ROCK ON – Brave Heart Volunteers Director Maury Hackett holds up a chair to be auctioned at the annual Brave Heart Volunteers Bowls and Chair-ity fundraiser. This particular chair, a modified rocking chair made by artist Kija Elstad, has LED lights and plays music.  The event, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year to support the non-profit social service organization, was sold out. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Hoonah Seeks to Form New Southeast Borough

    JUNEAU (AP) — An Alaska city wants to legally join an area of land to form what would be the biggest borough in the southeast region of the state, officials said.
    The city of Hoonah filed a petition earlier this month for a technical review by the Local Boundary Commission of its proposed Xunaa Borough, The Juneau Empire reported Tuesday.
    The community of about 800 residents located 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Juneau wants to join an area of more than 35,000 square miles (90,650 square kilometers).
    “We’re reasserting our territorial claim to the Icy Strait area,” said Hoonah City Administrator Dennis Gray Jr.
    The Xunaa Borough would include Icy Strait, Glacier Bay, a portion of the Chatham Strait, parts of Chichagof Island, and Excursion Inlet. The boundaries also include portions of the Haines and Sitka boroughs.
    The proposed borough excludes the cities of Gustavus, Tenakee Springs and Pelican. The exclusion is due to unsuccessful attempts to create new boroughs in 1999 and 2007 involving other cities, Gray said.
    “With our borough boundary drawn the way it is, they can join at a later date if they want to, or join someone else if they want to,” Gray said.
    Hoonah is pursuing a borough to capture more revenue for its school district, Gray said.
    “We believe based on our forecast it would be about $900,000 extra for the school district,” he said, noting that the current budget is about $3.3 million.
    Haines and Sitka officials said they were aware of the proposal but did not comment in more detail.

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