The Kodiak city manager’s office presented a draft white paper and some FAQs about annexation at a work session Tuesday.
The two proposed areas of annexation include Annexation North and Annexation South. Annexation North includes Kodiak Island Borough’s Service District 1 and undeveloped city property and the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Annexation South includes about 2 square miles from the southern border for the city’s existing boundaries to the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport. There are seven primary landowners, the largest being the Natives of Kodiak. The city owns about 200 acres of land in this area.
At the meeting, City Council members discussed population growth as a big reason for annexation.
“An annexation typically occurs in response to growth … of the community,” Whiddon said. “As a community expands its boundaries, then the city should expand its boundaries to incorporate that growth, and that’s the reason I would pursue this.”
Council Member Terry Haines said he has heard from community members that voting is the main reason some of the public would like the land to be annexed.
“I think it’s about franchising voters who don’t have the ability to vote now,” Haines said.
“I would argue, we are including voters that really should have the ability to vote because they essentially live in our community. Adjacent to our community is our community. They come to town and are taxed with all their sales taxes, which is the bulk of our (city) budget.”
Whiddon noted that the proposed areas to be annexed are the more residential areas that already benefit from many of the city’s services.
Whiddon noted that annexation could also help determine where the new fire station should be built if the area receiving emergency services were to expand, he said.
In 1999 221 residents in service district 1 signed a petition to be annexed, said Deputy City Manager Josie Bahnke.
“They had that rural loan program for housing and that really shot down (the vote to annex). I’ve been talking to a few people there are mixed feelings about it, but as long as we educate people about it,” Council Member Richard Walker said.
The city manager said annexation discussions should evaluate whether it will make sense fiscally to expand the city’s borders.
Whiddon said there is also a need to evaluate how expanding the city’s boundaries would impact the services provided to the potential annexed areas.
What would happen to the Alaska State Troopers if the city were to expand its services to the increased area, Whiddon asked the council.
Whiddon advised city staff to include a list of pros and cons of increasing the city’s boundaries to better educate the community about annexation.
The proposed white paper and FAQ documents will be revised with the council members’ comments, Bahnke said.