Strand seeks election to proposed borough assembly seat
Petersburg City Councilor and retired construction worker, Nancy Strand, has spent most of her life in Petersburg and hopes to serve the new proposed borough as a member of the assembly in much the same manner that she has served the City of Petersburg.
When asked about the possible passing of the borough, Strand stated that she thinks it will be a very, very close race.
“I really don't think it will make it,” Strand said. “I hear people talking about secret pockets of supporters, but all I am seeing are the anti-borough signs, I fear that it isn't going to make it right now.”
Strand took her place on the charter commission in order to educate herself.
“I wasn't sure if I was in favor at first,” she stated. “But the longer this goes on and the more I hear and see, I am very supportive of this effort.”
She also explained that she thinks Juneau is going to snap up at least half of the area that has been petitioned by Petersburg.
“Juneau is poised and ready,” Strand stated. “They will try to take all the way down to Hobart Bay if this is turned down.”
According to Strand, the State constitution encourages that the entire state become boroughs and Petersburg has been a part of an unorganized borough for many years.
Strand stated that her main reason for serving on the City Council now is that she had complained about previous councils.
“I had complaints about previous council,” she said. “I feel I can't really complain without stepping up to the plate and serving myself. Plus, I truly want to see the borough to the next step.”
Strand sees the setting up of the borough and getting it right are the biggest challenges that the assembly members will face.
“I can't even imagine what is going to happen,” Strand said. “I think it will be something new every week. A new issue or some new interpretation that will continue the controversy.”
According to Strand, if the vote comes back a big landslide either way, we will know it was either the right or wrong thing to do. She explained that if the vote is close, and she believes it will be, the residents will remain divided. “I think the population will still wonder, if it is a close race.”
Strand explained that due to the unfounded accusations that are flying around, unification of the population will be difficult.
“I can understand people having fears about the taxes, but I don't see the mil rate going up beyond four with the borough formation,” Strand said. “I think that four mils is fair and it has always been that rate here for those who pay property tax.”
Strand spoke of lost opportunities due to Petersburg not being a borough.
“I think if we had been a borough when we put in for the permit for Ruth Lake for the power out in Thomas Bay, I think we would have been chosen,” she stated. “I don't believe they would have put it to a draw because it would have already been a part of our municipality.”
She also adds that the mining interests to the south could be a benefit to the area and Petersburg would need to have a borough formed in order to have any authority in those matters.
One of the biggest shocks for the councilor was that no member of the outlying area filed to take a seat on the proposed borough.
“I am astounded that no one from outside the city limits has put in for a position on the assembly,” Strand stated. “They can still put in a letter of interest, but the financial disclosure will still be required until the new assembly can vote it away.”
She also stated that she would like to get a couple of viable candidates from out of town.
“I find myself hoping that some of them are women,” Strand stated.