State seeks comment on petition to incorporate Nikiski

NIKISKI — The Local Boundary Commission is seeking public comment on a petition to make Nikiski its own home-rule city.

The group Citizens for Nikiski Inc. has submitted a petition to the state for signature verification that proposes city limits follow the boundaries of the current Nikiski Fire and Emergency Service Area, which stretches across Cook Inlet to include the Alaska Native villages of Tyonek and Beluga, The Peninsula Clarion reported.

According to the group’s website, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development — of which the Local Boundary Commission is a part — concluded the petition was substantially complete on Dec. 30. State officials still need to approve the petition after a public review process. The incorporation will then be subject to a vote by registered voters within the proposed city.

If the petition is approved as written, the city of Nikiski will include 5,480 square miles, an area slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut.

Supporters of incorporation say the effort would ensure residents’ tax dollars are used locally. They also say incorporation would give incoming businesses a local government to contact.

Currently, as an unincorporated community, Nikiski’s immediate governing authority is the Kenai Peninsula Borough government, with service areas set up for its fire and emergency medical services, roads, recreation and senior services.

The petition proposed Nikiski as a home-rule city, the same status as Homer, Seldovia, Seward, Kenai and Soldotna, with an eight-member council and a voting mayor.

Anyone wishing to review the petition and offer public comment can do so at a number of locations including the Nikiski Post Office, the Nikiski Library, the Native Village of Tyonek Tribal Office in Tyonek and on the websites of both Citizens for Nikiski Inc. and the Local Boundary Commission.

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