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Mat-Su Borough moves to end membership in Alaska Municipal League

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough has moved toward leaving a state municipal group over the organization’s opposition to proposed Dunleavy administration spending cuts.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough office. July 30, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

The Borough Assembly voted 4-3 at its June 4 meeting to eliminate a $41,000 annual dues payment to the Alaska Municipal League, Alaska Public Media reported.

The league represents 165 Alaska communities and advocates for local governments' collective interests in state and federal decisions.

Some residents of the borough do not believe the league’s positions accurately reflect the community.

Assembly member Jesse Sumner said his constituents do not agree with the league's opposition to deep state spending cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

"It seems pretty simple that if the state goes forward with continuing to spend the way they are and not cutting their budget, they'll have to have a tax at some point, it'll come out of the Mat-Su, and it won't be spent back here the same rate it comes out, because it never is," Sumner said.

League Executive Director Nils Andreassen is disappointed by the decision. The league has focused on its incorporation articles that dictate, "Support good things for local governments and oppose bad things," he said.

"That's how we've approached this session, and I think that nothing we've done has harmed the members' interests. And it's entirely up to them how they respond to state or federal legislative actions," Andreassen said.

The league plans to continue working to improve policies for Mat-Su, he said.

The assembly could still choose to reinstate funding for its membership dues, a borough spokesman said.