Voters in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough took to the polls on Tuesday to decide on a new mayor, whether or not to approve a nearly $24 million road bond package and give its residents the authority to obtain police powers.

Polls in the Mat-Su closed at 8 p.m. and the unofficial results poured in shortly after for the area's regular election. 

Mat-Su Borough Mayor

According to race results, in the race for mayor, incumbent Vern Halter has a clear lead over challenger Bruce Walden. So far, Halter has 58 percent of the vote while Walden has 36 percent.

Halter has served as a judge and attorney, lives on a homestead in Willow and mushes dogs.

Walden is an Army veteran and worked in special forces. He lives in Palmer and is campaigning in providing new jobs, infrastructure upgrades to the borough.

Proposition No. B-1: Vote on Police Powers

According to race results, 58 percent of voters are in favor if Proposition B-1, an advisory vote on police powers. 

Currently, the borough does not have police powers and cannot contract additional help from Alaska State Troopers or police coverage if the borough needs additional police service. According to the borough's website, if voters pass this proposition, the borough will be able to pursue these options while still allowing cities to maintain their own police departments. Additional voter approval will be required if the borough does plan to obtain police powers.

These results are unofficial; election workers still need to count absentee ballots.

Proposition No. B-2: 2018 Road Bond Package

According to race results, 50 percent of voters are in favor of Proposition B-2 which would fund road construction projects in the Valley.

The bond package looks to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion. According to the borough's website, the project will provide connector roads between highways to improve traffic. The work will require more annual maintenance and may increase property taxes by $19.50 per every $100,000 in property value.

More than 101,000 people live in the Valley, according to 2016 census results. Those results showed the Mat-Su Borough a growing an average of 3.4 percent every year, more than double the statewide average. It is the fastest growing borough in the state and the road bond package aims to keep up with the population growth. 

Here are some of the upgrades included in the road bond package:

  • $5.2 million for the Hemmer Road Upgrade: connects Bogard Road with the Palmer-Wasilla Highway near Palmer High School.
  • $7 million for the Hermon Road Upgrade: connects the Parks Highway to the Palmer-Wasilla Highway.
  • $7 million for Cheri Lake Drive: the project will provide an upgraded road corridor between Houston and the Meadow Lakes area.
  • $5.5 Aspen Ridge Road: the project will also provide an upgraded road between Houston and the Meadow Lakes area.
  • $8.2 million for Seldon Extension Phase II: connects Church Road to Pittman Road. 

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