HAINES - Pro-merger supporters were prevailing as Haines officials tallied results of a election to consolidate the city and borough.
Votes will be taken until Monday. But preliminary election numbers show that 556 Haines-area residents favored consolidation and 405 voted no. Most support came from city voters, with 493 voting in favor and 155 against. Outside city limits, 250 voters cast ballots opposing consolidation. Sixty-three were in favor.
City officials credited the favorable outcome to "diligence in responding to inquiries" regarding consolidation, Mayor Dave Black told the Chilkat Valley News.
"For those who voted for consolidation, I thank you," Black said. "For those who didn't, we hope you'll work with us and pull together for the good of the whole borough."
Consolidation opponent and borough resident Dianne Simanovicki said she was leery of the merger.
"I just don't trust it. People say nothing's going to change, but if that's the case, then why change things?"
"People are concerned the population base of the city could dominate and control the government," said consolidation opponent Peter Enticknap. "That could happen. But the next step is to elect an Assembly and see how it turns out."
If the vote holds up, voters will choose a new borough Assembly in October.