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Nenana Continues Borough Formation Study

Fairbanks, AK - The City of Nenana continues to look at borough formation.  Last year, the legislature appropriated 75-thousand dollars for a study to investigate the benefits and pitfalls of establish a new Borough.  A Juneau Based community planning firm released a draft of the study earlier this month.

Community planning firm, Sheinberg and Associates hosted meetings in Rampart, Tanana and Nenana last week to present information from a draft report that outlines the creation of a new Borough in the region.  Barb Sheinberg is a Senior Planner with the firm. “The purpose of boroughs is to offer regional government as opposed the purpose of cities, which is for local services, water sewer, roads etcetera.”
Sheinberg says Boroughs are supposed to be regional in nature.  That’s why the report offers five different scenarios.  One outlines the creation of a borough centered around Nenana.  A second lays out the details of a much larger 'Middle Tanana-Yukon' Borough which includes communities as far north as Stevens Village and as far east as Tanana.  The other options explore what might happen if the city of Nenana is annexed into either the Fairbanks North Star or Denali Borough.  

Jason Mayrand is the Mayor of Nenana.  He says the report is only meant to provide information.  It doesn’t mean anyone is ready to line out official boundaries.  “For the most part, nobody wants another level of government so I am not sure that the direction anybody is going to go in,” he says. 

But Mayrand says he wants to know what the options are for his community.  Regional Native Corporation Doyon, Limited holds exploration rights to more than half-a-million acres of state land between the villages of Nenana and Minto. The corporation has explored the region for oil and gas for nearly a decade.  Barb Sheinberg says those resources are potentially taxable assets. “What could it mean in terms of revenue if that came true and if somebody wanted to annex the area as a result," she says. "This gives Nenana information to think about what that might mean," she says.  Sheinberg says she’s not completely satisfied with the draft report.  A second draft will be released next month.  The public can comment through January 10th.  A final report is expected in February.