Newly appointed councilor Hoag hopes for assembly seat
Recently appointed Petersburg City Councilor, John Hoag, has placed his name in the running for a seat on the proposed Petersburg Borough.
Hoag is a retired attorney who moved to Petersburg in 2006 with the thought of being a part time resident but turned full-time with his love of the area.
“I love it here and have fully retired from down south where I worked as a labor attorney negotiating law enforcement labor agreements.” Hoag said.
When asked about the possible passing of the borough in the upcoming vote Hoag stated that he could not predict the outcome but he felt it would pass.
“I have talked to people who have been here all of their lives and they believe it is going to pass,” he stated. “I think it will come down to the population voting for what is best for their community rather than their pocketbook.”
Hoag explained that he thinks it is necessary for the borough to pass.
“The state has encouraged it heavily here and there is income tied with it,” he stated. “The schools will receive more funds and the borough would have more authority over any economic development outside the city limits.”
According to Hoag, for the size of the school, the students here get a first class education and with the shrinking population, it makes it much more important to get more revenue for the school district.
Hoag also explains that he thinks the challenges facing the proposed new borough assembly are small.
“I feel the challenges are less than what meets the eye,” Hoag stated. “The charter is well written with a list of “To Do’s” if it passes, there shouldn’t be any issues with this formation.”
“Those outside the city limits will get a chance to pay for the schools and if they want a special service district, then they will have an opportunity to vote on it and pay for it,” Hoag stated. “Some of the places get some services already.”
“The residents of Kupreanof, or Papke’s will have an opportunity to approach the borough assembly and ask for a service district, if they want one,” he stated. “They can then sit down and decide what that decision would entail, but they will have the ultimate say in that aspect.”
According to Hoag, the only thing that will possibly unify the residents of the proposed borough area is time.
“It is going to take time to show them that the paranoia and hype that the assembly will raise taxes through the roof just isn’t true,” Hoag stated.
He also explained that no one wants to put them up to a tax rate of 10.9 mils and no one is going to put a personal property tax on them.
“There is no basis for the hysteria that they are going to be taxed at 10.9 mils,” Hoag stated. “That just isn’t going to happen.”
Hoag stated that his main reason for serving in this capacity is his desire to improve labor relations.
“I want to see labor relations stabilize,” Hoag said. “I also want to see a new police department and I want to see the City be more fiscally conservative because I feel the oil money is going to run out eventually.”
The declining population of the area is another concern for Hoag.
“It is a fact that the population is declining,” he stated. “And that is probably not going to change in the near future, but there are avenues any community can take to improve or even reverse that issue.”
According to Hoag, what the city can try to do is attract more people who want to retire here and to attract a number of people who work out of their homes.
“Small cottage industries are the way to go,” he stated. “We are not going to have any manufacturing plants or high tech production, so we have to depend on other means to bring people in.”
Hoag predicts that there will be no changes with the formation of the borough.
“Nothing is going to change and that is the humor of it all,” he stated. “We may form a borough, and we will have some issues to work out, but essentially nothing will change.”