Ketchikan borough's annexation push angers some

Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) The Ketchikan Gateway Borough's push to annex thousands of acres of Southeast Alaska land has riled residents of two targeted communities.

The Borough Assembly voted this week to start the process of annexing 3,681 square miles of surrounding land, including Hyder and Meyers Chuck.

The move would more than double the borough's size from 1,751 square miles to 5,432. Assembly member Dick Coose said the expansion could bring in an additional $500,000 to $1 million in federal forest receipts.

But Hyder Community Association Administrator Paul Larkin said residents there fear they will pay taxes but won't get any real services from the borough.

Hyder is a community of about 90 people located just two miles from Stewart, British Columbia, and about 75 air miles from Ketchikan.

''I don't see them coming over here and maintaining roads,'' Larkin said. ''I don't see them providing sewer systems.''

Hyder resident Gary Benedict compared the proposal to the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

''We know what Kuwait felt,'' Benedict said. ''Leave us alone. We didn't do anything to you. We have no oil.''

Meyers Chuck resident Catherine Peavey said the community of eight year-round residents does not want or need any services from the borough. Meyers Chuck is 40 miles northwest of Ketchikan.

The Borough Assembly will consider final approval of the expansion ordinance Sept. 22. If the ordinance is approved, the borough would be required to hold a public hearing on its draft petition before submitting it to the state Local Boundary Commission for consideration.

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