KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Voters have overwhelmingly rejected consolidating the governments of the city of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.
A third and final tally of ballots shows that 58 percent of voters in the mail-ballot election opposed the move. Opposition was even higher among voters outside the city.
The election was conducted using a novel mail ballot, with the deadline for submitting ballots July 17.
According to the state Division of Elections, 2,271 voters, or 58 percent, opposed the consolidation petition in the final count, while 1,638 people voted for the merger.
Borough residents living outside of the city overwhelmingly opposed the petition, with 1,640 voters, or 78 percent, voting ''no.''
The consolidation move was opposed by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The borough assembly approved spending $15,000 to oppose the consolidation proposition. The Ketchikan City Council spent $25,000 to support the idea.
The borough said the merger would have meant increased property tax rates outside the city, with the extension of 10 city services to the entire borough.
Voter turnout for the mail-in election was 39.8 percent. The state Review Board is meeting Thursday to certify the election.
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