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Old 05-09-2008, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,600 posts, read 28,753,083 times
Reputation: 12357

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As some of you already know, the cost of utilities, specially heating fuel, has become quite high in the interior of Alaska. Heating fuel is widely used in Fairbanks, North Pole, and vicinity. The borough just declared a sort of emergency relating to the high cost of fuel, but I don't think it will solve the existing problem. What should be done by the Borough is a reduction in property tax, but that would break their very high budget.

However, you can read about it here:
newsminer.com • Borough declares an energy emergency
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:49 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,945 posts, read 22,257,781 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
What should be done by the Borough is a reduction in property tax, but that would break their very high budget.
And that is precisely why I bought property in the unorganized borough, there is some pretty nice land in the Fairbanks-North Star Borough, but I couldn't take those property taxes. Less government is always better...

If people had woodstoves they could get firewood cutting permits on public lands, could help some, but stoves and chimney pipe aren't cheap either...
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,600 posts, read 28,753,083 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
And that is precisely why I bought property in the unorganized borough, there is some pretty nice land in the Fairbanks-North Star Borough, but I couldn't take those property taxes. Less government is always better...

If people had woodstoves they could get firewood cutting permits on public lands, could help some, but stoves and chimney pipe aren't cheap either...
That's good, but all State lands in Alaska have been (or soon will be) zoned or added to a borough. It means that all the people who own land or property anywhere in the State of Alaska will be paying property tax. This tax includes school tax, road maintenance, etc. It's more expensive in the city, however, but you save on travel cost to buy food. Living out there requires that you spend over $5.00 per gallon of fuel (soon, I imagine) to reach the supermarket, so you still don't save much. Ah, and don't forget hospital and dental cost in Alaska. Would you believe $1,200 for a dental crown?

I am in the process of installing a wood stove in my home, which should help reduce fuel cost. Will also be hanging clothes to air-dry during the summer months, the water heater will run on electricity during the summer, and then back to hot water around the boiler during the winter months. I will be insulating the home as far as I can, park the cars outside during the winter, and add glycol to the boiler to avoid freezing the baseboard heaters and lines. The wood stove will be running when we are home, heating the living room, dining room, and kitchen. I will also vent some of the excess warm air toward the bedrooms. But you are right about stoves and pipes. By the time I am done the cost should be around $6,000, plus all the time I have to spend removing the old fireplace, building and texturing the back wall, insulating it, building a hearth on the floor, etc. A technician will install the pipe and stove, and I will do the rest.

Last edited by RayinAK; 05-09-2008 at 01:39 PM..
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,595 posts, read 35,273,218 times
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What really irks me...they make gasoline right in North Kenai. Ship it north to Anchorage. Then turn around and truck it back down to the peninsula. That has to be added cost. Why not just truck it from Kenai and save a few bucks?
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,600 posts, read 28,753,083 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rance View Post
What really irks me...they make gasoline right in North Kenai. Ship it north to Anchorage. Then turn around and truck it back down to the peninsula. That has to be added cost. Why not just truck it from Kenai and save a few bucks?
The same thing happens in North Pole and vicinity. There is a refinery in North Pole, too.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:08 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,945 posts, read 22,257,781 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
That's good, but all State lands in Alaska have been (or soon will be) zoned or added to a borough. It means that all the people who own land or property anywhere in the State of Alaska will be paying property tax. This tax includes school tax, road maintenance, etc. It's more expensive in the city, however, but you save on travel cost to buy food. Living out there requires that you spend over $5.00 per gallon of fuel (soon, I imagine) to reach the supermarket, so you still don't save much. Ah, and don't forget hospital and dental cost in Alaska. Would you believe $1,200 for a dental crown?

I am in the process of installing a wood stove in my home, which should help reduce fuel cost. Will also be hanging clothes to air-dry during the summer months, the water heater will run on electricity during the summer, and then back to hot water around the boiler during the winter months. I will be insulating the home as far as I can, park the cars outside during the winter, and add glycol to the boiler to avoid freezing the baseboard heaters and lines. The wood stove will be running when we are home, heating the living room, dining room, and kitchen. I will also vent some of the excess warm air toward the bedrooms. But you are right about stoves and pipes. By the time I am done the cost should be around $6,000, plus all the time I have to spend removing the old fireplace, building and texturing the back wall, insulating it, building a hearth on the floor, etc. A technician will install the pipe and stove, and I will do the rest.
Actually the unorganized borough is still quite large. The AK Constitution calls for the state to be divided up into organized and unorganized boroughs. It's not required that every part of the state become organized. Not all organized areas use property tax on homes either. It's no guarantee if it becomes part of an organized borough that it will have taxes. And I don't see it becoming part of an organized borough in the near future where I bought property, the population there is declining not growing, and there's simply not much of any sort of tax base to support an organized borough government, at least, not if property taxes were used. Unless the people in Fairbanks/Mat-Su/Anchorage areas get their way and force taxes on the unorganized borough...

I can grow things better than the grocery stores sell (and wild meat is good too!). And I'll have free heat with my land being covered in trees...and there's always the government lands right next door to me for cheap firewood (permits are cheap). I don't plan on many trips away from home during a year once I'm moved in. Healthcare won't be a problem, if it's something major or dangerous, I'll probably be dead anyways before I reach a hospital.

Wikipedia has a map showing the unorganized borough: Unorganized Borough, Alaska - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,600 posts, read 28,753,083 times
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You have made some excellent points, and I don't disagree with you. However, you still have to put your trust on the same governments' not annexing your land to some of the boroughs. As people move in, I have seen land being annexed through the years. Every few years you will hear about another section of land added to a borough. Look at what is happening around Ketchikan, the Denali Borough, Delta Junction, etc. Every few years something comes up. I haven't been in Alaska very long (around 30 years or so), and seen this happen every now and then.

You may not need anything isolated out there, but you still have to buy nails, pipe, construction materials, insulation, tarps, and even some food every now and then. In fact, you may have to go to the store to buy a toothbrush and paste, or a bar of soap once in a blue moon How about clothing, or a bandage to cover a cut or something?

Last edited by RayinAK; 05-09-2008 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:54 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,945 posts, read 22,257,781 times
Reputation: 9051
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
You have made some excellent points, and I don't disagree with you. However, you still have to put your trust on the same governments' not annexing your land to some of the boroughs. As people move in, I have seen land being annexed through the years. Every few years you will hear about another section of land added to a borough.
I'm going to be 140 miles from the nearest organized borough, but good point...probably best for people with the same idea as me to not buy too close to an organized area.
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Rural NY
94 posts, read 235,590 times
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Can you AK guys explain something to me? I've been lurking here for a few months and the subject of wood heat comes up now and then.

I've been using wood since 1975 when I bought my first house. Oil was probably 50 cents a gallon (?) then, but I've always been cheap so I prefer using wood. In recent years I use coal during the coldest months, but still burn maybe 8-10 facecords of wood in fall and spring.

I am surrounded by thousands of acres of hardwoods. It is mostly privately owned but you can always cut for free if you know a few people. The vast majority of people here use at least some wood.

Considering the situation, wood heat around here is a no-brainer. But considering AK, where the winter temps are 50 degrees colder than here, and you have zillions of acres of wood, it seems odd that people are "wondering" or "trying to decide" if they should use wood heat.

Why don't most people already heat with wood? I suppose you don't have much (or any) of the good hickories, oak, ash, maple etc., available but even the less denser woods are better than $4-5 gallon oil.

What am I missing?
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Old 05-10-2008, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,595 posts, read 35,273,218 times
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I for one grew up on wood heat. I spent many a summer helping Dad cut split and stack wood for winter. Then I spent all winter carrying wood in before and after school. Not to mention cleaning the stove and dumping ash buckets on the hill we had for a driveway. And for a year or two I sold wood.
By the time I was 20 I was so sick of heating with wood I could scream! I built my house fairly close to the main gas line running to Anchorage...so it was easy to get to the house.
I would resort to wood heat if I had to...I just don't want to.
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