SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The Consolidation Vote
By Rodney Dial


November 01, 2006

The fight over consolidation is almost to an end . thankfully. Volunteers with the Save Ketchikan Public Action Group have visited most of the homes in Ketchikan, leaving flyers and bumper stickers. The response has been overwhelmingly against consolidation. To all those who have helped us, thank you! Please stay strong to the end and return your mail in ballot once it arrives.

The most interesting part of this for me has been the debates with the most ardent supporters of Consolidation. Every single supporter I talked to acknowledges that there will be no savings, and governmental costs will increase if consolidation passes. For them the goal of consolidation is worth almost any price.

Now that the ballots are on the way, I thought I would take a minute to remind the people of Ketchikan what voting yes to consolidate will mean for their family:

Increased taxes (2 mill property tax increase for everyone, City, North, South, Saxman, as per the Consolidation Document). Further property tax increases in the years ahead. The current estimate is between 4-6 mills.

Loss of current tax cap, new maximum property tax rate of 30 mills ($3000 per 100k value)

Increased City and Borough employee costs for a variety of reasons.

All residents, City, North, South, will lose the right to vote on areawide taxes. In a consolidated government new taxes can be raised by the assembly without voter approval.

No right to vote on fee increases. (Juneau has seen their moorage rates and boat launch fees triple).

Loss of the Alaska Housing Finance Rural loan program in Ketchikan. (Home interest rates will be higher for those buying homes after consolidation).

Increased utility bills (water, electric, sewer) due to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes change (PILT) at KPU.

Consolidation will virtually eliminate our ability to ever win subsistence rights for Ketchikan. We will be considered a large municipality one of the reasons Saxman is not joining the consolidated municipality if consolidation passes.

Service shifting from the State to the local level. The local government will assume services previously provided by the State and have to raise taxes to pay for them. This has cost Juneau and Sitka millions per year since they consolidated.

Loss of 2.2 million minimum in revenue due to the recently passed Cruise Ship Tax Initiative.

Likely loss of the senior citizen sales tax exemption (seen as non-sustainable by consolidated governments)

And on and on

A few things to consider.

You have never been told, even once, how much consolidation will cost by supporters. Of course not, they realize that if the voters knew this information they would never vote to consolidate.

Consolidation has never in Alaskan history resulted in lower government spending or any real benefit for the people. If it had, you can rest assured that supporters would have proof plastered to every telephone pole in town.

Consolidation is about transferring power from the people to government, and is why most supporters are government officials.

Consolidation has been rejected by other communities in this State to include the Mat-Su Region and Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Although there are times our two governments butt-heads, our two government system prevents any one group from rail-roading major changes through regarding importing issues, without due process and review.

The services that our governments provide can be consolidated, without consolidating government.

The consolidation document could have been drafted to guarantee that your rights would be maintained that your taxes would not be raised without your approval. It was intentionally created to remove these protections.

The extra taxes caused by consolidation will pull money out of our community that can be used to maintain stable taxes, fund our schools and other essential services.

It's your money, and your community. If you vote yes, you vote to pay more its just that simple. Please care about those who are unable to afford the increase. Please watch for the mail in ballot, vote no and return it.

Thank you.

Rodney Dial
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "Tired and ready for the fight to be over. Lets hope that if we vote no, they listen this time."


Related Ballot Information:

Information for Ketchikan Voters

Consolidation Election of the City of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Election Day is Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This Election Will Be Conducted By Mail
There will be no polling place on election day.

TO VOTE: Ballots will be mailed on Monday, October 20, 2006.
Ballots must be voted and postmarked on or before Election Day, November 21, 2006.

Related Web Sites:

Alaska Division of Elections - State-Conducted Local Elections

Ketchikan Consolidation

Ketchikan Consolidation Commission
(Web site provided as a public service by SitNews)

Save Ketchikan




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Ketchikan, Alaska