Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/14/2001 01:30 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
            SB 109-UNINCORP. COMMUNITY MATCHING GRANTS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said this is another bill he introduced  several                                                            
years ago.  He noted  that the fiscal  note on  this bill has  grown                                                            
considerably.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARY JACKSON,  staff for Senator Torgerson,  explained that  current                                                            
statute  provides  $25,000  for communities  in  the unincorporated                                                             
areas  under the  Unincorporated  Community Capital  Matching  Grant                                                            
Program. SB 109  extends the opportunity to receive  funds  to areas                                                            
in the organized borough as well.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
A  list of  affected   communities  and  a fiscal  note  are in  the                                                            
committee packets.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON explained  to  Senator Phillips  that this  bill                                                            
addresses  his  question  that  was  posed  when SB  104  was  under                                                            
discussion.  According to   statute, unincorporated  areas  within a                                                            
borough  are not entitled  to the  money but if  you're outside  the                                                            
borough, you are entitled.  "I've always thought that was unfair and                                                            
I still  do." This  corrects  the inequity  and, at  the same  time,                                                            
generates a large fiscal note.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
WALT WREDE,  manager for the Lake  and Peninsula Borough,  said they                                                            
strongly  support SB 109,  which addresses  inequities contained  in                                                            
the  State  Capital  Matching  Grant  Program.   This  inequity  was                                                            
probably an oversight  when the legislature adopted  the program but                                                            
it does  discriminate  against  unorganized communities  located  in                                                            
organized  boroughs  and therefore  is  a disincentive  for  forming                                                            
boroughs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Eleven  of the  seventeen  communities  in  the Lake  and  Peninsula                                                            
Borough  are  unincorporated  so aren't  eligible  for  the  $25,000                                                            
matching funds.  Therefore, the borough splits a $25,000  to $40,000                                                            
grant  that they receive  eleven  ways, which  gives each  community                                                            
much less  than $25,000.  There are about  70 communities  statewide                                                            
that are in the same situation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  wasn't sure it was an oversight  but agreed that                                                            
it  did  create an  inequity.  The  money  helps  small communities                                                             
considerably.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  AUSTERMAN asked  who makes  the final  determination  as to                                                            
which communities qualify for the funds.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  said he  believes the  assemblies  must pass  a                                                            
resolution to officially  recognize an unincorporated community that                                                            
has less  than 2,500, and  then a non-profit  community association                                                             
must be  formed. If there's  a competing  interest then the  borough                                                            
assembly  must nominate  the  one  they want  to be  the  non-profit                                                            
entity. He asked Bill Rolfzen to confirm the above.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL  ROLFZEN   from  the   Department  of   Community  &   Economic                                                            
Development said that currently  there is a definition in regulation                                                            
for  association   unit  for  unincorporated   communities   in  the                                                            
unorganized borough  and the department would need  to make a change                                                            
in regulation  to fit organized boroughs or unified  municipalities.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  whether  his procedural  explanation  was                                                            
accurate.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROLFZEN didn't disagree.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR AUSTERMAN asked, "Is this your list?"                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said  it was the committees' but it came from the                                                            
department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: "It was jointly developed."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROLFZEN  said it was from a previous  bill that was introduced.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS  suggested not funding  the $2 million but  "taking                                                            
it out of the  existing pot which  would probably reduce  every body                                                            
else's per share."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said that was "looked at" at one time. There are                                                             
some advantages to an unorganized area being in a borough. "This is                                                             
a Finance Committee issue more than our issue."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS moved SB 109 from committee. There were no                                                                     
objections.                                                                                                                     

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