by Phillip Manning ~ April 16th, 2014
Tuesday evening, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly voted to amend an ordinance that could result in a redrawing of the voting districts of the Borough. Assembly Member Steve Colligan, who sponsored the ordinance, says that the goal is to align the Borough’s districts with the state’s voting precincts.
Vern Halter, Assembly Member for District 7, which includes the Upper Valley, took issue with the original redrawing of district lines. The original plan would have included most of the land in District 7 east of Talkeetna being moved to District 1, which mostly covers the southeastern portion of the Borough. Assembly Member Halter says that the northern portion of that land has traditionally been part of District 7, and the four residents in the area are often dependent on Talkeetna for airborne transportation and resupply.
Mike Wood, resident of the Chase Community, said at the meeting that the original plan would mean that the community council area would be split into two Borough districts. Jok Bondurant, Talkeetna-based pilot and KTNA board of directors member, testified that the area in question was tied more to Talkeetna via the airport than to other areas of the Borough.
An amendment, offered by Assembly Member Halter, kept the northern portion of the land in question as part of District 7, and ceded land closer to the Hatcher Pass area to District 1. Jim Sykes, Assembly Member for District 1, said he did not object to the amendment, and it passed unanimously. The ordinance as a whole also passed without objection. The final decision will be up to Borough voters during the October election.