It looks like voters in the Petersburg borough will be deciding a long list of elected positions and ballot questions this October. Voters will be deciding as many as seven ballot questions and filling 23 spots on various boards and commissions.
The borough election is October 3rd and there are many opportunities to serve this year. Borough clerk Debbie Thompson reported to the borough assembly about the 23 positions that need candidates this fall.
“Hopefully we’ll have enough candidates to put somebody in every position,” Thompson said. “We have a two-year term for mayor. We have two three-year terms for assembly members, two assembly members three-year terms, two school board members, one three-year term, one two-year term, five hospital board members, two three-year terms and three two-year terms, four planning commissioners.”
There are also three seats on each of the library, harbor and public safety board.
Some of the seats require filling out a candidacy form and fund raising exemption form with the borough clerk. Other positions like the mayor, assembly, school and hospital boards require gathering signatures to support a candidacy. Voters in 2015 agreed to remove a requirement for financial disclosure in hopes that more people would be encouraged to run for local office.
As of this week, only one candidate has expressed interest so far. Richard Burke, supporter of the ATV ballot initiative, has filed to run for one of the open assembly seats.
The deadline to file as a candidate is August 22nd at 5 p.m.
Ballot questions may be as many as seven this year. Citizens initiatives on ATV use on borough roads and whether to continue adding fluoride to the local water supply will be up for a vote. That’s on top of five other questions. One would allow the city of Kupreanof to own and operate the dock on Kupreanof. That’s in anticipation of the state deciding to transfer the dock to that city.
There are also two sales tax questions. One seeks to increase the sales tax cap. Another seeks to end an exemption for non-residents purchasing goods or services in person here in Petersburg and having those items shipped out of town.
Another question seeks voter approval to spend up to half a million dollars from Petersburg’s economic fund for a small vessel haul out yard in Scow Bay.
And there’s also a question on whether to continue a property tax exemption for buildings with sprinkler systems. That exemption is claimed on 25 structures in the borough, saving those property owners a combined total of $3200 dollars annually. It’s up for a vote because the legislature made the exemption optional this year.
“Please register to vote,” urged assembly member Jeigh Stanton Gregor. “It is our duty as citizens 18 and older so please do so. And if you’re feeling even more inclined submit a letter and run for office, also a great thing to do as part of your civic duty.”
The deadline for voter registration is September 3rd.