LBC Passes Resolution on Nushagak District Annexation
Alaska’s Local Boundary Commission recently held a meeting in Anchorage to discuss the petition to annex the Nushagak Fishing District. KDLG's Chase Cavanaugh has more.
The City of Dillingham filed a petition to annex 396 square miles of Nushagak Bay in 2011, which would allow it to impose a 2.5% fishing tax. The petition was struck down by Alaska Superior Court in February of this year, however, with the judge contending that outlying native villages weren’t able to voice their concerns through the traditional voting method. The court order remanded the petition, and told the Local Boundary Commission to process it by legislative review.
At Wednesday’s LBC meeting, the goal was to pass a resolution ordering Dillingham to refile its petition, but this time, have it approved via legislative review. At the meeting, Dillingham City Attorney Brooks Chandler expressed concern that the resolution would force Dillingham to start the petition process anew.
"My concern is simply that the whereas clause could be read to commit the commission to reconsider the substantive standards for annexation that have already been gone through and resulted in a written decision, as opposed to considering whether the city has already properly held the prefiling hearing that the court required, and I wouldn't want that decision to be made months before a petition had actually crossed the threshold of the commission after the public hearing."
Despite these concerns, the resolution was passed as written. The commissioners said concerns about substantive standards could be addressed closer to or during the pre-submission hearing, which will occur in September. Full text of the resolution, as well as meeting minutes and comments, can be found at the LBC’s website.