Eagle River Valley residents mull Fire Service Area annexation

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 14:54

Eagle River residents will likely vote on whether to annex the Eagle River Valley into the existing Anchorage Fire Service Area.

Anchorage Assemblywoman Amy Demboski introduced an ordinance to call for the vote at the assembly’s Jan. 9 meeting. The ordinance will get a public hearing Jan. 23 and, if approved, would add the item to the April 3 municipal election ballot.

The existing FSA ends at mile 5.84 of Eagle River Road, less than halfway down the 12-mile road that ends at the Eagle River Nature Center. Anyone outside that area is responsible for paying for any fire response — at a cost of $500 for the first hour and $100 per additional hour for each apparatus — out of their own pocket.

According to the municipality, there are about 500 residential parcels located outside the FSA.

By voting to include themselves in the FSA, Eagle River Valley residents would gain municipal fire protection, but at a cost. According to the muni, the cost has averaged $229 per $100,000 of assessed value, meaning a $300,000 home would see a yearly assessment of about $700.

By voting against the measure, Valley residents would be keeping the status quo and potentially incurring tens of thousands of costs if their homes catch fire.

The measure must be passed separately by both incoming FSA homeowners and the existing FSA. If either group votes against annexation, the measure fails.

Election filing opens Jan. 19

Anyone with aspirations of running the state’s largest city can start their quest Friday, Jan. 19 when candidates can begin filing for office in the April 3 municipal election.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is expected to file for re-election. In addition to his seat, there are also two open seats on the school board and various service area and board of supervisors positions available.

Filing runs through Friday, Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. Candidates hoping to run can find filing forms online at muni.org/elections or at the Clerk’s Office in City Hall Downtown, or at the MOA Election Center at 619 E. Ship Creek Ave., Suite 100.

The April election will be the first time the muni uses Vote by Mail. Rather than traditional polling locations, voters will sign and return ballots by mail or drop them in secure drop boxes set up for that purpose. Packets will be mailed to voters three weeks before the election.

For more information on the election, visit muni.org or contact Anchorage Votes education and outreach coordinator Carolyn Hall at (907) 343-4764.

CORRECTION: The Jan. 18, 2018 print edition version of this story incorrectly said a West Anchorage assembly seat is up for election; no assembly seats are up until 2019.

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