AP NEWS

Council votes against ‘Eaglexit’ plan to leave Anchorage

October 24, 2019 GMT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — One of six community councils representing the Chugiak-Eagle River area wants to disassociate itself from a movement to detach the area from the Municipality of Anchorage, officials said.

The Eklutna Valley Community Council voted 15-1 against continuing as a participant in the “Eaglexit” movement, The Chugiak-Eagle River Star reported Wednesday.

Eaglexit evolved earlier this year as a proposal to explore the possibility of forming a new government for Assembly District 2 separate from Anchorage. Supporters argued they could create a more efficient form of local government that would be more responsive to local concerns.

The Eklutna Valley council is the first in the area northeast of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to take a position on the plan. The area is sparsely populated but includes Eklutna Lake, which supplies the municipality with most of its water and much of its electricity, officials said.

The council is not convinced Eaglexit organizers can provide the same level of city services for lower taxes, its resolution said, noting other parts of the state that already have higher taxes than Anchorage.

“We’re kind of raising a red flag and saying don’t count on us,” said Eklutna Valley Council Vice President Rick Sinnott.

The council’s resolution cites a 2007 study that found detachment could cause property taxes to rise for the same level of services and points to relatively low rates for Chugiak-Eagle River residents relative to other Anchorage property tax payers.

The 11-member Anchorage Assembly is out of touch with Chugiak-Eagle River’s typically more conservative constituency and the area is underrepresented in local politics, Eaglexit backers have said.

“We’re in a minority as far as the conservative-liberal mix in the city right now, but in the past there’s been more conservative assemblies too,” Sinnott said.