November 8, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 45

Editorial: Not just about money

We’re surprised at the lack of candidates filing for elected positions within the borough. We thought a few “outliers” would throw their hats into the ring and become a part of the government process that many outliers are opposing. The entire system works on participation, both from outside and inside the borough chambers.

Following our most recent comments on revenue sharing for the new borough, the city finance office reports the numbers are even higher now.

Conservatively, the new Borough has budgeted to receive an estimated $300,000 in additional funding through the State of Alaska revenue sharing program. According to the Department of Commerce, if Petersburg was a Borough during the FY13CRS program year, Petersbug would have received $751,717 vs. the $345,443 that the city did receive.

Absent the hiring of additional employees, the city will use its $600,000 direct state grant to update the comprehensive plan, create updated mapping, pay for transition legal fees and work to update the property assessment records. Wrangell hired no additional employees when their borough formed in 2008, so absent a demand for new services for the outlying area, Petersburg should be able to do the same.

Remember, there will be no change in existing levels of service and regulations across the Borough. Citizens living within the existing city limits will continue to have the same levels of service and regulations they presently have.

With the implementation of the 4 mil property tax on all lands outside the existing city limits, all borough residents will be contributing to the services they presently enjoy tax free.

But remember, it’s not just about money. It’s about Petersburg’s presence in the region and our ability to effect change in the area. During the Local Boundary Commission hearings, Petersburg’s reach into the area was significant. If an old-time fisherman didn’t fish the commercial grounds any longer, then chances were good that his son or grandsons did. Often, the families hunted and trapped along nearby beaches for subsistance game as well.

Do Petersburg families really want Juneau’s Borough controlling lands that we have hunted, fished and recreated on for generations?

Juneau is just waiting. The only thing that can hamper their plans for borough expansion is for Petersburg to cede the land to them by voting no on the borough on Dec. 18.

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