Community should be involved in Nikiski incorporation discussion

  • Saturday, June 4, 2016 2:50pm
  • Opinion

This past week a group of Nikiski residents presented their ideas for incorporating their community.

The plan, in essence, would establish a home-rule charter, designating powers to a council and mayor to oversee the services currently under the purview of borough government.

Under its current government structure, Nikiski has a number of service area boards — fire service, recreation, and senior services, for example — that function in an advisory role to the borough government, and elected representatives on the borough assembly and board of education.

The Nikiski Citizens Incorporation Study group has been working on its plan for about two years, consulting with various entities, studying other municipal charters and learning about the incorporation process for the Alaska Local Boundary Commission.

The idea of incorporation in Nikiski has come up from time to time over the years, particularly in conjunction with law enforcement issues. While the current proposal does not include plans for a law enforcement agency — Alaska State Troopers would continue to fill that role — continued growth and a changing population in the area make it a good time for residents to evaluate what they want from government, and whether more localized control would be beneficial to the community.

Nikiski has seen quite a bit of population growth in recent years and the North Road is now a community of nearly 6,000 people — similar in size to Kenai and Soldotna. Looking ahead, it will be crucial to involve as many of those residents as possible in the incorporation discussion to ensure that the vision for Nikiski’s future reflects the wishes of the whole community, and not just the views of a specific segment of the population.

It will also be important to remember that, while it will be constrained by the charter document, individuals elected to office may have a different view on what government should be. While that may cause some heartburn, incorporating new ideas is also how communities successfully manage growth and change.

We encourage all Nikiski residents to become involved in the discussion, and should an incorporation measure make it to the ballot, to become well informed on the subject before heading to the polls.

Like it or not, growth in Nikiski means change is happening. We’re glad to see Nikiski residents taking an active role in managing that change. Whether residents decide to maintain the status quo or to establish their own government, we’re looking forward to a discussion that brings together the whole community.

More in Opinion

Sarah Vance (Photo provided)
Point of View: A moment of agony for Sarah Vance, and for Homer

The emotions driving Sarah Vance to the brink of tears during her agonizing silence in front of the Legislature suggested a battle of ideas

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Millions needed for Alaska’s child care sector

Without public investment, Alaska will continue to witness an inadequate and diminishing supply of child care services

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks about teacher bonuses during consideration a bill increasing state funds for public education in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Time to disrupt our legislative process

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Fishing, energy move into spotlight

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of debating an omnibus education bill in the Alaska House Chambers on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Finding common ground on education

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks to attendees at a town hall event on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Taking action for workers, supporting kids

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Bills move forward and public weighs in

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Alaska House Rep. Ben Carpenter, center, speaks to constituents at the Alaska State Capitol, in this undated photo. (Courtesy Office of Rep. Ben Carpenter)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Focusing on fiscal stability

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Alaska Council of School Administrators logo. (Photo provided)
Op-Ed: The K-12 Fiscal Cliff: Who is Responsible? Everyone!

Seven years is a very long time to go without a meaningful permanent state funding increase

Most Read