We, the People of the North Slope Borough area, in order to form an efficient and economical government with just representation, and in order to provide local government responsive to the will of the people, and to the continuing needs of the communities, do hereby ratify and establish this Home Rule Charter of the North Slope Borough of Alaska. (North Slope Borough Charter Preamble, 1972)
The North Slope Borough encompasses an area of approximately 94,000 square miles in northern Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle. It extends 650 miles east from Point Hope on the Chukchi Sea to the Canadian Border, and 225 mles south from Point Barrow, the most northern point in the State. Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in the United States, is located in the northeastern portion of the Borough. It is also the origination point of the 800-mile trans-Alaskan pipeline that terminates at the city of Valdez on Prince William Sound.
Most of the Borough's 9,000 permanent residents live in eight communities: Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Utqiagvik, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, and Wainwright. The largest community is Utqiagvik, which also serves as the Borough seat of government. Another 4,000 people are counted as residents because they work at least half of the calendar year in the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk oil fields.
The North Slope Borough was created by an election in 1972. It was officially incorporated on July 2, 1972. At that time, the Borough enjoyed 1st class status and exercised the powers of planning, zoning, taxation and schools. It was the first time Native Americans had taken control of their destiny through the use of municipal government. It was, and remains, one of the boldest moves ever made by an indigenous people to regain control of their lives and future.
On April 30, 1974, it adopted its Home Rule Charter that allows it to exercise any legal governmental power in addition to its mandatory powers of taxation, property assessment, education, and planning and zoning services. The legislative power of the Borough is vested in a seven-member assembly body, elected to staggered three-year terms. The Borough's executive and administrative powers are vested in a Mayor, limited to two consecutive three-year terms.
The very existence of this Code is proof that the Inupiat of the North Slope have succeeded in returning self-rule to their land. After twenty years of home rule, they can proudly point to services in the villages that exist practically nowhere else in the Alaskan bush. They exist because the North Slope Borough Assembly and Administration are committed to providing each village with modern, efficient services that address the health, safety and housing needs of its residents.
The North Slope Borough now consists of the following departments: Administration and Finance; Law; Planning & Community Services; Wildlife Management; Health & Social Services; Public Works; Police; Fire; Human Resources and Capital Improvements Program Management (CIPM).