ANCHORAGE - Kenai Peninsula residents will get the last word in the private prison debate.
In a 9-0 vote Tuesday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved a ballot question that will be presented to voters at the Oct. 2 regular election.
If a majority of voters say yes, the borough can work with the state and a private contractor to build a prison that could hold up to 1,000 inmates.
A no vote would forbid the borough from going forward with a private prison project for at least two years.
A law was passed this year authorizing the state Department of Corrections to talk with the borough about putting what would be the Alaska's first privately operated prison on Kenai Natives Association land next to the state-run Wildwood medium-security prison just north of the city of Kenai.
The ballot question won support from prison opponents as well as Assembly members who see the project as an economic opportunity for the peninsula.