On Jan. 3, the City and Borough of Juneau Committee of the Whole voted to proceed with the process of annexation of outlying areas around Juneau, including Funter Bay. The next step will be to hold a public hearing on annexation in CBJ chambers at 7 p.m. today. If you own property in these areas or lease land from the USFS for a private cabin for hunting or recreational use, you should become informed, attend the hearing, testify or send written comments to the CBJ City Clerk.
If these areas are approved for annexation, property owners will be forced to pay an annual property tax on the assessed value of the buildings or other structures and the value of the land itself. If you lease land for a cabin on USFS property, you will be taxed on the value of both buildings and the value of the land. The annual property taxes for the above areas if annexation takes place will be 75 percent of the rate for roaded areas of Juneau. This will cost you 8 mills or $800 per $100,000 of property or land value annually. Some of us who are retired senior citizens who already pay property taxes on our homes in Juneau cannot afford to pay taxes on our remote Admiralty property while receiving no benefit. We will be forced to sell the property we have enjoyed for many years.
Will the CBJ even recoup in taxes what it will cost to travel to remote areas, survey and assess values for each of the remote properties? I don’t believe even the assessor’s office thinks that is possible. It will be a money-losing operation for CBJ to annex these remote properties. For the public who owns or leases property from the USFS in these remote areas, you will get nothing for being taxed. There are no police, fire protection, utility services, no water, sewer, or electricity, no telephones, no emergency services (except the U.S. Coast Guard or Alaska State Troopers). You will also be buried in inspections, permits and CBJ building codes. You will be told how and where you can build structures on you property. Any freedoms you had before annexation and benefits from owning a remote property will be lost when the CBJ incorporates you within its boundaries.
If all this sounds like you really do not want to be annexed, taxed for no benefits, and regulated, and prefer to remain in an unorganized borough, please attend the public hearing or comment in writing to the CBJ City Clerk on or before Jan. 22. This is still a free country so what you say and do counts. Please exercise your freedoms.
• Phillip L. Gray is a senior citizen and property owner of remote land on north Admiralty Island.