Boroughs in Alaska
Types of local government
Local government in Alaska consists of:
- Organized boroughs: the entire state of Alaska is divided into 19 organized boroughs and 1 unorganized borough. 6 of the organized boroughs are consolidated with a particular city and operate as a unified government.
The organized boroughs of Alaska are:
- Aleutians East Borough, Bristol Bay Borough, City & Borough of Juneau, City & Borough of Sitka, City & Borough of Wrangell, City & Borough of Yakutat, Denali Borough, Fairbanks Northstar Borough, Haines Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Municipality of Anchorage, Municipality of Skagway, North Slope Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough, Petersburg Borough
- Cities: as of February, 2000 Alaska had 145 city governments.
Federal laws allowed the incorporation of cities in Alaska beginning in 1900. The first city government incorporated in Alaska was the City of Skagway. On June 5, 2007, voters approved dissolution of the City of Skagway and instead incorporated it as the first first-class borough in the State of Alaska.
- In addition, there are 15 special districts.
Boroughs may be classified as:
- First class borough.
- Second class borough.
- Third class borough.
- Home rule charter borough.
Any general law borough may adopt and operate under a home rule charter.
The following boroughs operate under a home rule charter (with the year of charter adoption):
- Municipality of Anchorage (1975), Denali Borough (1990), City and Borough of Juneau (1970), Lake and Peninsula Borough (1989), North Slope Borough (1974), Northwest Arctic Borough (1987), City and Borough of Sitka (1971), City and Borough of Yakutat (1992), Haines Borough (2002), City and Borough of Wrangell (2008)
Cities in Alaska are classified as:
- First class city.
- Second class city.
- Home rule charter city.
The following cities operate under a home rule charter (with the year of charter adoption in parentheses):
- Cordova (1960), Fairbanks (1960), Kenai (1963), Ketchikan (1960), Kodiak (1965), Nenana (1982), North Pole (1970), Palmer (1962), Petersburg (1960), Seward (1960), Valdez (1961)
Alaska's first and second class cities are general law cities. The laws that govern their powers, duties and functions are defined by state law. A home rule city may exercise all legislative powers not prohibited by law or by charter.
Laws governing local ballot measures
An initiative process is available in:
- All general law cities, which have a mandated initiative process for ordinances.
- All 11 charter cities, which must include initiative for ordinances in the charter. Charters may also permit initiative for charter amendments.
- All general law boroughs, which have a mandated initiative process for ordinances.
- All Ten charter boroughs, which must include initiative for ordinances in the charter. Charters may also permit initiative for charter amendments.
Borough website evaluations
- See also: Evaluation of Alaska borough websites
Websites of the five largest boroughs were last evaluated in 2012. Websites of the other boroughs were last evaluated in 2009.
- Five boroughs put their budgets online. Five provide partial budget information, and six provide no budget information at all.
- Eight boroughs include information on their websites about public government meetings.
- Ten boroughs include information about the county's elected officials (six provide partial information).
- Ten include information about the county's administrative officials.
- Eleven give information about permits and zoning in the county.
- Only one borough (Anchorage) provides information about audits that have been performed.
- Only one borough (Kodiak) provides information about its contracts with vendors.
- Only one borough (Anchorage) discloses its membership in government sector lobbying associations.
- Five websites do (and 11 websites do not) provide information on how to request public records using the Alaska Public Records Act.
- Six websites provide some information about county taxes.
List of organized boroughs
|Name||Borough seat||First class||Second class||Third class|
|Aleutians East Borough||Sand Point||X|
|Municipality of Anchorage||Anchorage||X|
|Bristol Bay Borough||Naknek||X|
|Fairbanks North Star Borough||Fairbanks||X|
|Kenai Peninsula Borough||Soldotna||X|
|Ketchikan Gateway Borough||Ketchikan||X|
|Kodiak Island Borough||Kodiak||X|
|Lake and Peninsula Borough||King Salmon||X|
|North Slope Borough||Barrow||X|
|Northwest Arctic Borough||Kotzebue||X|
- Alaska borough web portal
- Alaska local and borough government
- Background on boroughs in Alaska (November 2000)
- Alaska Municipal League
- U.S. Census Bureau facts about Alaska's boroughs
- Differences among home rule, first class, second class and third class boroughs
- Alaska statutes governing boroughs
- Municipal government structure in Alaska
- Aleutians East Borough website
- Municipality of Anchorage website
- Bristol Bay Borough website
- Denali Borough website
- Fairbanks North Star Borough website
- Haines Borough website
- Juneau Borough website
- Kenai Peninsula Borough website
- Ketchikan Gateway Borough website
- Kodiak Island Borough website
- Lake and Peninsula Borough website
- Matanuska-Susitna Borough website
- North Slope Borough website
- Northwest Arctic Borough website
- Petersburg Borough website
- City and Borough of Sitka website
- Yakutat Borough website
- "Local Boundary Commission, Division of Community and Regional Affairs," accessed September 5, 2013
- Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development, Local Boundary Commission website homepage
- Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development, "Local Government in Alaska", February 2000
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- Alaska Statute Sec. 29.10.010
- Alaska Statute Sec. 29.05.011
- Alaska Constitution, Article X, Section 11
- Ballotpedia: Types and #'s of local government by state