| Municipal Merger
Frequently Asked Questions
to Top |
"Municipal merger" means
the dissolution of a municipality (city or borough) and
its absorption by another existing municipality. Merger
results in the rights, powers, duties, assets, and liabilities,
of the dissolved municipality(s) being taken over by the
municipality remaining in existence.
State law requires certain
standards and procedures be followed for mergers, which
are explained in more detail in the 'Frequently Asked Questions' portion
below. This section provides an overview of basic information
about municipal merger; however, this is a complex matter
that cannot be covered completely in this brief overview.
This overview provides information and links to applicable
law, additional publications, and staff available to provide
Who can provide information regarding
Local Boundary Commission (LBC) staff within
the Department of Community and Economic Development are
available to provide technical assistance to interested
Who can petition to
Municipal governments are merged
by a petition to the Local Boundary Commission (LBC). Such
a petition may be filed by:
a) a city,
b) a borough,
c) a regional educational attendance
d) a coastal resource service
e) a number of voters
of each municipality proposed to be merged equal to at least
of the number of votes cast in each municipality's
last regular election,
f) the state legislature,
the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community,
and Economic Development (Commerce),
h) a party designated by the
Local Boundary Commission.
What are the "pros" and "cons" of
The advantages and disadvantages
of merging municipal governments will vary depending on
the communities involved and the type of municipalities
proposed for merger. It is important to carefully explore
the pros and cons of merger before initiating any petition
Are there criteria that
guide the development of a petition?
Yes, the criteria are found
3 AAC 110.220-.230 (See The Alaska
Those criteria should be carefully reviewed when deciding
whether to merge. If the prospective petitioner decides
to pursue a merger, the criteria should also be used to
guide the development of the petition. The Local Boundary
Commission will use those same criteria to judge the merits
of the petition.
Are state grants available
to study the feasibility and need for merger of municipal
No. State funding is not available
for studies of prospective municipal mergers.
Does the state provide technical
assistance to a prospective petitioner who wishes to
propose a merger?
Yes. The staff of the Local
Boundary Commission provides certain assistance to prospective
petitioners. Such assistance includes providing petition
forms and sample successful proposals, consultation regarding
policy issues, guidance regarding technical matters, and
direction concerning sources of information needed to complete
a petition. While the state can provide some assistance,
the burden of preparing a proper petition remains with
If a group opposes
a merger, does the state assist it as well?
Yes. LBC staff will also provide
assistance to any individual or organization that wishes
to express views opposing a merger proposal. Assistance
to opponents might include providing sample responsive
briefs filed in opposition to prior petitions, consultation
regarding policy issues, guidance regarding technical matters,
and direction where fundamental information needed to complete
a responsive brief in opposition to a proposal can be obtained.
Can a petition be amended
after it is filed?
The petitioner may amend the
petition. The LBC can also amend or impose conditions on
a merger proposal following a public hearing. Ideally,
however, with careful planning and proper consultation
before filing a petition, amendments can be avoided. Amending
a petition may, under certain circumstances, cause delays
in the consideration of the petition.
How long does it take to
It typically takes several
months (in some cases a year or more depending on the local
effort) to prepare a proper petition. Prospective petitioners
are encouraged to work closely with the LBC staff in developing
a petition. Once a petition is completed, the petition
is filed with the LBC. The process for review of the proposal
by the LBC may take one year or longer. If the Commission
approves the petition, the state will conduct a local election
on the matter. The process for the merger election typically
involves about three months.
to Top |
Merger of municipal governments
is a complex matter and requires a substantial commitment
of time and resources. Before local residents decide
to pursue merger, they should carefully think about what
a merger will accomplish and the process involved.
- Section 1. Purpose and construction,
local self-government, local government units.
- Section 3. Boroughs, standards
required to be established, classification, method of
- Section 7. Cities.
- Section 12. Boundaries.
- Section 14. Agency to advise
and assist local governments.
- AS 29.06.090.
Merger and consolidation, exceptions.
- AS 29.06.100. Petition,
signatory requirements, required information/documents.
- AS 29.06.110. Review,
- AS 29.06.120. Hearing.
- AS 29.06.130. Decision LBC
amendment/conditions, decision criteria, appeal under
the Administrative Procedures Act.
- AS 29.06.140. Election,
notification to director of elections, timeframe for
holding election, certification, effective date of dissolution.
- AS 29.06.150. Succession
to rights and liabilities.
- AS 29.06.160. Transition.
- AS 29.06.170. Application.
Regulations (See The
Alaska Administrative Code.)
- 3 AAC 110.220. Standards
merger & dissolution.
- 3 AAC 110.230. Local option.
- 3 AAC 110.260. Standards
detachment from cities.
- 3 AAC 110.270. Standards
detachment from boroughs & unified municipalities.
- 3 AAC 110.280. Commission
standards dissolution of cities.
- 3 AAC 110.290. Local option
- 3 AAC 110.300. Best interests
- 3 AAC 110.310. Commission
standards dissolution of boroughs & unified municipalities.
- 3 AAC 110.320. Local option
- 3 AAC 110.330. Best interests
- 3 AAC 110.340. Application
of incorporation standards.
- 3 AAC 110.350. Best interests
standard for a proposed second class city in the unorganized
- 3 AAC 110.360. Best interests
standard for a proposed first class city in the unorganized
- 3 AAC 110.370. Best interests
standard for cities within an organized borough.
- 3 AAC 110.400. Applicability.
- 3 AAC 110.410. Petitioners
authorized petitioners, signature requirements.
- 3 AAC 110.420. Petition,
form, supporting brief, exhibits.
- 3 AAC 110.425. Legislative
review annexation petitions.
- 3 AAC 110.430. Consolidation
- 3 AAC 110.440. Technical
review of petitions, Commerce review, deficient petition.
- 3 AAC 110.450. Notice of
petition, time limit and method for providing notice.
- 3 AAC 110.460. Service of
petition, recipients and method of delivery, availability
of all petition documents for public review.
- 3 AAC 110.470. Proof of
notice and service.
- 3 AAC 110.480. Responsive
briefs and written comments, filing with Commerce, affidavit
of delivery to petitioner.
- 3 AAC 110.490. Reply brief,
filing with Commerce, affidavit of delivery to respondent.
- 3 AAC 110.500. Limitations
on advocacy, adherence to regulations, commission contact
with interested parties.
- 3 AAC 110.510. Informational
sessions, Commerce determination of adequate public information
- 3 AAC 110.520. Departmental
public meetings, notice, affidavit of posting, presiding
officer, meeting summary, postponement, relocation.
- 3 AAC 110.530. Departmental
report, draft review and comment.
- 3 AAC 110.540. Amendments
and withdrawal, time limit, petition signatures, notice,
- 3 AAC 110.550. Commission
public hearing, notice, public service announcement,
- 3 AAC 110.560. Commission
hearing procedures, presiding officer, commission quorum,
limit on comments, witnesses, sworn testimony, timely
submission of documents.
- 3 AAC 110.570. Decisional
meeting, time limit, commission quorum, change to comply
with law, minutes, statement of considerations, decision,
- 3 AAC 110.580. Reconsideration,
time limit, denial or acceptance of request.
- 3 AAC 110.590. Certain local
action annexations, applicable regulations.
- 3 AAC 110.600. Local action/local
option elections, election by director of elections under
AS 15, election by municipality.
- 3 AAC 110.610. Legislative
review, amendment to consider as local action/option
procedure, legislative review of commission decision.
- 3 AAC 110.620. Judicial
review, appeal and judicial review in accordance with
Administrative Procedure Act.
- 3 AAC 110.630. Effective
date and certification, Voting Rights Act approval, certification
of election, legislative review deadline, certificate
of change, recordation.
- 3 AAC 110.640. Scheduling,
chairperson order setting/amending schedule, timeline,
- 3 AAC 110.650. Resubmittals
and reversals, denial of previous similar petition, request
for reversal of decision.
- 3 AAC 110.660. Purpose of
procedural regulations, relaxation or suspension of procedural
regulation, commission discretion, guidelines.
- 3 AAC 110.900. Transition,
submission of transition plan; assumption of powers,
duties, responsibilities, assets, and liabilities; time
limit on execution of plan; approved agreement.
- 3 AAC 110.910. Statement
- 3 AAC 110.920. Determination
of community, factors considered in determining whether
the term community applies.
- 3 AAC 110.970. Determination
of essential city or borough services, guidelines.
- 3 AAC 110.980. Determination
of best interests of the state, guidelines.
- 3 AAC 110.990. Definitions.
select "Landscape" in