Leave unorganized boroughs alone

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, February 29, 2004

There are 144 cities in Alaska. These are cities with state charters formed in accord with Alaska statute. In organized boroughs there are seven home rule cities, eight first class cities, and 34 second class cities for a total of 48 cities.

Outside of those boroughs there are five home rule cities, 13 first class cities and 77 second class cities for a total of 95.

Most Alaskans are very surprised to learn that there are nearly twice as many cities in the unorganized boroughs as there are in organized boroughs. And then there are the large number of native villages that are organized as tribal governments under federal laws. In truth, there already is a lot of organized government in unorganized boroughs.

Now along comes a group of state senators who are co-sponsoring Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 12 which requests that the Local Boundary Commission consider borough incorporation for certain unorganized boroughs. The sad thing is that these senators are not promoting borough government because it is the best and most logical government for communities in the Bush. Clearly, city government is the best initial government for bush communities. City government, not borough, is closest to the people. These bureaucracy-loving senators are using the mandatory borough government issue simply as a vehicle to tax the bush with nary a concern for what is best, most effective, and most efficient for the small communities in the Bush.

Let us assume that those who want wall-to-wall government for our great state achieve their goal. This would mean that all 95 cities now in unorganized boroughs would be saddled with an unneeded and unwanted layer of government overnight. And since most cities already have local taxes, there would be two layers of taxing authority.

The establishment of an unneeded layer of borough government would be in direct conflict with State Constitution Article X, Local Government, section 1, Purpose and Construction which states, "The purpose of this article is to provide for maximum local self-government with a minimum number of local government units, and to prevent duplication of tax-levying jurisdictions."

The large number of cities and other organized local governments in unorganized boroughs stand as proof that Article 10, Local Government, is working as the framers of our state constitution intended. C'mon you politicians. It ain't broke - so please don't fix it.

Glen Marunde


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