SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


New report shows staggering increases


November 16, 2009
Monday PM

Anchorage, Alaska ­ As school districts and local governments across the state are facing budget shortfalls, a report released today by Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) shows that Alaska's high energy costs are making these problems worse. Petersen serves on the House Energy Committee which is working to create a statewide energy policy and on Tuesday will be taking testimony from mayors from across the state about their communities energy needs.

"High fuel prices have caused communities and school districts to consider painful cuts to services," said Petersen. "I look forward to hearing from the mayors about the individual energy needs of their communities."

Mayors from all four corners of the state will tell the House Special Committee on Energy what their communities are looking for in a statewide energy plan on Tuesday, November 17th at the Anchorage LIO at 3:00 p.m. The hearing is part of the 2009 Alaska Municipal League Conference scheduled for next week in downtown Anchorage.

While the Anchorage School District is facing up to $15 million in budget cuts, the report shows that ASD heating fuel costs have risen from less than $2.5 million in fiscal year 2004 to more than $5.6 million in FY2009. ASD vehicle fuel costs rose from less than $1 million in FY2006 to more than $1.5 million in FY2009. The Mat-Su School District, whose budget woes have lead to a labor dispute with their classified employees, has seen its heating fuel costs rise from less than $1 million in FY2006 to more than $1.5 million in FY2009, and their vehicle fuel costs go from $119,540 in FY2008 to $177,299 in FY2009.

"Every dollar communities must pay to cover our high fuel costs is a dollar that could have gone into improving schools, hiring police officers, or providing property tax relief," Petersen said. "It is clear that one of the most important things the Legislature can do for our communities is to take action to reduce fuel costs now."

This report was prepared for Petersen by the nonpartisan Legislative Research Services, which provides unbiased research for legislators, and details the amount of money spent by boroughs, school districts, and state government on heating fuel, electricity and vehicle fuel.

Petersen is the lead sponsor of HB 68 which would prohibit oil refineries from charging excessive or exorbitant prices for gasoline, diesel or heating oil.

Sources of News:

Office of Representative Pete Petersen

Alaska Legislature House Special Committee on Energy



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Ketchikan, Alaska