Petersburg borough vote enters the home stretch

With less than a week until the deadline, roughly 30 percent of Petersburg-area voters have cast ballots on whether to form a borough.

The Alaska Division of Elections sent more than 2,400 ballots in late November. As of Thursday morning, the division had received 752 back through the mail.

The ballot asks whether voters want to dissolve the City of Petersburg and form a new Petersburg Borough. Candidates for Borough Mayor and Assembly seats as well as other local offices also appear on the ballot. There are no contested races for those seats and several have no candidates.

In addition to greater taxation and planning powers, forming a borough would expand Petersburg’s boundaries to include an area roughly 83 times the size of the current city limits. Most of that area is undeveloped. But it also would include the small city of Kupreanof, as well as a number of other neighborhoods, residences and businesses for an estimated population increase of around ten percent.

The borough would encompass all of Mitkof and Woewodski Islands and about half of Kupreanof Island. It also includes the mainland territory from Le Conte Bay to Holkum Bay just south of the Juneau Borough Boundary.

The City and Borough of Juneau submitted a petition to annex some of that same territory, and has mounted a legal challenge over the issue.

Ballots returned by mail have to be postmarked by no later than Tuesday, December 18th. Ballots can be dropped off at the City of Petersburg. There’s also in-person voting available at Petersburg’s City Council chambers weekdays through the 18th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.