A question on the remote Frederick Point East subdivision on Mitkof Island near Petersburg is one step closer to going before voters this fall.
The measure would ask voters whether to remove the subdivision from Petersburg’s service area one, paving the way for a lower property tax for the land and cabins on the eastern side of the island. Land owners have asked for a lower tax rate because they don’t receive the same services extended to more populated parts of borough.
“This is an idea that people have been talking about for years about a differential tax structure for people who own property in remote locations that for me if you’re not getting sewer, water, fire, police protection and you’re not on the road system I personally don’t feel you should be paying the same taxes as myself or somebody else who lives more or less in town,” said assembly member Jeff Meucci, supporting the change.
The borough estimates it would lose about 10,000 dollars a year with the lower tax rate for those properties. Finance Director Jody Tow said the assessments for the remote land already reflect the remote nature of that land. She also had some other concerns with making the change.
“There are other properties in service area one that aren’t on the road system so perhaps this might open up another can of worms,” Tow said.
To further complicate that can of worms, the borough also has different level of utilities available depending on where you are within service area one. And it extends some services like snow plowing to Papke’s Landing outside of the service area.
Some assembly members want to have the larger discussion about multiple different areas in the borough with different tax rates reflecting different services.
Assembly member Dave Kensinger envisioned three different areas of the borough.
“One if you have road, sewer and water, and electricity, and another tax structure if you have road, and electricity and garbage and other services, and then another tax structure that if you don’t have any services at all,” Kensinger described. “So we basically have three different areas, three different tax structures that we could look at throughout the entire borough. I understand that this would require a change in the charter but as director Tow has pointed out going forward the borough’s going to be receiving a lot of property in remote locations and I think as the community continues to grow, going out the road, we need to take a look at that. I think people are expecting and wanting more services.”
Petersburg’s charter is set up for residents in remote areas who want additional services to form a new service area with an additional tax to support that service.
The assembly voted 6-0 to approve the Frederick Point ballot question in its second reading. It has one more reading before it will go to the October ballot. It will need approval by voters within service area one as well as Frederick Point East land owners.