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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) – Last year, Fairbanks North Star Borough underwent a software update for its property tax system.

However, the project was not successful and Mayor Bryce Ward is now asking the assembly to provide funds to try again.

According to Ward, the decision was made last summer to terminate the original contract for the project because numerous deadlines were missed.

According to Ward, most of the money for the project was recouped by the municipality, although after three years of work, the loss was several hundred thousand dollars.

Now, an ordinance scheduled for public hearing at the regular county assembly meeting on Thursday calls for the establishment of $2 million in a fund for the property tax system implementation project. “I think we just have to start over. The software they were working on was never completed, and there were a number of missed deadlines and dates that had been agreed upon between the county and the contractor, so we were working with them during COVID. I think we were very generous with the timelines we gave, and ultimately they just weren’t able to deliver the product,” Ward explained.

As we reported in May 2023, the intent of the upgrade is to replace the TACS system, which the district has used for about 30 years, with a cloud-based system.

This would make the system more user-friendly for both residents and district employees.

This would also allow for future updates and maintenance of the program, as this option was lost over time with the old software.

One day, it may be possible for residents to view the tax history of multiple properties at once.

Because there are around 130 taxing authorities in the county, each of which may have different exemptions, the system can get complicated. “For example, the cities have a different property tax exemption than the county. The city has different optional exemptions than the county, and each of those impacts your service areas differently, which can make for a very complicated system. So we’re hoping the new software will be more flexible and can account for those kinds of changes or nuances on a particular property,” Ward said.

To restart the process, the municipality must re-issue a tender and find another contractor.

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