Voters in Petersburg overwhelmingly voted to keep a senior citizen exemption for sales tax Tuesday and they also said yes to a new tobacco tax.
Proposition two, which would have meant no new tax exemption cards for seniors after 2019 went down in a landslide. In unofficial results, 816 people voted no, compared to 186 in favor. That means the senior exemption will remain even after 2019.
Another proposed change to the senior tax break, limiting it to purchases of groceries and heating fuel, also was rejected. The margin was a little smaller. 754 voters said no to that change compared to only 253 voting yes.
Voters did approve two changes to the senior exemption. It will no longer be available to Alaska residents from outside the Petersburg borough. Proposition three is passing with 589 in favor and 413 against. Voters also approved a residency requirement for seniors who want the exemption. That proposition is passing with 745 in favor, and 262 voting no.
And it also looks like voters did support a new excise tax on cigarettes, tobacco and e-cigarettes. There were 542 yes votes to 465 no votes on proposition seven. That will mean two dollars a pack on cigarettes starting in January. That money will be collected by the borough.
Another question was on the sales tax cap in the community and voters said no to an increase. 565 people voted no, while 437 said yes. That measure sought to increase the tax cap to $2000. Instead, sales tax for all customers will continue to be charged on only the first 12-hundred dollars on a large purchase.
Voters also said no to opting out of the state’s financial disclosure requirements for local candidates. 515 people voted no on proposition one, while 484 voted YES. That means people on the borough assembly, school board, hospital board and planning and zoning commission will need to continue to file income information with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
In the only contested race for two seats on the borough assembly, the two incumbents will be returning to those seats. Cindi Lagoudakis has 637 votes and Bob Lynn has 606, while Marc Martinsen has 373. Lagoudakis and Lynn will remain on the assembly and they’ll be joined by Kurt Wohlhueter and Jeigh Stanton Gregor who were running unopposed.
The turnout was one thousand and 15 people. That’s a turnout of 39 percent.
The results are unofficial. There still could be some mail in absentee ballots to count on Friday and a few questioned ballots but nothing to change any of the results. The borough assembly will finalize the numbers at 10 a.m. Friday.