White Paper

White Paper: typically a government or authoritative report or guide about an issue and said issue’s main argument and philosophy.

 A White Paper regarding Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek, Eklutna, and JBER “Assembly District 2” detachment from the Municipality of Anchorage. Final copy current as of April 16th, 2019

The idea of separating Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek, Eklutna, and JBER (hereinafter District 2) from the Municipality of Anchorage (hereinafter MOA) has been around for decades. It appears to have more merit today than at any other time in recent Alaskan history.

Historically, the citizens of District 2 have been excluded from the MOA’s power structures. They have been repeatedly thwarted in their efforts to decentralize land-use decisions in their local neighborhoods, including those involving residential, commercial, and industrial interests. These citizens consider detachment from the MOA a strategy to advance their vision of a well-managed community.

The MOA is bureaucratically enormous, economically ineffective, and inefficient as compared and contrasted to other local Alaskan governments. It is failing to meet the expectations of its citizens on a number of measurable quantifiers such as public safety, education, and land use planning. The majority of the residents of District 2 do not want to continue to be assimilated into the MOA’s idea of “community.”

District 2 is a unique and culturally separate community from Anchorage that is separated from the rest of the greater Anchorage area by the Chugach Mountains and state park. This is proven by the lack of understanding of the unique educational needs and manipulation of land use (high-density housing and unrealistic restrictions).

Will District 2’s independence provide our community with the advantages of obtaining new local self-government, but without the inconvenience of moving? An “Eaglexit” for District 2 is a move away from centralized planning to a more traditional community that is in line with the values of District 2.

District 2’s population is approximately 50,000: which includes Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek, Eklutna, and JBER. By detaching our communities from the MOA, District 2 will become the second-most populous municipality in Alaska. The City of Fairbanks has 35,000 people. If they can do it, so can we.

A 2007 Anchorage commissioned study, The Fiscal Effects of Detaching the Eagle River-Chugiak Area from the Municipality of Anchorage,1 concluded the MOA will experience little to no significant economic hardship as a result of the detachment. In fact, there may even be a reduction in costs for the MOA. This study was “an ‘apples to apples’ comparison [which] assumes that citizens” of District 2 “receive or have access to the same government and educational services they currently receive as citizens of the Municipality of Anchorage.” An examination of the MOA budget categories for a municipality of 300,000 people will most likely not be shared with a municipality of 50,000 people, and therefore, the accuracy of an “apples to apples” comparison may be irrelevant to our community’s self-determination efforts.

1 The Fiscal Effects of Detaching the Eagle River-Chugiak Area from the Municipality of Anchorage, Northern Economics Inc, 2007, Page ES-1

The MOA is failing and unresponsive to the needs of the citizens of District 2. We are being shortchanged in city services, educational outcomes, and political representation by remaining in the MOA. We must have local control over our own community affairs; including the education of our children, the planning and use of our lands, public safety matters, public works, and public utilities. In short, control of our future.

As a citizen, are you satisfied with the current level of services you are receiving from the MOA compared to the amount of taxes and fees you are paying? These are questions that point to the issue of detachment and speak directly to a decades-old structural debate over the proper size of local governments in Alaska. Shouldn’t District 2 residents answer these questions for themselves instead of Anchorage?

We residents believe that a smaller government delivers services more efficiently and is more responsive to constituent needs. District 2 business owners and homeowners have been exploited for their taxes and fees. All parties view the city government as bloated bureaucracy, inefficient and dysfunctional. The MOA’s sprawling and unmanageable geography and inadequate representation are reasons to carve the municipality into smaller, more accountable jurisdictions.

“Smaller is Better,” an Eaglexit would:

  • Provide improved local involvement and control of land-use.
  • Maintain and operate a smaller and more accountable school district.
  • Allow for a locally controlled public safety sector.
  • Protect the community tax base through a smaller taxing district and greater local community involvement in tax decisions.
  • Limit government to local constituency enabling the home-grown representation of the people and creating collaboration between citizens and elected officials.
  • Mitigate over-zoning, excessive fees, high-density housing, parking, traffic, and unnecessary services.
  • Simplify the permitting process.
  • Eliminate unnecessary taxes.
  • Attract small business.
  • Promote a general scaling back of nonessential government functions.
  • Establish shared interest between business interests based on common philosophies toward matters such as low taxes, fewer regulations, and expanding economic growth.
  • Produce an effective and responsive small municipal government.

If any of this resonates with you, please go to www.eaglexit.com to get more information, get informed, and get involved.

In making Eaglexit into a reality, the following need to be accomplished:

  • Fundraising
  • Feasibility study
  • Proposal to the Local Boundary Commission (LBC)
  • Detachment and incorporation voted on in District 2 by voters or given to the Legislature
  • Vote to elect local officials

Written by the board of Eaglexit. If you have questions or to get involved please contact us at eaglexit@gmail.com or www.eaglexit.com.