Frequently Asked Questions
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incorporation" means the creation of a regional
municipal government to provide government and services
at the regional
level. There are four types of organized boroughs
in Alaska, with some differences in how they are organized
and varying powers and duties. These differences are
discussed in detail in the Department of Community and
Economic Development's Local
Government in Alaska
requires a big commitment of time and other resources. Before
making a decision to begin work on incorporation, a lot
of thought should be
given to researching and planning the process. The borough
incorporation process follows
a set chain of events, which formally begins when a signed
petition and other required documents are filed with the
Local Boundary Commission
(LBC). Staff from the Department of Community and Economic
Development (Commerce) then reviews the petition and documentation
and submits it to
the LBC with any recommendations.
This chapter provides
an overview of basic information about borough incorporation.
Incorporation is a complex matter that cannot be covered
completely in this brief
overview. This overview does, however, provide information
and links to applicable law, additional publications, and staff
available to provide assistance on borough incorporation.
Those interested in
incorporation, should carefully review the publications
identified in the Additional Sources of Information
section of this chapter.
are the available options for borough incorporation?
are four types of organized borough
in Alaska (unified home rule, home rule, first class, and
law requires organized boroughs to provide education on
an areawide basis (AS 29.35.160.
All organized boroughs must also provide planning, platting,
land use regulation, and tax collection and assessment
on an areawide basis. State law does not mandate boroughs
to provide any other particular service or facility; however,
each class of borough government has broad authority to
exercise powers. Every borough also has certain general
obligations, including annual audits or financial reports,
regular elections, codification of ordinances, regular
meetings of the borough assembly, etc.
proposing incorporation of a home rule borough (unified
or non-unified), petitioners must prepare a charter, which
is the equivalent of a local government constitution. It
is important to keep in mind that writing a charter requires
a lot of community know-how and commitment beyond that
required for incorporation of a general law borough.
can petition to incorporate?
government is usually created by a petition submitted by
voters within a region. (Although the State can create
borough governments on its own initiative, it has not done
so since 1963-64 when it incorporated eight boroughs.)
petition to incorporate a borough must be signed by at
of the number of voters inside home rule and first class
cities within the area proposed for borough incorporation
that voted during the last general election; and
of the number of voters outside home rule and first class
cities within the area proposed for borough incorporation
that voted during the last general election.
are the "pros" and "cons" of borough
and disadvantages of forming a new borough government will
vary depending on the community and the type of borough
proposed for incorporation. Generally, people supporting
incorporation stress that a borough would provide greater
local control and the means to provide essential local
services. People against incorporation generally focus
on new taxes and fees among the possible problems. Also,
if the community is within a city, critics frequently stress
that the city can provide any needed services, and that
a borough would just be an unnecessary additional layer
of government. It is important to explore the pros and
cons of incorporation carefully before beginning any work
there criteria that guide the development of a borough
the criteria are found in Article X of the Constitution of
the State of Alaska, AS
29.05.100, and 3 AAC
110.045 -.065 (See Alaska
These criteria should be carefully reviewed when deciding
whether to incorporate and what type of incorporation to
pursue. If the prospective petitioners decide to pursue
incorporation, the criteria should also be used to guide
the development of the petition. Commerce will frame its recommendation
to the LBC based on these criteria, and the LBC will apply
these same criteria to judge the merits of the petition.
boundaries are appropriate for a new borough?
governments are regionally-based municipalities. Legal
standards for borough boundaries are provided in Article
X (particularly Section 3) of the Constitution, AS
29.05.031 and 3
State grants available to study the feasibility and need
for a new borough government?
funding for studies of a prospective borough government
is not currently available.
the State provide technical assistance to citizens who
wish to incorporate?
the staff of the Local Boundary Commission
provides certain assistance to prospective petitioners.
Assistance includes providing petition forms and sample
successful proposals, consultation regarding policy issues,
guidance regarding technical matters and direction concerning
sources of information needed to complete a petition. While
the State can provide some assistance, the burden of preparing
a proper petition remains with the petitioners.
a group opposes incorporation, does the State assist
it as well?
The staff of the Local Boundary Commission
will also provide assistance to any individual and organization
that wishes to express views opposing an incorporation
proposal. Assistance to opponents might include providing
sample responsive briefs filed in opposition to prior petitions,
consultation regarding policy issues, guidance regarding
technical matters, and direction where fundamental information
is needed to complete a responsive brief in opposition
to a proposal can be obtained.
a petition be amended after it is filed?
the petitioners may amend the petition. The Local Boundary
Commission can also amend or impose conditions on an incorporation
proposal following a public hearing. Ideally, however,
with careful planning and proper consultation before the
filing of a petition, amendments can be avoided. Amending
a petition may, under certain circumstances, cause delays
in the consideration of the petition.
long does it take to incorporate?
takes several months (in some cases a year or more depending
on the local effort) to prepare a proper petition. Prospective
petitioners are encouraged to work closely with the LBC
staff in developing a petition. Once a petition is completed
and the necessary signatures have been gathered, the petition
is filed with the Local Boundary Commission. The process
for review of the proposal by the LBC typically takes about
one year. If the Commission approves the petition, the
State will conduct a local election on the matter. The
process for the incorporation election typically involves
about three months.
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may incorporate a borough government if it meets the standards
established in law (Article X of the Constitution
of the State of Alaska, AS
AAC 110.045 - .065, and 3
AAC 110.900 - .980).
must have an adequate economy, population, transportation,
and communication infrastructure to support the proposed
borough government. Moreover, the population of the region
must be socially, culturally, and economically interrelated
and integrated in a regional context. The proposed boundaries
must embody the characteristics intended for borough governments.
Also, the proposal must serve the broad policy benefit to
the public statewide.
1. Purpose and construction,
local self-government, local
2. Local self-government powers,
3. Boroughs, standards required
to be established, classification,
method of organization.
5. Service Areas, financing services.
14. Agency to advise and assist
29.04.020 -.030 General law
29.04.050 -.060 Borough reclassificationx
of a borough
or unified municipality,
maps, proposed operating
budget, signatures, powers.
decision criteria, appeal
under the Administrative
election, notification to
of elections, election
on incorporation, municipal
officials, voter qualifications,
of initial officials,
nomination form, elections
supervisor, terms in office.
of special districts
and service areas, time
limit, fees, taxes, assessments.
time limit; effect of ordinances,
of legality, time
44.33.810 (See Current
Local Boundary Commission,
44.33.812 Powers and Duties.
44.33.814 Meetings and Hearings.
44.33.816 Minutes and Records.
44.33.818 Notice of Public Hearings.
44.33.822 Boundary Change.
44.33.826 Hearings on boundary
44.33.828 When boundary changes
AAC 110.045 Community of interests
AAC 110.050 Population
AAC 110.055 Resources
AAC 110.060 Boundaries
AAC 110.065 Best interests of
AAC 110.400 Applicability
AAC 110.410 Petitioners authorized
petitioners, signature requirements.
AAC 110.420 Petition, form, supporting
AAC 110.425 Legislative review
AAC 110.430 Consolidation of
AAC 110.440 Technical review
of petitions, Commerce review, deficient
AAC 110.450 Notice of petition,
time limit and method for providing
AAC 110.460 Service of petition,
recipients and method of delivery,
availability of all petition
documents for public review.
AAC 110.470 Proof of notice and
AAC 110.480 Responsive briefs
and written comments, filing
with Commerce, affidavit of delivery
AAC 110.490 Reply brief, filing
with Commerce, affidavit of delivery
AAC 110.500 Limitations on advocacy,
adherence to regulations, commission
contact with interested parties.
AAC 110.510 Informational sessions,
Commerce determination of adequate
public information sessions,
AAC 110.520 Departmental public
meetings, notice, affidavit of
posting, presiding officer, meeting
summary, postponement, relocation.
AAC 110.530 Departmental report,
draft review and comment.
AAC 110.540 Amendments and withdrawal,
time limit, petition signatures,
AAC 110.550 Commission public
hearing, notice, public service
announcement, postponement, relocation.
AAC 110.560 Commission hearing
procedures, presiding officer,
commission quorum, limit on comments,
witnesses, sworn testimony, timely
submission of documents.
AAC 110.570 Decisional meeting,
time limit, commission quorum,
change to comply with law, minutes,
statement of considerations,
AAC 110.580 Reconsideration,
time limit, denial or acceptance
AAC 110.590 Certain local action
annexations, applicable regulations.
AAC 110.600 Local action/local
option elections, election by
director of elections under AS
15, election by municipality.
AAC 110.610 Legislative review,
amendment to consider as local
action/option procedure, legislative
review of commission decision.
AAC 110.620 Judicial review,
appeal and judicial review in
accordance with Administrative
AAC 110.630 Effective date and
certification, Voting Rights
Act approval, certification of
election, legislative review
deadline, certificate of change,
AAC 110.640 Scheduling, chairperson
order setting/amending schedule,
AAC 110.650 Resubmittals and
reversals, denial of previous
similar petition, request for
reversal of decision.
AAC 110.660 Purpose of procedural
regulations, relaxation or suspension
of procedural regulation, commission
AAC 110.900 Transition, submission
of transition plan; assumption
of powers, duties, responsibilities,
assets, and liabilities; time
limit on execution of plan; approved
AAC 110.910 Statement of non-discrimination.
AAC 110.920 Determination of
community, factors considered
in determining whether the term
AAC 110.970 Determination of
essential city or borough services,
AAC 110.980 Determination of
best interests of the state,
AAC 110.990 Definitions.
select "Landscape" in