Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/18/1995 01:03 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE April 18, 1995 1:03 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Ivan Ivan, Co-Chair Representative Alan Austerman, Co-Chair Representative Kim Elton Representative Al Vezey Representative Pete Kott Representative Irene Nicholia Representative Jerry Mackie MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HB 272: "An Act relating to municipal taxation of motor vehicles; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 176: "An Act relating to errors in surveys of land." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 294: "An Act relating to the procurement of construction contracts for village safe water and hygienic sewage disposal facilities and to contributions by the users of the facilities." HEARD AND HELD * HB 262: "An Act relating to the human services community matching grant program; and providing for an effective date." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE MARK HANLEY Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 507 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4939 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 272 JIM COLBERG, Assemblyman Mat-Su Borough P.O. Box 336 Palmer, AK 99645 Telephone: (907) 745-4406 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 272 JAY DELANEY, Director Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety 5700 E. Tudor Anchorage, AK 99507 Telephone: (907) 269-5559 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 272 CHARLES MCKEE P.O. Box 143452 Anchorage, AK 99514 Telephone: Not Available POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 272 and HB 176 TIM ROGERS, Legislative Program Coordinator Municipality of Anchorage P.O. Box 196650 Anchorage, AK 99519 Telephone: (907) 786-8116 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 272 KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director Alaska Municipal League 210 2nd Street, Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-1325 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 272 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 108 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4843 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 176 GEORGE NEWSHAM, Assistant Municipal Attorney Municipality of Anchorage P.O. Box 196650 Anchorage, AK 99519 Telephone: (907) 343-4545 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 176 TOM KNOX, Municipal Surveyor Municipality of Anchorage P.O. Box 196650 Anchorage, AK 99519 Telephone: (907) 786-8116 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 176 CRAIG SAVAGE, Surveyor P.O. Box 520403 Big Lake, AK 99652 Telephone: (907) 272-5451 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 176 JOHN BENNETT, President Alaska Society of Land Surveyors 3123 Penguin Lane Fairbanks, AK 99701 Telephone: (907) 488-3814 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 176 JIM COLVER, President Mountain Construction & Engineering P.O. Box 100406 Anchorage, AK 99510 Telephone: (907) 561-7669 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 176 PATRICK KALAN, Vice President American Congress of Surveyors and Mapping 1041 Chena Ridge Road Fairbanks, AK 99701 Telephone: (907) 479-2628 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 176 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 216 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3719 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 294 CINDY THOMAS Alaska Native Health Board 1345 Rudakof Circle, Suite 206 Anchorage, AK 99508 Telephone: (907) 337-0028 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 294 BOB GILMAN Gilco Construction 6251 Tuttle Place, Suite 104 Anchorage, AK 99507 Telephone: (907) 561-2155 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 294 LAMAR COTTEN, Deputy Commissioner Department of Community and Regional Affairs P.O. Box 190800 Juneau, AK 99811 Telephone: (907) 465-4708 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 294 JULES WRIGHT Tanana Chiefs Conference 122 1st Avenue Fairbanks, AK 99701 Telephone: (907) 452-8251, Ext. 3196 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 294 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 272 SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL MOTOR VEHICLE TAX SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) HANLEY JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/22/95 852 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/22/95 852 (H) CRA, FINANCE 04/11/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 04/18/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 176 SHORT TITLE: ADJUSTMENTS FOR DEFECTIVE SURVEY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/10/95 304 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/10/95 304 (H) COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY 04/18/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 294 SHORT TITLE: BIDDING FOR VILLAGE WATER/SEWER FACILITY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) VEZEY JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/05/95 1026 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/05/95 1026 (H) CRA, LABOR & COMMERCE, FINANCE 04/11/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 04/18/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 262 SHORT TITLE: HUMAN SERVICES COMMUNITY MATCHING GRANTS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KELLY,Therriault JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/17/95 778 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/17/95 778 (H) CRA, HESS, FIN 03/30/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 04/11/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 04/18/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-13, SIDE A Number 000 CO-CHAIR IVAN IVAN called the House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee to order at 1:03 p.m. He noted the members present at the call to order were Representatives Ivan, Austerman, Kott, Vezey and Elton. The agenda contained HB 272--Municipal Motor Vehicle Tax, HB 176--Adjustments for Defective Surveys, HB 262--Human Services Community Matching Grants, and HB 294--Bidding for Village Water/Sewer Facilities. He also noted that on teleconference were Anchorage, Bethel, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Mat-Su, Nome, Sand Point, and Kenai/Soldotna. HB 272 - MUNICIPAL MOTOR VEHICLE TAX Number 036 CO-CHAIR IVAN said the first bill to be heard was HB 272, sponsored by Representative Hanley. Packets included a proposed amendment, fiscal notes, sponsor statement and supporting documents. He invited Representative Hanley to introduce HB 272 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HANLEY, sponsor, indicated that he had introduced the bill to allow municipalities to increase or decrease the municipal tax schedule currently set in statute. There is an 8 percent administrative fee that is taken out for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to handle the collections, and the rest of the municipal fee is passed to the municipality. This is an option for municipalities to increase or decrease the tax every two years on motor vehicles. The Division of Motor Vehicles would collect the tax at the time of registration of the vehicle and pass on the tax to the municipalities, less the 8 percent administrative fee. It is estimated that the additional fees would produced approximately $500,000 to the state. Costs for the program include changes to the computer program. The proposed amendment would allow DPS to collect a one-time fee for any changes to the computer system caused by a municipality's increased fee schedule. The department anticipated it will require an additional minute of time per transaction to handle this tax. The intent of the bill is to give the municipalities the flexibility to get away from the legislature's having to raise taxes for municipalities and allows the DPS to collect a one-time charge to cover programming changes to set up the fee. Number 164 CO-CHAIR ALAN AUSTERMAN asked if in addition to the monies retained under (e) of this section, which was the administrative fee, the monies incurred and implemented referred to the one-time fee. Number 180 REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY indicated the reason for the amendment was to clarify the intent of the legislature which was to provide for a one-time fee to cover the programming changes in the tax schedule in addition to the 8 percent fee. He noted that the 8 percent administrative fee could not be changed. Number 194 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN moved to adopt the amendment. Number 196 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were objections; hearing none, the amendment was adopted. He then indicated there were people on teleconference to testify on the bill. He recognized Mr. Jim Colberg of the Mat-Su Borough. Number 210 JIM COLBERG, Mat-Su Assembly member, testified via teleconference in support of HB 272. He believed it was an extremely important bill for Mat-Su. The borough is in need of taxes that spread the burden fairly throughout the borough. They currently collect an average of $11.40 each year per vehicle on 68,000 vehicles, which is roughly $775,000. The state keeps $62,000 under the 8 percent. Under the proposed legislation, if the borough could average $50 per vehicle, the borough could bring in $3.4 million and would net the state $272,000. He didn't anticipate there would be a substantial cost to the state to collect the increased amount. He felt a tax like this would allow the borough to do away with an onerous personal property tax and fairly tax vehicles at a reasonable rate. He emphasized he felt this legislation was very important. Number 260 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked if part of the increased fee would go to road maintenance. Number 270 MR. COLBERG indicated that he could not indicate where the additional funds would go, but with a $4 million increase in taxation for schools alone, it wouldn't begin to cover the costs the borough foresees. Number 276 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked for an explanation of the math involved in increasing the motor vehicle tax again. Number 283 MR. COLBERG reiterated that there were 68,000 motor vehicles in Mat-Su. Out of the $35 registration fee paid, Mat-Su collects $11.40 per vehicle, which results in $775,000; of that, $62,000 went to the state. At $50 per vehicle, Mat-Su would collect $3.4 million and the state would receive approximately $272,000. Number 306 JAY DELANEY, Director, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Safety (DPS), stated his concerns were that the single table tax schedule was easy to administer. With 13 different local governments now participating, and a potential for others to participate, he expressed reservation about a system that could handle so many different tax rates. Another concern was that the customers believe this is a state tax since the DPS collects it, and as a result would get numerous complaints, comments and questions which would increase the amount of time a counter person would have to spend with each person registering a vehicle. In its fiscal note, the DPS estimated an increase of one minute per transaction as a result of this legislation. This would require an additional seven positions in the budget, one accounting clerk, one accounting technician and five counter people. The one accounting technician would be required for FY 96; the others would not be needed until FY 97. He anticipated the revenues generated would more than offset the cost of changes required by the DPS. He believed that many municipalities would take advantage of this tax. Mr. Delaney indicated that of the 8 percent collected, the division only received a portion of it. The rest goes into the general fund. Number 383 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN inquired whether the fees and the taxes are the same for each municipality that the state collects. Number 393 MR. DELANEY indicated that currently the tax was the same in each municipality. Number 397 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN then asked if the same dollar figure was collected at each one of the locations. Number 403 MR. DELANEY clarified that the tax table was the same. It varies for the different year of the vehicle, but is the same for each of the locations. Number 407 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked if the revised bill required a computer update to accomplish. Number 414 MR. DELANEY indicated the computer system would make the calculation, resulting in substantial changes to the program to enter the different tax tables for the different locations. The one-time cost would cover this. Number 427 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked if in FY 96 and FY 97 seven new people would be required. Number 429 MR. DELANEY stated that one of the seven people was the accounting technician that would be required in FY 96 to get the programs going. The other positions were to handle the impact at the counter. The department anticipates that each transaction would require one extra minute to handle because of the customer frustration at an increased tax. This equated to over 9,000 person hours a year, resulting in the additional 6 positions. Number 440 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked if that was the total transactions conducted and had the recent changes to get people to mail in their registration worked. Number 444 MR. DELANEY indicated that was the primary reason for using one minute. They have reduced the number of individuals that come in for the registration with the mailout program; however, only about 60 percent are using it. Number 447 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked why on the fiscal note the biggest impact was going to be in FY 97 when the legislation wouldn't take effect until January 1997. Didn't that mean that only half of FY 97 would be affected. Number 458 MR. DELANEY indicated that approximately six months was required to train people for these counter positions. The funds for FY 97 would be considered in the FY 97 budget. Number 470 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON indicated that he was bothered by the fact that not all the receipts from the 8 percent fee were not going to the DPS. He inquired how much of the 8 percent was actually going back to the department. Number 490 MR. DELANEY stated that the department was currently collecting a little over $500,000. It is difficult to say how much of that particular program receipt goes back to the department because they are all lumped into one. In the past, when it was broken out, the department was authorized to use approximately $250,000, which goes to fund the accounting section. However, the department has additional costs in the collection areas. Two hundred fifty thousand dollars was appropriated but it costs substantially more to collect the motor vehicle tax. Number 512 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated he continued to be bothered by the fact that the state general fund gets the receipts because a municipality has passed a tax. Number 515 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN noted that there were a lot of taxes similar to that. About 50 percent of the fisheries tax goes into the general fund. He then asked Mr. Delaney where the seven positions would be. Number 522 MR. DELANEY noted that the positions would be in the higher traffic areas, probably Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna, Palmer, Juneau and Ketchikan. It was dependant on how they could be moved around. Number 525 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked how many field offices the department had. Number 528 MR. DELANEY indicated the department currently had 21 field offices with 13 commissioned agents. Number 530 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked if this was going to affect all offices. Number 535 MR. DELANEY indicated that the impact would be throughout the state, but they had to place the individuals where the impact was the greatest. Number 538 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked why Juneau would get additional help. Number 540 MR. DELANEY stated that the high traffic offices would be looked at based on size. Number 542 CO-CHAIR IVAN indicated the next people to testify would be from Anchorage. The first would be Mr. Charles McKee. Number 550 CHARLES MCKEE, Anchorage, testified via teleconference and said he was sleeping in a van that he could not change title to because he did not have a driver's license. He opposed the municipality and the department receiving more funds through taxation. Number 578 TIM ROGERS, Legislative Program Coordinator, Municipality of Anchorage (MOA), stated that the municipality supported HB 272 and it was one of the highest legislative priorities. A $2 surcharge would generate $350,000 and go a long way toward solving the problem of abandoned cars in the MOA. He supported that tax as one borne by the user and supported the idea that the municipality should set its own tax rate. Number 610 KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League (AML), explained that this bill had been adopted by the AML as part of its platform and does create more flexibility on the part of municipalities to take care of the problems in their communities by spreading the cost fairly. Number 630 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN moved that CSHB 272(CRA) with individual recommendations and fiscal notes be passed out of the Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee. CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were objections. Hearing none, the bill moved from committee. HB 176 - ADJUSTMENTS FOR DEFECTIVE SURVEY Number 634 The next bill to be heard was HB 176. CO-CHAIR IVAN indicated that the packets contained a proposed committee substitute, fiscal note, sponsor statement and supporting documentation. Representative Bunde was invited to introduce the bill. CO-CHAIR IVAN asked for adoption of the committee substitute. Number 649 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN moved that the committee substitute be adopted for discussion purposes. Number 650 CO-CHAIR IVAN indicated there was no objection and the committee substitute was adopted. He noted that Representative Nicholia had joined the committee. Number 651 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE stated this legislation pertained to a problem with survey in his district. The survey has been a problem for people in that area for a long time. It is manifestly defective. This results in no one having a clear title within the subdivision and could not refinance or sell their property. Individual property owners could bring a quiet title action against surrounding lots; however, this is not a practical solution when there are multi-owner, multi-lot problems and the outside markers are so far off. HB 176 would allow a party to enjoin all property owners of record after properly petitioning the court, a resolution by the local government, and the creation of a special assessment district to request a resurvey and replat of a manifestly defective subdivision survey. This would result in changing individual lots through a superior court action. The MOA has requested this legislation to correct two manifestly defective surveys including 347 lots. While the changes are directed at an Anchorage situation, they would also be available to solve similar situations throughout the state. It was the sponsor's understanding that there was a similar problem in Nome. The bill allows for a vote of all affected property owners to determine if a resurvey of the entire subdivision or subdivisions should occur. The majority must concur to form a special assessment district. The municipality then must pass a resolution supporting this action in the formation of the assessment district. A complaint must be filed with court including a statement of fact and all relevant information surrounding the survey and the area in question. The MOA has considerable area in these subdivisions and is offering some of their land to resolve the problem. TAPE 95-13, SIDE B Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE indicated that a subcommittee of the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors, working with the various entities involved, concluded that when a subdivision survey is manifestly defective, it cannot be resolved on a piecemeal basis and had worked with the sponsor on the legislation. Number 021 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked what the definition was of a manifestly defective survey. Number 032 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that referring to page 5, line 2, it was when the entire subdivision was inaccurate. Number 048 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if by definition any survey that didn't include a rectangular survey system description or U.S. survey description would be defective, including mineral surveys and right-to-entry lands. He was concerned that there were a number of legal surveys now that would not be if this definition was adopted. Number 080 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE indicated that those things were not included. Number 085 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY then read that defective surveys did not include BLM rectangular surveys, U.S. surveys or state rectangular plats. Number 097 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked why there was such a difference between the committee substitute and the original bill. Number 110 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that it was the result of compromises with the Society of Land Surveyors. It puts a limit on the time available to address the issue and didn't put it in statutory language. It is a short-term answer. Number 122 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors endorsed the bill. Number 128 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that it was his understanding that the president of the society had expressed nonobjection. He did not think there was strong support, however. He indicated that he had worked with them, but the CS had not been taken before them. Number 140 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY felt that in general they were moving away from the buyer beware concept. These people did not buy what they thought they were buying. He thought that the MOA throwing in land could probably solve the problem. Number 168 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE indicated that the people bought land that was surveyed. The state of Alaska usually approves surveys through the municipality. The municipality accepted the survey. The individual buyer had reason to believe that the survey was valid. The original surveyor did a lousy job and is no longer around. This bill is an attempt to collectively solve the problem. Number 194 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked where are the property owners, as far as their title insurance goes; had there been any recourse through the insurance company. Number 204 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE indicated there was no recourse because they were not able to get title insurance. Number 209 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated that title insurance was usually a condition of closing. Was it Representative Bunde's understanding that these property owners didn't have title insurance. Number 211 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said that was his understanding. Number 215 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY indicated that the committee substitute was a substantially changed version of the bill. He did appreciate the sunset clause. He had not been able to find a similar statute in any of the other 50 states. He asked if Representative Bunde was aware of any. Number 222 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE indicated he was not. Number 228 GEORGE NEWSHAM, Assistant Municipal Attorney, Municipality of Anchorage, agreed that the committee substitute was a significantly changed bill which was a credit to the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors, particularly in the area of cost and protection of private property rights. One area of improvement was the establishment of an assessment district which requires a vote of the majority of the property owners in the proposed district. It also requires the official governing body to provide a resolution in support of the act. Both provide a great deal of protection for those people who do not want to participate. Another issue is divorcing this bill from the slide bill which was in last year's legislation. This was to try to keep as much separateness and not try to amend the Earth Slide Relief Act. Regarding the issue of title insurance, people are having difficulty in financing their properties because lenders are unwilling to lend on property which has an unworkable survey. The MOA does own a substantial amount of property in the area. Even if the MOA does offer some land, there is still the problem of the unworkable plat. Therefore, they feel this is the way to solve the problem. Number 284 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked how many of the 347 plots are owned by the municipality. MR. NEWSHAM indicated there were approximately 20-30 lots. Number 294 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if any of the property owners, after the initial owners, purchased title insurance. Had anyone recovered from the title insurance company. Number 314 MR. NEWSHAM stated that some have title insurance, but he was unaware of any claims made on the title insurance policies. Part of the problem with a quiet title action is that it is hard to show the damages when the original survey was so bad. Number 323 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if he was saying that some of the property owners had title insurance and wasn't title insurance based on a legal description of a recorded subdivision in Anchorage. Number 328 MR. NEWSHAM indicated that the problem was that the survey was so bad that there is more property being sold than is in the subdivision. It is difficult to see what the title insurance was going to do because the plat said you owned a lot or section in that subdivision, but the survey was worthless. Number 330 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated he was still curious about why no one had filed an action with the title insurance company. If they insured the property, and then found out that the piece of property didn't exist or can't be located, the policy holder's rights would be upheld. Number 333 MR. NEWSHAM indicated he was not aware of any claims. Number 335 TOM KNOX, professional land surveyor, Municipal Surveyor with the Municipality of Anchorage, stated that in the last nine years, at least once a month a property owner contacted him from these areas asking for an explanation of the problem. The bill is trying to give the property owners within the boundary of the defective survey subdivisions, an opportunity to resolve the location and produce an accurate description of their property. The survey affects the whole subdivision and, therefore, requires the whole area to be resurveyed. He supported passage of the legislation. Number 388 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if Mr. Knox had discussed the issue with other members of the Alaska Society of Land Surveyors and, if so, would he summarize those discussions. Number 410 MR. KNOX stated as a member of the society and listening to the comments of John Bennett, the president of the society, he understood that they support the concept of trying to resolve survey issues addressed by the bill, but did not give complete support because they had not seen the final version. Number 420 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if one person could demand that their property rights be upheld and could cause problems for all involved. Number 422 MR. KNOX stated that he couldn't address the constitutional issues, but as far as Anchorage was concerned, Anchorage has changed its ordinances to allow surveys to be a part of an assessment district or an improvement that could be assessed. Safeguards are built in, such as a majority of people who recognize the need for the improvement be required to approve it and the minority would have to go along with it. The right remains to challenge it in court. Number 437 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if, as a surveyor, Mr. Knox could go in and redivide and make all the property owners happy. Number 443 MR. KNOX indicated he didn't know if he could answer the happiness issue. He did know that the property corners in the two subdivision were staked and would require retracing to establish. Through the years, people have made improvements off their property and those problems will come to light. That is why the court is needed. There will be people who will be unhappy. Number 464 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE noted that on page 4, line 26, the bill states, "this section does not affect the right of a person harmed by a defective survey to recover damages from the defective survey or limit the liability of the person who did the survey." It does allow the issue to be addressed in court. Number 471 CRAIG SAVAGE, land surveyor in Anchorage, past president of the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, expressed concern with the bill and thought it should be looked at carefully and slowly. One concern was that there is no other example of this legislation in the U.S. and wondered why that was. Another concern was regarding the funding. He considered the special assessment district concept of funding unfair, expensive and cumbersome. People who are satisfied with their property lines should not have to fund others who are not. The assessment will have to be grossly inflated to cover unforeseen costs. People should have a way to solve their title problems, but they should also fund those solutions. He suggested a more appropriate remedy would be through modification of the quiet title laws to allow for a class action suit. Number 515 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE noted that a majority of the people he had heard from in the affected area supported redress. He agreed that he didn't want to assess people for something that didn't provide a benefit to them. He felt this legislation did improve the quality of the subdivisions involved. Number 531 JOHN BENNETT, President, Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ASPLS), indicated they had put together a subcommittee to review the legislation and offer assistance. Part of his membership felt that resolution could be found in existing law, individual rights could be trampled by the process, and there was a fuzzy definition of what constituted a defective survey. Members in favor saw it as the only rational solution to such a large scale boundary and title problem, given the cost of dealing with it on a lot-by-lot basis. Although a phone poll had resulted in a 6-6 split, he felt that the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors had to take a position. He stated the ASPLS was in support of the general concept of the legislative solution, although the support was weak. He indicated they hadn't seen the Senate substitute which modified the approach a little bit. The sunset provision and the complicated process made it more acceptable. Number 563 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated he was uneasy about the lack of a definition of defective survey and no definition of manifestly defective survey. Would the society by willing to investigate the definition. Number 570 MR. BENNETT indicated the committee was working with Senator Rieger's office in developing the definitions and would be willing to look at it again. Number 576 JIM COLVER, President, Mountain Construction & Engineering, felt this was an isolated situation. He felt the legislation was dealing with common law traditions which was that the physical evidence holds, and once established and used over time, established the boundaries. He thought that was the foundation of boundary law. He felt one remedy was to replat sections of the subdivision. If someone built a house where they thought their lot was, create a lot around it. Land trades were also part of the solution. In individual lot situations in Mat-Su, nonconforming permits are issued, which might work in this situation. He was hesitant to rewrite law to solve one subdivision's problems. He also supported changes to the quiet title actions as a solution. He felt this legislation was too encompassing. Number 634 MR. MCKEE, Anchorage, elaborated on problems he has had with these issues. Number 668 PATRICK KALAN, Vice Chairman of the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping, noted that this was a problem specific to Anchorage. He preferred the legislation to be specific to Rabbit Creek subdivision. He believed the surveying community was divided on how to deal with this situation. He was concerned with setting a precedent and didn't know of any other legislation similar to this. He felt the committee substitute was an improvement and appreciated the sunset clause. He hoped the committee would go slowly after more consideration. TAPE 95-14, SIDE A Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE summarized that this situation had been going on for 20 years and we're in need of the state's assistance to resolve the problem. It was a unique situation; however, redress was necessary. If there were ways to do it from a private point of view, they would have done so. This was a compromise. Number 040 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if quiet title action had been pursued. Number 062 MR. KNOX stated that no one had taken a quiet action to court as far as he knew. Number 080 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE indicated that while one person could get the quiet title to their property, the problems involved the entire subdivision. Number 081 MR. KNOX stated that a class action would be necessary to resolve the entire subdivision issue. Number 089 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if the municipality had considered using its powers of eminent domain and take possession of the property and become the sole owner and subdivide it as they saw fit. Number 100 MR. KNOX indicated he felt it would be a bad idea for the MOA to take the property because they didn't have accurate descriptions. Number 113 CO-CHAIR IVAN inquired as to the wish of the committee regarding the bill. Number 115 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY noted that the bill had a further referral to the Judiciary Committee and the committee substitute hadn't had as much review as the original bill. He moved that CSHB 176(CRA) with attached fiscal note be passed out with individual recommendations. Number 126 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, CSHB 176(CRA) passed out of committee. CO-CHAIR IVAN indicated that HB 262 would be held until Thursday, April 20. HB 294 - BIDDING FOR VILLAGE WATER/SEWER FACILITY Number 152 CO-CHAIR IVAN said the next bill would be HB 294. He recognized Representative Vezey, the bill sponsor. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY, sponsor, stated that village safe water projects were a very important capital improvement project that the state has been involved in for a number of years. It is estimated there is a $2.5 billion backlog on water/sewer programs in Alaska. The current system that is used does not follow the state procurement practices. He felt there was overwhelming evidence that the state could save a substantial amount of money by using competitive bidding. Number 176 CO-CHAIR IVAN indicated that those on teleconference would be testifying. Number 178 CINDY THOMAS, Alaska Native Health Board, was concerned that there were critical legal and statutory issues in the legislation. She encourage the committee not to pass the legislation as written. She indicated she was the coordinator of the Alaska Sanitation Coalition and was speaking on behalf of them. One of her concerns was that this legislation would remove some of the ability of the community to make local decisions. Competitive bidding might result in the loss of local hire and local training. Rural Alaska has severe economic concerns, with a lack of cash economy, and worried that this might remove the ability for the community to control these programs. Many sanitation projects blend federal and state money which had different requirements and this legislation would complicate that further. She also submitted a resolution by AFN urging repeal of any laws that prohibit local hire. Number 249 BOB GILMAN, a general contractor representing the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, said currently Public Health Service (PHS) grants were supporting up to $8 million in projects. He was a proponent of the competitive bid process. Large projects have been administered by little villages with no experience at contract administration and hiring consulting engineers at the direction of the PHS. The cost of the projects are increased as a result. There is no accountability or incentive for efficiency in labor, methods or use of equipment. He felt the Associated General Contractors had a good record for hiring locally. He supported the competitive bid process. Number 308 LAMAR COTTEN, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA), stated the department opposed the bill. He felt there were benefits to local hire and timing the projects to community need. The projects also developed locals working on the projects to become public works departments within the community to care for the projects and developed the community ownership idea. He reiterated that the department did not support the legislation and runs counter to development in small communities. Number 358 JIM COLVER, President of Mountain Construction and Engineering, indicated he had done rural Alaska projects and seen waste within the communities. It is a jobs issue. He felt that framework needed to be used to increase the functionability of good design and good accountability by consultants. He recommended revamping the entire village water and sewer structure. Competitive bidding was an important component. New equipment is not needed for every job. He suggested a certain percentage of the contract to disadvantage businesses, a number of local hires required and trained, if necessary. Local hire and reducing costs can be incorporated. Number 404 JULES WRIGHT, Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks, expressed his opposition to the bill. It's taking away local control. Local hire is very important. He was concerned about a conflict of interest with the sponsor of the legislation. He supported making the villages responsible to their projects. Number 449 CO-CHAIR IVAN concluded the teleconference testimony and indicated this bill would be held until April 20, along with HB 262 and HB 154. ADJOURNMENT Number 459 CO-CHAIR IVAN adjourned the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee at 3:00 p.m.