step by step
survey results (#1
Photo Credit - Julie Martyn
Find out more about who we are and what we are working toward.
Explore the steps we need to take in order to form a City of Girdwood
Step by Step
Read the results of our first community survey.
Survey results (#1)
We are a group of neighbors, friends and private individuals who are interested in maximizing self- governance for Girdwood. Twelve of us are community activists, some new, some old to Girdwood. Within our group, you will find six mothers and three fathers. We are comprised of a lawyer, a dirt guy, a retired CEO, current CEO, a CFO, and five self-employed small business owners. We all made a choice to get involved in the question, “Should the City of Girdwood be re-established?” A great amount of information is needed to answer this question. Our group has been meeting over the past year to provide answers. We have learned enough to understand the complexity of the question, and that some answers don’t come easily.
Ultimately, the process to vet this question is established by the State of Alaska, via their agency, The Local Boundary Commission (LBC).
Our reasons to join this Association vary amongst us. We are all civic minded folks who have embraced this effort with professionalism and volunteerism. We hope that you join us on this journey to self-governance.
Mission Statement :
The goal of Girdwood Governance Association (GGA) is to explore, identify, and if feasible advance a viable plan to maximize self-governance for the community of Girdwood.
Some background on....
gga story & Mission
Who We Are
Girdwood Governance Association hired a third party consultant, with extensive Alaska governmental experience, to identify the steps involved to maximize self-governance for Girdwood. This report was self funded by our group.
In essence, the report lays out one possible path forward for Girdwood. The overall process involves many steps and is a several year undertaking. One of our goals may be to put this issue on the 2020 ballot.
Girdwood Governance has met with the staff at the Local Boundary Commission (LBC) to discuss the steps involved for a community to be recognized by the State.
After hearing positive initial reactions by LBC staff, we are continuing by researching the potential path laid out in the consultant's report.
The report identified the following benefits of city status:
Solve local problems more efficiently
Adopt appropriate land use and zoning
Deliver public safety services more effectively
Achieve desired economic development
Address the lack of affordable housing
Improve local transportation service, and
Meet other community needs as they arise
Within the body of the report, the following statement is made:
Where we are now...
around our table wants to see fundamental autonomy built into the design.
Other communities hear and respect our plea for autonomy, wanting and expecting the same.
''It appears unlikely that Girdwood would be allowed to detach from Anchorage and become a stand alone city in the Unorganized Borough.
Preliminary investigation indicates that there is a feasible, although not certain, path forward to achieve City status for Girdwood. This is part of a new regional borough. ''
One possible avenue we are discussing with LBC staff, is the viability of a new Prince William Sound Borough (PWSB).
As it stands, Girdwood is already engaged in private contract with Whittier for police services.
Girdwood is possibly most known for outdoor recreation. One of the big incentives for partnering with neighboring communities would revolve around tourism and recreation. From a geographic stand point, the proposed PWSB boundary line would change very little to include Girdwood.
The proposed boundary lines were drawn up by the State in the 1990s.
According to the State of Alaska Constitution ''The entire State shall be divided into boroughs, organized or unorganized. ''
Although it is most often referred to by it's legal name, the Municipality of Anchorage, Girdwood has been in an Organized Borough (Anchorage Borough) since 1975 - and apparently there is no going back to the unorganized borough.
The exciting part is that creating a new borough comes with choosing the kind of government we want to see. Cherry picking the best parts , keeping what works and deleting the unnecessary.
There is no set template for a Borough. Everyone around our table wants to see
"How to best govern the community of girdwood has been debated for decades."
New Regional Government for Girdwood?
road map to self governance
It is extremely difficult to get people to agree on much these days. We hope by acknowledging we appreciate the same land, and share a desire for autonomy, we can find a few common interests to pull us together.
We were also counseled by the Prince William Sound Economic Development District director regarding their key principles:
1. Sustainable Thriving Communities
2. Prosperity and well-being for it's citizens
3. Stewardship of the Sound and the Environment
GGA feels these principles will resonate with the People of Girdwood.
The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation website states, "It exists to encourage growth and diversity in the Anchorage economy, promote a favorable business climate and improve the standard of living of Anchorage residents."
Girdwood has it right in many places already.
As it stands now, and after hearing the community survey feedback, there is also room for improvement in areas such as housing, recycling and waste.
We feel that our local issues would best be addressed at a local level and hope you will support this cause.
As we travel down this road of research, we invite you to participate. We encourage all to re-read the Constitution for the State of Alaska and become familiar with Article X - Local Government.
Engaging with our community is paramount to our success. We intend to keep an open dialog and continue to survey as we arrive at new information and decision points.
If you have comments or questions, please submit them under the contact us page at www.GIRDWOOD.US
Our country was conceived in the theory of local self-government. It has been dedicated by long practice to that wise and beneficent policy. It is the foundation principal of our system of liberty. It makes the largest promise to the freedom and development of the individual. Its preservation is worth all the effort and all the sacrifice that it may cost.
- Calvin Coolidge
What is autonomy?
Defined as the right (and condition) of self-government.
Some dictionaries do not even define it, they simply refer you other words, including:
freedom, home rule, latitude, liberty, suffrage.
the state of being free
self-government in local matters by a city, province, state, colony, or the like.
The LBC's process will include an application. Detailed financial studies and reports are included with the application. Our next step is to complete an economic analysis. Not only will we need this information for the application, but the public will not be able to make an informed decision regarding the City of Girdwood without this kind of data.
GGA put out a Request for Proposal to five economic firms throughout the state. We received back three viable proposals. GGA has selected Information Insights to complete a feasibility report. This firm has experience in the field and includes a whole team of specialists. A key leader on their team is economist and former Chancellor of University of Alaska Fairbanks, Brian Rogers.
Getting the feasibility study completed is the next step. Future steps will be further detailed out over our next publications as they become relevant.
In brief, they are the following:
1. Economic Analysis
2. Public Consensus after review of Economic Report
3. More research and negotiations of Charter with Partner Communities
3. Gather Signatures
4. Petition to State
5. Local Boundary Commission Process
7. Establish City of Girdwood
8. Join new Borough
One step at a time. The economic analysis will define the reality of this endeavor.
GGA launched our website, www.girdwood.us and our first community outreach survey.
The results as of 09-02-18 are as follows:
357 folks have taken the survey!
Question 1. Do you support the idea of an independently governed City of Girdwood?
31% Not Sure
Question 2. Please list foreseen benefits to an independent City of Girdwood:
281 responses, 76 skipped.
Most folks were for autonomy, self -governance, local taxes stay in community, better control on lands, public infrastructure, planning. Happiness, freedom from Anchorage. Several folks said no benefits.
# 1 results
Question 3. What are your questions or concerns?
274 responses. 83 skipped.
No increase in taxes. Can we afford this? School, library, basic services, can we afford it?
Question 4. Do you believe the People of Girdwood have the right to choose if fluoride goes into Girdwood's public water?
346 responses. 11 skipped
84% said Yes.
16% said No.
Question 5. History on Girdwood being annexed.
346 responses. 11 skipped
38% Knew history
62% New information
Question 6. Provide contact info.
195 responses. 162 skipped
Thank you for your email addresses. We will use social and public media to get the word out to the general public.
Q7. Relationship to GWD.
On July 4th Surve
Photo Credit: Julie Martyn
having the ability to run our community, as according to the community members' concerns (on a range of issues) is important. Keep pushing, but one thing at a time!
-community member survey Comment
Question 7. Relationship to Girdwood
346 answered. 11 skipped.
Of the people who took our survey...
Live here. 80%
Work here 47%
Question 8. Are you 18 or older?
345 Answered. 12 Skipped.
Question 9. In what way would you improve Girdwood?
254 responses. Better public safety, independence, quality housing for all, more walkable town, better parking options, more small business opportunities, bike trails, land development for commercial and residential needs. Find the full list published at www.girdwood.us
Thank you all for your time and comments. We look forward to our next survey conversation with you!
Girdwood Governance Association
PO Box 777
Girdwood, Alaska 99587