The first draft of a Prince of Wales Island borough formation study shows that a new borough might need to impose taxes in order to function.
The study by Sheinberg Associates estimated a revenue gap between zero and $2.5 million. That range takes into account estimated state and federal funds the borough might receive, and the types of services the borough would provide.
The biggest expense for the new borough would be education. The new Prince of Wales Island school district would include schools now run by the cities of Craig, Klawock and Hydaburg, and all Southeast Island School District schools.
The required local contribution for education would increase by about $300,000. However, individual communities already provide more than their required contributions, so the total increase would be just under $150,000.
Other responsibilities the new borough would have include planning and zoning, and tax collection.
A new POW borough would receive about 5,600 acres of state land to assist in operations. That’s a small area compared with other Alaska boroughs, according to the study. A new borough can select 10 percent of vacant, unappropriated and unreserved state land within its boundaries.
The communities included in the proposed boundaries are Point Baker, Point Protection, Whale Pass, Edna Bay, Coffman Cove, Naukati, Klawock, Craig, Hollis, Thorne Bay, Kasaan and Hydaburg. An option would include Port Alexander.
The draft report was submitted to allow POW officials to comment. The Point Baker Community Association already has voted against joining a new borough. A final version of the study is due April 22nd. The draft report is available at http://www.sheinbergassociates.com/prince-wales-island-borough-feasibility-study