October 25, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 43

City gets borough information to area voters

The Petersburg Borough election date is looming before the area and facts regarding this issue are in debate for all involved.

The Petersburg Borough Promotion Committee met for the first time Friday morning with the tag line, Petersburg Borough. We’re stronger together.

“We need to make sure that all of our promotional information is based in fact,” Petersburg City Manager Steve Giesbrecht said. “The purpose of this promotion is not to change the minds of those who have already decided, but to help those undecided know the facts.”

This Borough election will be completely in the hands of the State Division of Elections and will be handled as a mail-in election.

“Ballots will be mailed around Nov. 26,” Giesbrecht stated. “These ballots must be returned, or postmarked by Dec. 18 election day.”

On the ballot for incorporation will also be the election of assembly members, assembly Mayor, hospital board, school board and planning commission members.

“If the borough passes there will be no more city government,” Giesbrecht explained. “The city will dissolve and the assembly will take its place.”

Between now and election day the Borough Promotions Committee will be running ads in the newspaper, advertising on the radio and talking to the public about the issues surrounding the incorporation of Petersburg into a borough.

“This isn’t about writing letters to the editor,” Giesbrecht said. “This is about using the news and radio to get the information to the people. We want the facts to be clear.”

Giesbrecht explained that the best way in which to get the message out is one on one and face to face, but with the time constraints that isn’t completely possible. “That is one of the reasons why this committee and these steps are so important.”

Candidates for the borough are still needed and this committee will also have the job of soliciting candidates for the positions available. As of the morning of this meeting, City Council Member Mark Jensen and Council Member John Hoag were the only official candidates for the assembly. Other possible candidates include Don Koenigs who will be running for the assembly Mayor position with Jensen, and Sue Flint, Jean Ellis and Nancy Strand who are still soliciting signatures for the election petition.

Promotional material for the borough will include three main points: If you want a vote in local and regional decision making, if you want increased revenue for our region without increased regulations and if you want to define and preserve our local and regional identity then vote yes for the Petersburg Borough.

These three points are broken down even further with specific points of interest. In local and regional decision making, think of Thomas Bay, Swan Lake and the Kake Intertie as well as enfranchising all regional citizens in participating fully in local elections. With the increased revenue without increased regulations, consider that there will be no need for a building permit, animal control or other governmental interference if you are not in service area one and service area one will remain the area within the city limits with no changes to services or taxes. In regards to preserving Petersburg’s local and regional identity, consider that Juneau or other governmental entities will not be able to encroach upon Petersburg’s traditional territories.

“It is important to be informed of all the aspects of this borough incorporation,” Giesbrecht stated. “It is our job to make sure the information is there for all of the residents of the proposed borough area.”

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