Deltana Borough organizers expect public vote

Opponents argue area can't support expected costs of government

Posted: Sunday, July 17, 2005

Alaska could get its first new borough government in more than a decade if organizers in the city of Delta Junction are successful in establishing the proposed Deltana Borough.

Borough supporters say they expect to submit a petition to the state's Local Boundary Commission by August. Opponents, however, argue the area will be unable to support the costs of a borough government without imposing property taxes.

City consultant Lamar Cotton said the Delta Junction City Council formed a commission last year to write a proposed charter for the borough government.

He said the group is poised to file a petition with the state's Local Boundary Commission once it has completed negotiations on how it will tax companies developing the Pogo gold mine near Delta Junction.

The borough government would represent about 5,000 residents in the area and replace the city government of Delta Junction, which represents about 900 residents, Cotton said. It would have the authority to levy taxes and exercise authority over education, planning, platting and land-use regulations.

Delta Junction City Administrator Pete Hallgren said the Legislature currently acts as the assembly for the unorganized borough.

"The Legislature has never officially acted in that capacity," he said.

He said many tasks such as road plowing are now handled by volunteers.

Acquiring the ability to hold bond elections to build schools and other necessary infrastructure is one of the major benefits of forming a borough, Hallgren said.

Dan Bockhorst, staff to the Local Boundary Commission, said the Deltana Borough would be the first borough created since 1992.

He said Boundary Commission staff would review the petition and send it out for public comment. The commission staff will issue a recommendation to the five-member Boundary Commission. Following another round of public comments, the commission will render a decision to approve, reject or amend the proposal.

If the commission approves the borough plan, it will go to a public vote of residents living within the boundaries of the proposed borough.

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