The Petersburg Borough Petition was approved by a 4 to 1 vote Friday, June 1. Many residents of the proposed borough area are wondering, what happens now?
There are many steps that have to be made in this process before the City of Petersburg is dissolved and the Petersburg Borough is formed.
“Right now we are in a holding pattern,” Petersburg City Clerk Kathy O'Rear said. “We are waiting now for the Local Boundary Commission to determine the precise boundaries.”
In the approved borough area, the recommendation was to include the Endicott Arm, but exclude Tracy Arm watersheds. There are still questions regarding the definitive boundary lines. The LBC has ordered a complete survey of the area to make precise judgment on the lines.
“When the boundary lines are straightened out,” O'Rear stated, “there will be a 30 day waiting period.”
After the waiting period, the Alaska State Election Division will hold a borough area wide mail-in election. “We have nothing to do with the election process, it is all handled by the state,” stated O’Rear.
Also during this waiting period, will be the time for any appeal action which could be taken by Juneau.
When the election takes place, residents will not only be voting yes or no for the borough formation, but will also be voting for members of the borough assembly, school board, hospital board and planning commission.
“These positions will be on the ballot with the borough formation,” O'Rear said. “If it passes, those people will be voted into office.”
O'Rear stated she was unsure of the process for filing for an office at this time.
If the borough formation is voted down everything will remain status quo.
“All city ordinances will remain in effect until the Borough Assembly begins,” O'Rear explained. “With the exception of the mil rate to outlying residents, no immediate laws will change.”
She also stated that there will be no change in employee duties right away. “Public Works may have to travel farther, but essentially everything will stay the same.”
There are many mixed feeling in Petersburg regarding the formation of the borough. Whether residents are for or against there are many reasons why they feel this way.
“I believe the formation of this borough is a good thing,” O'Rear said. “If for no other reason than protecting our natural resources. We will have a bigger voice in what happens to our lands.”
The borough election could be slated for late fall or possibly January.
“The citizens of Petersburg are looking at four elections this year,” O'Rear said. “This could be a confusing time for everyone.”
The City of Petersburg elections will be held Tuesday, Oct. 2; the primary elections will be held Tuesday, Aug. 28 and the presidential election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The State will conduct the primary, presidential and borough elections and the City will conduct its own election.
For information regarding any upcoming elections contact O'Rear at 772-4519.