Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
I enjoyed the quote from Mr. Giesbrecht in the October 25, 2012 Pilot “We need to make sure that all of our promotional information is based on fact.”So now we have fact to support a crumbled foundation. The foundation that I refer to is the Charter and Petition. The Petition makes promises which are not carried into the Charter. Once the vote is taken the Petition is meaningless. Charter provisions important to those living outside Petersburg were removed or changed. Public meetings were held early on to sell borough formation but no changes were made to either the Petition or Charter even though critical comments were made by the attendees. The process was too far along.
Here is an example of one of the Petition promises that cannot and will not stand. In the Petition the city leadership proposes to charge a 4 mil property tax on all real property outside of the current city boundaries. That promise is not carried forward into the Charter which will be the controlling document. As Mr. Hoag stated in his October 18th Letter to the Editor, Petersburg Pilot, “It [ Borough Assembly] will have the authority to set that tax rate as it sees fit, with input from the residents during the public budget process.” So if you own property outside of Petersburg will your tax be 4 mils or 10.99 mils? I believe the past history of Council actions clearly demonstrates it will be 10.99 mils as well as a person property tax. Think about it. Check me out. Go read the Charter and Petition and I’m sure you will come to the same conclusion.
Ione and Bob Lynn
When do people just leave?
To the Editor:
In the editorial of October 25 Ron Loesch quoted the Charter 3AAC/110.055 resources: The City’s bonded debt will become the obligation of service area 1, which will succeed the City of Petersburg.
The part he left out, which is the most important to people outside the city is the very next sentence.
Any change of the liability would require a charter amendment, and would need to be voted upon.
At the LBC meeting I asked Brent Williams for clarification. This means the citizens of Petersburg anytime they get tired of paying more taxes can just raise taxes on the outsiders and not on themselves.
The Charter does not allow for a tiered mil rate that the outsiders requested. The Boroughs of Wrangell, Ketchikan and Haines all have tiered mil rates. This means the Gruals in Farragut Bay, the residents of Point Agassiz and the sole voter in Hobart Bay would be paying the same mil rate as the guy living on Lumber Street. When you have friends come to visit for a week they use more city services than these folks use in a year.
This is the catch 22, burning $5 fuel for outboards and generators and paying 12 mil property tax, at what point do people just leave?
Who owns what
To the Editor:
One can only hope that through the contention surrounding the borough debate, beyond pro or con, right or wrong and good or bad, our community will gain a better understanding of how government works. Or doesn't work, as the case may be. In the November 1 edition of the Pilot a letter to the editor stated that in the name of fairness those who oppose the formation of a borough should reconsider. Reminding us all that our neighbors in opposition are driving on our roads and using our harbor, our schools, our medical facilities including mental health and long term care, our library and our local public radio station. Setting aside the division that the language used in this letter creates within our community, I would like to focus on who owns what.
Our schools are funded, for the most part, with state money calculated on the basis of a student head count. The majority of the road improvement in our community is funded through the state. Our community public radio station is funded by listeners, regardless of which side of the city limit sign they live on, with the help of our State and Federal Governments. Let’s not forget the countless volunteers, including those who live out the road and on Kupreanof that keep KFSK afloat. Our community gym and pool facility have a user fee in place which charges those outside the city limit 25% more than those inside. So it goes for most if not all of the other facilities and services provided within our community. We are all residents of this State and of this Nation. The money that these services rely upon belongs to all of us.
Speaking to fairness. For those who live out the road or further, is it fair to charge them for services they will never receive? Will the Police Department be able to respond to my home if I need them Quickly? Not likely. Will the Fire Department be able to respond to the mainland, to Kupreanof, or even to 12 mile Mitkof Hwy before the house burns down? Again, not likely. This is not a reflection of the professionalism of our local first responders; it is a matter of logistics. There is more. Fairness applies to those who currently pay city taxes on their property who are in opposition the borough as well. We have city employees who during their work day and as a part of their job attend pro borough meetings and salt our community with pro borough signs. Municipal employees, paid with tax dollars, asked to work in support of the formation of a borough. Those working in opposition do so on their own time and with their- own money. Fairness?
I think it was Thomas Paine who said that "every democracy gets the government it deserves". What do we deserve? A government that is bigger, slower, wasteful and more intrusive. Or a government elected by an informed electorate that understands that we live in one of the last places in the United States where an individual can still live in their home, on their property, in any manner they desire without having to pay an annual fee, under the threat of force, to do so?
To the Editor:
To: LCDR Ruben Boudreaux
Commanding Officer CGC Anacapa
Petersburg Mental Health Services put on our first annual “Fall Ball” for senior citizens in October. Two of your men attended. LtJG Rick Mozolic and Seaman Jacob Manire were remarkable. They arrived in dress uniform and participated all evening helping the elderly attendees and encouraging everyone to get out on the dance floor with them. They did this just because we asked, and they worked hard to help while making it seem like they wouldn’t prefer being anywhere else.
I have always admired the people who choose to serve in the Coast Guard. The demands are great, with high risk and sacrifice. I’m sure most people in Petersburg would say the same. But the amazing things that are done to keep us safe are many times invisible and therefore unacknowledged.
What I saw that night were two men not just committed to being professional but to being positively involved and engaged in their community. These two men singlehandedly created a more positive relationship with our community. All the people under your command benefit from this. I’m impressed with the actions and the character of LtJG Mozolic and Seaman Manire. They were generous and kind and they made the night the success that it was.
Thank you. If we can better support our local Coast Guard, please count us in.
Susan Ohmer, LCSW