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Big Lake residents table incorporation effort

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- A bid to turn the growing Mat-Su community of Big Lake into a second-class city has fizzled after supporters this week withdrew an incorporation petition filed in October with the state.

Petitioners announced the decision to shelf Big Lake's city plans in an email update Tuesday.

The reason: not enough signatures from incorporation supporters, according to the email from petitioners representative Jim Faiks.

The state Local Boundary Commission - the body that would make the incorporation decision - required more signatures than the petitioners expected after reviewing the proposed city's boundaries, Faiks said. The commission also rejected 41 of the 234 signatures already gathered.

Given a Tuesday deadline to submit additional signatures, he said, "the decision was made to drop back and reconsider."

Big Lake's roughly 3,400 residents live scattered across 100 square miles of terrain, though the actual town center clusters around one end of the namesake lake, a longtime recreational attraction summer and winter.

Supporters of incorporation say they simply wanted to give residents control over property taxes they already pay, particularly on roads and parks. But the proposal drew fire from others in the community, who feared higher taxes would result.

Backs of second-class city status still believe that route is in Big Lake's best interest, Faiks' email said.

"Many worked hard trying to provide an opportunity for the citizens to consider the merits of becoming a city," he wrote. "As Big Lake continues to experience the impact of growth, we believe the benefits of incorporation will be better appreciated by its residents."

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.


By ZAZ HOLLANDER
zhollander@adn.com