March 8, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 10

Critics of borough voice opinions following report

Neighbors to Petersburg's proposed borough boundary-lines are voicing concern following a report issued by the Local Boundary Commission (LBC) last week.

Map showing original Petersburg Borough boundary line and LBC recommended revisions to leave Tracy Arm outside the borough.

The LBC last week released their report regarding the petition for the City of Petersburg to dissolve and become a borough.

The report included revised boundary lines, and recommendations regarding the incorporation of residents who live outside Petersburg city limits.

The report also recommended the boundary lines be drawn along natural dividing lines and that some areas, such as Tracy Arm and its watershed be left out of the proposed borough. The Tracy Arm area directly affects Juneau, said Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho.

“It's wait and see at this point. I know there are people that are unhappy with the report,” said Petersburg Mayor Al Dywer. He added that he was pleased with the commission's recommendations.

“We're fine with the revisions, and giving Juneau Tracy Arm,” he said.

Tracy Arm is an important area because it attracts tourists who come to Juneau. And although the commission recommended Tracy Arm be part of Juneau, it approved of Petersburg’s inclusion of Hobart Bay. This creates a problem with Hobart Bay owner Goldbelt, which is a Juneau-based company, said Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho.

“We appreciate a boundary that is somewhat south of Tracy Arm,” he said, adding that Juneau had hoped for more of the area to remain outside the lines of the proposed borough.

Botelho said he and his staff will file comments with the commission by the end of the month.

Another boundary line of the proposed borough that has caused controversy comes within 15 miles of Kake on Kupreanof Island.

“The mood is not too good here, because we are not too comfortable with them coming 15 miles from our backdoor,” Kake Mayor Henrich Kadake said. “It affects everybody,” he added.

Kake has a population of 570. And according to Kadake, about 80 percent of the population is Native.

“We are just not happy with the way the borough is drawn up,” Kadake said. “It's taking almost two-thirds of Kupreanof Island.”

Angoon Mayor Albert Howard voiced support for Kake. Angoon is on neighboring Admiralty Island and not directly affected by the proposed borough. However, the city, with a population 466 people shares a lot of similarities with Kake, Howard said.

“We want to do something to help Kake,” Howard said adding that the Angoon City Council would hold a special session to discuss a formal response to the commission report.

Residents of the city of Kupreanof , also on Kupreanof Island, would be incorporated into the new borough if the proposed boundary lines stay.

“I don't think it's any kind of a surprise, we're disappointed,” said Kupreanof Mayor Dana Thynes. “But it's not done yet,” she added.

“People here are very independent,” Thynes said.

“Petersburg is not going to be able to provide any services for us. They'll never be able to provide electricity,” she added.

The LBC is accepting public comment from now until 4:30 p.m. Wed., March 28.

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