Fairbanks is less than nine hours from both Europe and Asia.
The Borough is a second class borough, incorporated in 1964 under the laws of the State of Alaska. The Borough's governing body is a nine member assembly. Assembly members are elected at large for staggered three year terms. The assembly elects one of its members annually to serve as a presiding officer. Assembly members are limited to two consecutive three year terms. The Borough's chief executive officer is the mayor, who is elected for a three year term. The mayor has no vote, but may participate in assembly meetings, introduce legislation and veto assembly actions. The mayor is also limited to two consecutive three year terms. The Borough is organized into administrative departments, each supervised by a department head. A chief of staff, appointed by the mayor, serves as the Borough's chief administrator.