Nikiski voters shoot down law enforcement service area

Nikiski area residents shot down a law enforcement service area in Tuesday’s municipal election.

Barring any changes after absentee ballots are counted, Proposition 2 failed with 541 votes cast against it and 399 votes in favor of it.

The measure asked Nikiski voters to approve the creation of a Nikiski Law Enforcement Service Area along with a five-member board to tackle the issue of crime in the area. The board would have taken office immediately following the election.

Prospective service area board member Ben Carpenter said that although the issue of crime is not going away, the point was always to inform the public about the problem.

“Ann (Dooley-Krogseng) and I talked about this early on, and we always felt that it was what needed to happen … to present this to the public and see what they had to say,” Carpenter said.

The measure also sought voter approval for a 1.5 mill rate levy increase, or an extra $150 per $100,000 of assessed property value for each taxpayer in the service area boundaries, which would have mirrored the Nikiski Fire Service Area’s boundaries.

Despite the outcome, Carpenter said the Nikiski community has pulled together throughout the process of learning about the proposed service area.

“We’re better off now,” he said.

Voting in the Nikiski precinct was slow to start Tuesday morning but began to pick up around 1 p.m. at the North Peninsula Recreation Center. Election Board Chairman Betty Idleman said Nikiski usually sees about half of its registered voters show up at the polls.

At the Salamatof poll location, there was a steady stream of voters for at least the first half of the day, said Election Board member Marian Nickelson. Turnout really depends on what’s on the ballot from year to year, she said.

Some Nikiski voters said they shot down the proposed service area because they felt it needed to be further defined and organized.

“I just think that there needs to be more thought into it instead of raising property taxes,” said Nikiski resident LeAnn McGahan. “I don’t want us to have to pay for it out of our pockets with the property taxes. I want to look into it a little further.”

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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