The Fairbanks North Star Borough was established on January 1, 1964 by the Alaska State Legislature. It encompasses 7,361 square miles, making it the fourth largest borough in the State of Alaska. (Alaska's boroughs are local governments similar to counties. Alaska and Louisiana are the only two states that do not utilize the "county" form of local government).
The Fairbanks North Star Borough is classified as a second class borough. Its inherent powers include the mandatory area wide responsibilities of education, planning and zoning, and taxation and assessment. Since the Borough's establishment, citizens have voted to assume the responsibilities of flood control, animal control, library, parks and recreation and public transportation. By Assembly ordinance fireworks control, storm water pollution prevention, disaster and civil defense and solid waste disposal responsibilities are also exercised by the Borough.
The Borough includes two cities within its boundaries, Fairbanks and North Pole. The cities provide municipal functions within their boundaries to city residents. In Fairbanks, these services include police and fire protection, parking and building inspection and code enforcement. In North Pole, they include police and fire protection and water and sewer services. Recently, the two cities transferred their natural gas utility power to the Borough to form a borough-wide municipal gas utility, Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility. The borough is also home to U.S. Army Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base.