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Monday, February 19 2018 @ 12:39 AM AKST

Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates?

Op-Edby Harry Thomas

I love our small community and have spent countless hours working to improve it over the last 10 years.

It’s a small community but it has a very split economic diversity. Approximately 20% are modestly well off living in fairly nice homes on lakes and or large parcels of land, the other 80% are living paycheck to paycheck and live in the area due to the low cost of homes and property. This diversity is one of my biggest concerns with the incorporation. While to some paying a little more to improve roads and have a local government is a great idea, to many that are living paycheck to paycheck, barely making it, this could be the thing that sinks their dreams of having their own piece of land and home.

A look at history tells us that governments always grows, takes more power, and costs more money than anyone ever imagines at the start. They always have a small group that has plans and dreams that feel it’s for the best of the community and push to accomplish this with other people’s money. But the guy that is working his ass off and does not have time to go to all the meetings does not end up getting a say how his money (taxes) gets spent.

By voting for incorporation despite what the pamphlet says you are agreeing and authorizing a 7 member city council authority to administer a city budget as they see fit (only four votes are needed to pass anything) to care for and maintain our roads. As part of this authorization they will be able to raise your property taxes as they see fit to cover the budget. The cap to raise those taxes without your consent is 20 mills ($2,000 per $100,000) of value on your property. We will continue to pay all but RSA taxes that the MSB requires so this is on top of what we pay the MSB always. At this time they show it will be budget neutral 2.57 mills $257 a year per $100,000.

The roads that we will be taking responsibility for, are by the MSB standards, 98% SUBSTANDARD. That means 98% have problems and need to have work done. The incorporation people feel that they can do a better job fixing and maintaining the roads than the MSB. At the Local Boundary Commission board hearings they estimated it could be hundreds of millions of dollars to fix the roads. The base of their savings is they feel they can change (lower per MSB) the standard of design and maintenance on less traveled roads. So the 3,500 residents of Big Lake are saying we want our roads fixed and we are giving this city council of 7 the authority to do this by taxing us up to $2,000 per $100,000 value of your home.

Do you really want to vote yes to this?

As far as I’m concerned the roads are not great but I can live with them.

As far as a say at the table our community council has the right and authority now to go and address the MSB at every assembly meeting to be heard. I have always found them willing to listen and investigate issues. It’s not perfect but it does work. The key is we need to speak up to be heard.

Harry Thomas Big Lake AK

For more on this topic see Big Lake City

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Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates? | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates?
Authored by: Shannon on Friday, September 11 2015 @ 11:34 AM AKDT
Well-written and thought-provoking Letter. Where did you get the source for your stats?
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Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates?
Authored by: A Big Lake Resident on Friday, September 11 2015 @ 02:31 PM AKDT
Seconded. This is a topic of interest to me, as a long time resident, property and business owner.
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Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 11 2015 @ 11:42 AM AKDT
"The key is we need to speak up to be heard."

There ya go. IMO we probably don't have ALL the Facts, but I have a suspicious mind anyway. I don't see this as an "Us Vs. Them" issue so much as which is better? Will we be better off, or worse off?

Thanks for letting me post anonymously.
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Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates?
Authored by: Anna on Friday, September 11 2015 @ 03:09 PM AKDT
Great letter.
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Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 13 2015 @ 08:23 AM AKDT
Interesting, I'd like to see what the Yes people have to say.
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Letter to the Editor: What are we really voting on if Big Lake incorporates?
Authored by: Editor on Tuesday, September 15 2015 @ 07:26 AM AKDT
Anyone is free to comment or submit articles to The Big Lake Times, and equal space is given to all sides of a viewpoint.
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