Four mayors from across Alaska sent a letter to Gov. Sean Parnell dated Feb. 11, expressing concern about their lack of involvement in the ongoing natural gas pipeline negotiations, and what those negotiations mean to their respective communities, particularly regarding taxation. (Read the letter here: Gasline Letter)
Although the mayors write that they are encouraged by the project, “we have become concerned about the lack of information provided to municipalities regarding the impacts of the ongoing negotiations, particularly local government concessions that may be considered during pending gas pipeline negotiations with the North Slope producers,” the letter says.
It is signed by Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, Valdez Mayor Dave Cobb, North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower, and Mayor Luke Hopkins from the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
The state has been negotiating terms with the major producers and TransCanada under which a large diameter pipeline would be built. The pipeline, one of the largest projects in the world, would snake from the North Slope to tidewater in Southcentral Alaska and is estimated to cost up to $65 billion. Legislation is currently being considered which would give the state power to further negotiate fiscal terms. Among them are terms that could involve local property and infrastructure taxes, which are the charge of local governments.
“We are willing to be a party to such agreements provided that we have the opportunity to participate in the discussions, and to negotiate and agree to terms that will directly impact municipal tax structure and revenues,” the mayors write.
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