SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Resolution Nixing Ketchikan Borough's Annexation Plans
Moves Closer to a Floor Vote


February 27, 2008

A resolution disapproving the Ketchikan Gateway Borough's attempt to annex more than 4,700 miles of land outside its boundaries cleared a hurdle on its way to the House Floor yesterday. House Joint Resolution (HJR) 30, sponsored by Representative Bill Thomas (R-Haines), passed out of the House Community & Regional Affairs Committee Tuesday morning.

A recommendation from the Local Boundary Commission takes effect 45 days after submission to the Legislature or at the end of a legislative session, whichever occurs first. The only way to deny a recommendation is with a resolution disapproving it passing by the majority in both houses.

"We cannot allow for shady or back room deals in any area of state governance," said. Rep. Thomas. "And this proposed annexation on the surface strikes many in Southeast Alaska as just that: unprofessional and posing a dire conflict of interest. At its core, the annexation request is nothing short of a money grab by the borough, since the area to be annexed is uninhabited land. The borough will receive money off of the backs of the schools in the unorganized borough but won't be required to provide any services."

Thomas says if the annexation is allowed to take place, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough would receive $200,000 in payments in lieu of taxes and $1.2 million in Forest Receipt money from the federal government, funds that currently flow to schools in outlying villages near the Tongass National Forest area that would be annexed.

Sen. Albert Kookesh (D-Angoon) is also fighting the proposed annexation by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough (KGB) of more than four thousand square miles of uninhabited land lying outside its boundaries. Senator Kookesh is sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 15, which calls for the annexation to be stopped.

"Annexation of land is a serious issue with long term consequences that can permanently affect a community," said Kookesh. "This proposed annexation was defeated more than ten years ago and I still don't see any good reason for it to go forward."

The annexation plan is deeply opposed by people living in the unorganized borough because it will take away $1.2 million in education funding and other state revenues while not delivering any level of public services in return. Senator Kookesh is also concerned about inconsistencies in the Local Boundary Commission's decision in favor of the annexation and the lack of public support on this matter.

SJR 15 moved out of the Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee and Senator Kookesh has requested a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee

HJR 30 will be sent to the House Rules Committee to be scheduled for the House floor.



Related Information:

KGB Annexation Petition Information


Source of News:

Office of Rep. Bill Thomas

Office of Sen. Albert Kookesh (D-Angoon)

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Ketchikan, Alaska