Girdwood policing ballot measure survives recount

A ballot proposition to fund policing in Girdwood still passed by a razor-thin margin in a recount, but also gained a yes vote.

Proposition 9 asked Girdwood voters to tax themselves to pay for police amid the planned closure of the local Alaska State Troopers post. The measure passed by two votes in the city election on April 5.

On Thursday, after an electronic scan and two hand counts, the final tally in favor of the proposition was 411 to 408, said Deputy City Clerk Amanda Moser. An extra yes vote was found jammed in one of the voting machines, Moser said

The recount petition was filed Tuesday -- and its signers included both supporters and opponents of the proposition.

"We just really wanted to make sure we had an accurate count, just because it's kind of divisive in Girdwood," said petition co-sponsor Barry Durbrow, who voted no on the proposition. "And we wanted to make sure people felt confident in the results, so everyone could move on and accept it and get on with how we're going to deal with policing in Girdwood."

Girdwood resident Mike Edgington voted for the proposition, but he also co-sponsored the recount. He agreed that people on both sides of the issue in the tight-knit community wanted to settle the matter.

"I think that says a lot about the town," Edgington said. "There were a lot of people with very similar points of view ... yes or no is rather a crude question to ask about something this complex."

The sponsors paid $300 for the recount. About 15 people donated to the cause, Edgington said.

With the funding settled, the community now turns to the question of what the policing will look like -- whether Girdwood should sign a contract with Whittier Police Department, for example, or pursue another option. A public meeting to discuss the topic has been scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in the Girdwood Community Center.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.