May 31, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 23


Borough will benefit the area

We welcome members of the Local Boundary Commission to Petersburg. The long awaited public hearing on Petersburg’s proposal to dissolve the City of Petersburg and form a new borough government is underway.

Testimony on Petersburg’s borough petition started on Wednesday and will continue through Friday with the culmination of the LBC’s decision on the city’s borough formation effort being presented on Friday at 3 p.m. according to the proposed agenda. The chair has ultimate control of the agenda. Meetings are held at the city council chambers.

Argue as they may, persons opposed to the borough formation effort have a steep hill to climb in fighting the city’s efforts to create a new regional government. The quality of work that has gone into the city’s petition along with their response back to the LBC is unmistakable.

Calling the city’s actions criminal and hypocritical won’t get the job done. Every amendment that has been made to the borough charter and the resulting petition has been done in open, public meetings of the city council. There have been no deals cut in smoky back rooms, as some anti-borough folks would have us believe.

Testimony on Wednesday clearly articulated Petersburg’s current and historical economic interest in waters and land at the northern end of the proposed borough boundaries. We almost wonder if Petersburg’s concession to redraw the northern boundary and cede all of Tracy Arm to the City and Borough of Juneau might be premature.

Most impressive at Wednesday’s hearing was that public testimony from citizens consistently duplicated reinforced and reiterated statements made in the city’s written petition to the LBC.

We trust the hearing will provide sufficient information to allow the LBC to determine that State requirements are met by the city’s borough formation application and that the process will move on to a local election on the matter.

Petersburg economic interests extend well beyond our city limits. Our future may well rely on coastal management decisions, land use designations and the ability to build hydroelectric facilities and transmission lines across the region.

While some will bicker about paying taxes, big government and bloated budgets, those willing to look at the big picture will see the benefits of forming a new borough.

To date, the strongest argument to be made in favor of borough formation comes directly from the City and Borough of Wrangell.

Their community has benefitted from the borough formation and so will Petersburg area residents.

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