AP NEWS

Alaska borough votes to end membership in municipal league

June 19, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska borough plans to leave a state municipal group over the organization’s opposition to proposed spending cuts, a report said.

The Matanuska-Susitna 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 Monday.

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

Some residents of the borough north of Anchorage 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 Matanuska-Susitna, he said.

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

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Information from: KSKA-FM, http://www.kska.org

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