October 4, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 40

Borough election set and Juneau petition is postponed

With the borough election set for Dec. 18, the Local Boundary Commission has decided to postpone the petition from the City and Borough of Juneau until after the Petersburg incorporation election.

“The LBC will hold off deciding on the Juneau petition until after our election,” Petersburg City Manager Steve Giesbrecht said. “If the Borough vote fails, they will revisit Juneau’s boundary line issues.”

Giesbrecht explained at the Monday evening council meeting, that if our petition passes, it would change the whole dynamics of the Juneau petition.

“At that time, Juneau may wish to cancel their petition or come back and argue where the boundary lines are drawn,” Giesbrecht stated. “It sounds as if the petition fails, the LBC will consider Juneau’s petition at that point and their boundary lines, which extend all the way down past Hobart Bay.”

Giesbrecht also explains that this is just an assumption at this point, but it’s something to consider.

Many suggestions were tossed around the council chambers regarding ways to educate the public on what will happen after the election if the petition passes.

“We may need to set up a series of meetings,” Petersburg City Council member Rick Braun said. “This way we can explain what will happen, step-by-step, if the petition is approved by the voters.”

Giesbrecht also suggested forming a committee of Petersburg residents.

“We need people, with a history and knowledge of the area,” he stated. “This committee could include anyone that may wish to help explain the election and the transition process.”

Giesbrecht asked if there are any residents interested in helping with this committee, to contact him.

Council member Don Koenigs said he was happy that it has come to this.

“This is one of the reasons I became part of the City Council.” Koenigs said. “I am glad it has come to a vote of the people.”

According to Koenigs, there are pros and cons to the borough. “I think we should continue to endeavor and engage the public in a dialogue of the facts on either side of this issue.”

The election will be conducted by mail under the administration and supervision of the State of Alaska Division of Elections. In addition to the Borough incorporation question, the offices for Mayor, Borough Assembly members, Planning Commissioners, School Board members and Hospital Board members will be voted upon.

Individuals wishing to run for a borough office must file a nominating petition. Petitions must include the signature and resident addresses of 50 qualified voters in the area of the proposed borough. The nominating petitions are available Oct. 2 and may be filed with the Division of Elections through Oct. 24. Petitions may be faxed, mailed or delivered in person to the Division of Elections. To vote in the election, a person must have been registered to vote within the proposed Petersburg Borough at least since August 22.

There will be no polling place open for regular in-person voting on Election Day. Ballots will be mailed to registered voters Monday, Nov. 26 and returned ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 18. Absentee, in person voting will be available at the Petersburg City Clerk’s office weekdays beginning Monday, Dec. 3 through Election Day, Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A public calendar for the election process is posted at the municipal office and available on the City’s website.

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