CSHCR 12(CRA): Relating to the Joint Rural Assessment Task Force.
00 CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 12(CRA) 01 Relating to the Joint Rural Assessment Task Force. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS the Constitution of the State of Alaska provides that the Alaska State 04 Legislature shall provide for the performance of services it deems necessary or advisable in 05 unorganized boroughs and that the legislature serves as the assembly for the unorganized 06 borough; and 07 WHEREAS the Alaska State Legislature exercises that responsibility by proposing 08 and implementing policies to maintain state infrastructure critical to economic development, 09 to assure the security of the nation by providing essential services to the caretakers of our 10 remote harbors, airports, and fledgling road systems, and to invest in the future economic 11 stability of Alaska; and 12 WHEREAS, notwithstanding these commitments and efforts, recent developments in 13 rural communities, including sky-rocketing energy prices and the erosion or elimination of 14 revenue sharing and other forms of assistance to local governments, have compromised the 15 ability of local communities to provide basic local services and have underscored the need for 16 the Alaska State Legislature to conduct a reassessment of the efficacy of its policies; and
01 WHEREAS, in the past few years, many local communities in Alaska have either shut 02 down, entered deeply into debt, or ceased providing basic local services as a result of lower 03 local revenue; and 04 WHEREAS many communities are unable to realize revenues through property 05 taxation because a high percentage of property within their boundaries is exempt from 06 taxation; and 07 WHEREAS, absent state revenues but with increasing costs, many communities have 08 been unable to pay liability insurance costs, leaving the communities and, ultimately, the state 09 at financial risk; and 10 WHEREAS the Denali Commission, a state-federal partnership, regularly invests in 11 rural Alaskan communities and has developed a five-year strategic plan to guide its activities; 12 and 13 WHEREAS the governor took action to address the serious challenges posed by high 14 energy costs in rural Alaska by appointing the Rural Energy Action Council to recommend 15 short-term and long-term approaches to address the costs; and 16 WHEREAS the Rural Energy Action Council has recently released its report and has 17 recommended a series of actions which, taken together, could provide partial relief to the 18 communities; and 19 WHEREAS crafting additional measures that will efficaciously address both short- 20 term and long-term sustainability issues will be dependent upon conducting an appropriate 21 needs assessment to guide these efforts; and 22 WHEREAS the Alaska Municipal League and the First Alaskans Institute have 23 committed to undertake such an assessment by examining conditions in a representative 24 sampling of rural communities; 25 BE IT RESOLVED that, pursuant to the authority granted under art. II, sec. 11, 26 Constitution of the State of Alaska to establish interim committees, the Joint Rural 27 Assessment Task Force is established; and be it 28 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Joint Rural Assessment Task Force shall consist of 29 nine members, three senators appointed by the president of the senate, three representatives 30 appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, a public member appointed by the 31 speaker of the house of representatives, a designee from the First Alaskans Institute, and a
01 designee from the Alaska Municipal League; and be it 02 FURTHER RESOLVED that the public member, designee from the First Alaskans 03 Institute, and designee from the Alaska Municipal League will not receive compensation, per 04 diem, or reimbursement for travel or other expenses incurred in serving on the Joint Rural 05 Assessment Task Force; and be it 06 FURTHER RESOLVED that the House and Senate Community and Regional 07 Affairs Committees shall assign committee staff to provide support services for the Joint 08 Rural Assessment Task Force; and be it 09 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Joint Rural Assessment Task Force shall consider 10 the findings and recommendations resulting from the needs assessment prepared by the 11 Alaska Municipal League and the First Alaskans Institute, the Denali Commission's Five- 12 Year Strategic Plan, and the Rural Energy Action Council's Finding and Action 13 Recommendations, travel to communities to hold hearings on the issues, and deliver a report 14 of its finding to the legislature by January 15, 2006, together with appropriate legislative 15 proposals for consideration during the Second Regular Session of the Twenty-Fourth Alaska 16 Legislature; and be it 17 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Joint Rural Assessment Task Force may meet 18 during and between legislative sessions and that the task force is terminated on February 1, 19 2006.