It’s official. Petersburg is now a borough.
The state’s Division of Elections certified the town’s borough vote Thursday January 3rd and the final results did not change from the initial counts in December. The final tally is 782 votes in favor and 600 opposed.
The certification marks the official beginning of the Petersburg borough, a new municipality encompassing 3,829 square miles of land and water in central Southeast Alaska.
Brent Williams, a local government specialist with the state’s Local Boundary Commission, said all the requirements have been met. “The city of Petersburg is dissolved and the borough is formed. There’s no other announcement. The two things that were required have been done,” Williams said, noting those last two requirements were approval by the voters and by the federal government. “The Department of Justice had to notify us that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been complied with and we received such a letter. The second thing is that certification had to be approved of the legally required voter approval of the commission’s final decision from the director of elections and we did receive notification from elections that the results have been certified,” Williams said.
The Local Boundary Commission decided last summer that’s Petersburg petition for a new borough met state standards, although the commission approved a different northern boundary than originally sought by Petersburg. The city and borough of Juneau submitted a petition seeking to annex some of the territory on the northern end of Petersburg’s proposed borough and has appealed the boundary commission’s decision in court. That case is still pending.
Meanwhile, Petersburg becomes the 19th organized borough in the state of Alaska. And the first meeting of the Petersburg Borough Assembly is this Monday, January 7 at 7:00 p.m.