A service area is a taxing jurisdiction within the borough that has been established to provide a special service such as road maintenance or fire protection.
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The service area sponsor and staff in the Rural Services Division draft the preliminary boundary. Staff completes a technical review and the site visit to ensure that certain criteria are considered.
The sponsor submits a completed application to the Rural Services Division prior to the application deadline. After the request has been reviewed, staff will prepare a petition, a map of the proposed annexation, and a current tax roll of property owners. These materials are given to the sponsor.
The petition is a means to involve property owners in the request for a service area. Once the required signatures are obtained, it serves as evidence that there is sufficient interest to proceed with the request.
Any legal property owner as shown on the current property tax roll, within the area proposed for annexation, may sign the petition.
Property owner(s) of at least 51% of the property in the proposed service area or the proposed annexation must sign the petition. If a property owner(s) owns more than 25% of the property being proposed, their signature is required for the process to move forward.
The petition signatures are verified to confirm that the required number of signatures are affixed, and are those of valid property owners within the area proposed for annexation to the proposed service area. Rural Services staff prepares a report, an appropriate boundary map, and ordinance that are presented to the Borough Assembly for action. An informational public meeting is held for all affected owners.
All affected property owners are sent written notification of when the ordinance is to be considered by the Assembly. If an annexation to an existing service area is proposed, the commissioners of that service area are notified as well. Public testimony from all interested parties, both pro and con, is taken at the time the ordinance is considered for adoption. After consideration of the issues presented, the Assembly takes action on the ordinance, which may be passed as presented, amended, or defeated. If the ordinance is adopted, an election date is set. The results of the election are a simple majority of those who vote.
Alaska state statutes require two elections if a boundary change is recommended: one election of the voters in the existing service area and one election of the voters in the proposed area. Both elections must pass for the change to take place.
Any qualified voter who lives within the boundaries of the proposed service area or proposed annexation can vote. A qualified voter is anyone who is over 18 years of age, a registered voter, and lives in the proposed or parent service area at least 30 days before the election.
The borough mayor appoints volunteers to serve as commissioners. These appointments are confirmed by the Borough Assembly. People who apply for commission seats must be registered voters living within the boundaries of the service area. The volunteer commissioners manage the service area business.
Depending on the type of service area, there may be a combination of funding sources available: