Members of the Local Boundary Commission finalized their decision that Petersburg's Borough plan meets state requirements. Voters in the proposed borough area will have the final say. The LBC approved its final decision on this matter in a teleconferenced meeting Wednesday, Aug. 22.
“I will mail the document tomorrow,” Commission staff member Brent Williams said. “This mailing will begin the reconsideration period which is 18 days for the public and 30 days for the commission.”
No comments were made by the public during this conference, but borough opponent George Cole prepared a request for reconsideration to the LBC.
Cole stated in his request that he felt there was a clear indication that the final vote of June 1 was flawed. “This decision will affect hundreds of people for hundreds of years, so it should be clear that the decision was not based upon bias or predetermination,” he said.
This teleconference was basically a formality since the commission had actually made its decision with a four to one vote after several days of extensive public testimony and debate.
Petersburg's proposed borough government could expand municipal boundaries and taxing authority over a much larger area. The new borough may include the cities of Petersburg and Kupreanof as well as Mitkof and Woewodski Islands, a large part of Kupreanof Island and the mainland from LeConte Bay to Holkham Bay.
Petersburg's City government may become the borough government, while Kupreanof would remain a city within the Petersburg borough.
The City and Borough of Juneau has filed a competing petition seeking to annex some of the same mainland territory. Juneau's annexation petition is still before the LBC.
“Reports on this petition are due out this fall and winter,” Williams stated. “The commission could vote on the Juneau petition in January.”
After the LBC mails out the written decision, it will be up to the state's Division of Elections to arrange a public, mail-in vote for residents in the proposed borough boundaries.
The voters will have the final say in approving the borough and electing a new assembly. The Division of Elections has a month to set the date of the election which must be held between 30 and 90 days after it is announced, which means the election will take place sometime in late fall or winter unless the LBC decides to reconsider within the next 30 days.