Petersburg’s borough assembly has a full agenda for it’s first meeting of September and will consider a letter to the Alaska Mental Health Trust and an excise tax on marijuana.

The assembly meets Tuesday, September 6 and will consider sending a letter urging the Mental Health Trust and U.S. Forest Service to go forward with a land exchange, instead of logging land near Petersburg.

The Trust board of trustees last month voted to go forward with logging parcels in Petersburg and Ketchikan early next year if a land swap is not approved in Congress before that. The Trust has been interested in swapping the Ketchikan and Petersburg parcels with other timber lands on the Tongass National Forest but now wants to go ahead with logging if that exchange isn’t approved by the middle of January 2017.

The Alaska Mental Health Trust owns land above Mitkof Highway from Scow Bay to Twin Creek south of Petersburg. (KFSK file photo)

The Alaska Mental Health Trust owns land above Mitkof Highway from Scow Bay to Twin Creek south of Petersburg. (KFSK file photo)

A group of Petersburg residents, the Mitkof Highway Homeowners Association is requesting records from the Trust about that decision and is questioning whether that board violated the state’s open meetings act with that vote. The homeowners have been opposing plans to log the steep hillside above Mitkof Highway for the past decade, because of the threat of landslides. The group has documented slides that have occurred over the past three decades along Mitkof Highway and says logging will increase that threat above their homes.

Also Tuesday, the assembly will consider the first reading of an ordinance for a proposed local excise tax on growing, manufacturing and sale of marijuana in the borough. That tax as proposed would be $25 per ounce on wholesale sales by growers and manufacturers, along with 50 cents per gram charged at retail stores. Borough voters in October will be deciding if commercial growing, manufacture and sales will even be allowed in the borough. The proposed excise tax could be a source of revenue for the borough if it passes the assembly and voters OK the industry in Petersburg.

Also on the agenda are two resolutions on refunding and re-issuing bond debt for a lower interest rate.

Because of the Labor Day Holiday on Monday, the assembly meets at noon on Tuesday, September 6th in the conference room at the Hallingstad-Peratrovich Building on Twelfth Street. KFSK will broadcast the meeting live.