The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly could be offering some opinion on annexation proceedings in Soldotna when it meets next.
A resolution sponsored by the mayor’s office and assembly member Norm Blakely asks the rest of the assembly to only support the city’s efforts at annexation if residents are allowed to vote. The mayor’s Chief of Staff, John Quick, says they support whatever the city of Soldotna moves ahead with, as long there’s a vote.
“Currently, the folks they’re trying to annex are represented by the borough. We’re their representation. Our opinion is any annexation should be put to the vote. At this point, the city is not interested in that. Really, that’s what the resolution is. We’re not against annexation, we’re against the way they’re doing it.”
The city is currently working on a draft annexation proposal to be reviewed by the state Local Boundary Commission. If that body signs off on the plan, it will go to the state legislature where, if no action is taken to defeat the annexation, the plan will go ahead. Quick says that stage of the process also offers a chance for affected residents to weigh in.
“I think they can engage with their legislators and there’s also a public comment opportunity when the boundary commission actually has it before them and has a ruling on it. Folks can show up to that hearing and voice their concerns as well.”
The previous borough administration didn’t wade too deeply into the debate about annexation, but Quick says borough residents have been clear to the current administration about what should be done.
“The borough mayor is an elected official and he’s charged to represent the people of this borough and as the city is trying to annex people, we’re their voice and so we’re just trying to offer a voice to the folks that have said time and time again they’re opposed to this.”
The draft annexation plan is expected later this fall and will receive a public hearing before being sent to the state for further review.