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Whale Watching and LeConte Glacier Tours based out of Petersburg Alaska

Voters to decide on tobacco tax, senior sales tax exemption


The Petersburg Borough Assembly passed six measures related to proposed sales tax changes which will appear on the Oct. 7 ballot.

Four of the measures relate to the senior sales tax exemption, which exempts local residents more than 65 years old from paying the borough's six percent sales tax.

One measure would establish December 31, 2019, as a sunset date when the exemption card would no longer be issued. However, those who already receive the exemption would continue to do so.

As in past readings of the ordinance, assembly members Cindi Lagoudakis and Bob Lynn voted against establishing a sunset date. Lagoudakis said, "I still have concerns about this ordinance. I think that…it's very arbitrary in the date and some people it will apply to and some people it will not, which I'm not in favor of."

Assembly member Jeigh Stanton Gregor also echoed his sentiments from past meetings saying that as a citizen he may not vote to approve all measures, but as an assembly member, he feels it's important to let voters decide.

The other three measures related to the senior exemption were passed unanimously by the assembly.

One such measure would limit the senior exemption to borough residents only. Another would require proof of one year of residency in the form of permanent fund dividend applications. The final measure would limit the exemption to groceries and residential heating fuel only.

The assembly also unanimously approved two other measures which will now head to the ballot. The first would increase the sales tax cap from $1,200 to $2,000.

The final measure would impose a tobacco tax. A wholesale excise tax of $2 per pack of cigarettes and 45 percent of the wholesale price on other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, will be implemented if voters approve the measure this fall.

The assembly also unanimously passed, on third and final reading, an ordinance reinstating a Historic Preservation Committee. In June, the assembly was presented with a petition signed by 50 borough residents requesting the committee as a means to promote and enhance knowledge of the history of Petersburg.

The Borough regular election will be held Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Aquatic Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must be registered by September 7. Voter registrations forms are available at the Borough Clerk's office or online at the Election Division's website.

Absentee voting is available at the Petersburg Clerk's Office from Sept. 17 to Oct. 6, from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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