Proposition No. 5 gives Anchor Point residents chance to chart course

Posted: Friday, September 27, 2002

On Tuesday, Anchor Point area voters will decide whether to create a new Port and Harbor Service Area.

If enacted, Proposition No. 5 also will create a five-member port and harbor service area board. Voters will choose the board's members, who will only be seated if the proposition passes. If it does, the board's sole power will be to facilitate a study to determine the feasibility of building either a protected harbor or boat launch facility near Anchor Point.

The proposition came about through a citizen petition presented to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

Supporters of the measure say that a harbor facility will help spur economic growth in the area. They maintain that the area, which relies heavily on tourism and commercial fishing, needs a protected area from which to launch boats.

If the proposition passes, the board will then enlist the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who will carry out the study. Preliminary estimates indicate the study could cost in excess of $1 million.

Those who oppose the proposition argue that the creation of a new service area will unfairly tax those residents who have no interest in a new harbor. According to the proposition, residents living within the current Anchor Point Fire Service Area would be responsible for funding the study through an annual tax levy not to exceed 0.1 mills.

Additionally, some feel that Anchor Point is an unsuitable location for a harbor, and that such a facility would be costly to maintain. Corps of Engineers officials have voiced skepticism about the feasibility of a harbor facility, or even a launch facility. A quick look of the proposals showed the economics to be marginal at best.

Nevertheless, Anchor Point residents have the right to decide what direction they want their community to take. Whether or not the proposition passes, letting local voters decide the issue is the right course of action.

Anchor Point may or may not be suitable for a boat harbor -- that's what a feasibility study would determine. However, if voters feel they have enough information now to decide the idea is all wet, they can vote Tuesday to sink the plan.

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This week the Clarion has attempted to give voters a good idea of what faces them when they head to the polls Tuesday. It's an important election. Voters will pick a borough mayor and fill assembly and school board seats, as well as several city council positions. In addition, five propositions are on the ballot -- one for school board districting, another for general obligation bonds for solid waste disposal facilities, a third for general obligation bonds for a new Seward Middle School, another that would exempt all nonprepared food items from sales tax and one which would create an Anchor Point port and harbor service area. We encourage all voters to become familiar with the candidates and the issues -- and to contact candidates if they have questions about their positions. For readers' opinions about some of the candidates and issues, please see more letters on page A-5.

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