Petersburg’s borough assembly is backing new legislative districts for Southeast Alaska proposed by the state Senate minority.
The assembly Monday passed a resolution supporting a plan that would put Petersburg in a House district with Wrangell, Sitka, Kake and northern Prince of Wales Island, along with Hoonah, Gustavus and Yakutat.
The resolution says that Petersburg shares the social and economic interests of these smaller communities. Assembly member Dave Kensinger thought it was a better option that grouping Petersburg with larger Southeast cities.
“I’ll be supporting this one because of all the proposals this does not combine us with Juneau or Ketchikan and I think it’s in our best interest to be with smaller communities in the region,” Kensinger said.
Petersburg opposed a plan a decade ago that put the community in the same House district with part of Juneau. That was ultimately rejected by a court challenge and Petersburg ended up back in a Sitka district.
This year’s plan proposed by the Senate minority is closer to the status quo, although it adds Wrangell and Yakutat to the Sitka district but drops Craig and Klawock. Other proposals would put Petersburg in a Ketchikan or Juneau House district, or make other changes to the Sitka district.
The state board has until November 10th to come up with its final plan for new districts.
In other votes the assembly also approved the third and final readings of revised ordinances on disease control and garbage collection. The disease control revision removes language that gives the local health officer the authority to force vaccination. It does allow for that health officer to require examination or quarantine for someone coming into Petersburg who may have an infectious disease. It also sets standards for a local health order and creates a fine for someone who does not comply. The other ordinance will mean an increase in garbage collection rates, three percent a year for five years. That starts next July. That revision also creates a step system of fines for people who don’t secure garbage. And it will reduce recycling collection to every other week.