Funter Bay won’t be included in Juneau’s annexation petition to the Local Boundary Commission.
But other areas of Admiralty Island will.
That’s following a series of contentious votes at Monday’s Juneau Assembly meeting.
Assemblyman Rob Edwardson forced a re-vote. He criticized the Assembly majority for not making a strong enough case for why the City and Borough of Juneau should expand, especially on Admiralty Island.
“We’re supposed to have a handshake with the areas that we’re annexing,” Edwardson said. “There’s supposed to be something in it for them, there’s supposed to be something in it for us. I don’t think that we’ve articulated that there’s anything in it for the areas that we’re annexing.”
The Assembly reconsidered three of the four tracts in the petition. But only an amendment to exclude Funter Bay and its watershed broke the six-vote super majority threshold required to overturn last month’s vote.
Opposed to changing the petition were Assemblywomen Mary Becker and Maria Gladziszewski. So was Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis. He said a resolution passed by the City of Angoon alleging annexation could affect hunting and fishing rights or the island’s protected status as a federal monument as irrelevant.
“I could not find where any of those concerns would be affected by annexation,” Nankervis said. “And most of them had to do with recreational use, subsistence use of the island.”
Nankervis added that if Juneau wants to expand, it needs to file its petition before a neighboring borough does. Or before a new borough forms.
Angoon Mayor Pauline Jim repeated her testimony against annexation of portions of Admiralty Island. She said after the vote that she’s unsure why the Assembly seems intent on expanding its tax base over other considerations.
“I don’t think Juneau is that hard up for money that they have to go and take little bits and pieces of what little people have in the surrounding areas that they do want,” she said.
Funter Bay had been a contentious part of the four-tract annexation petition. The Assembly received more than 20 letters opposed to its annexation plan, the majority from cabin owners on the bay.
The annexation petition will have to be approved by the Local Boundary Commission, which will hold its own set of hearings. A decision is at least a year away.
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