Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/25/1996 08:20 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         April 25, 1996                                        
                            8:20 A.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 96-137, Side 1, #000 - end.                                         
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Mark Hanley  called  the House  Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 8:20 a.m.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley               Representative Martin                          
  Co-Chair Foster               Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Brown                                                         
  Representative Grussendorf    Representative Parnell                         
  Representative Kelly          Representative Therriault                      
  Representative Kohring                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre was absent from the meeting.                          
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator  Steve  Rieger;   Del  Smith,  Deputy  Commissioner,                 
  Department of Public Safety.                                                 
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  SB 80     An Act relating to police protection service areas                 
            in   unified   municipalities;   and   to   police                 
            protection  provided  by  the   state  in  certain                 
            municipal areas.                                                   
                                                                               
            SB  80   was   HELD  in   Committee  for   further                 
            consideration.                                                     
  SCR 29    Objecting  to  the Department  of Administration's                 
            settlement with  certain employees  of the  Alaska                 
            marine highway system.                                             
                                                                               
            SCR 29 was rescheduled to another time.                            
  SENATE BILL NO. 80                                                           
                                                                               
       An Act relating  to police protection service  areas in                 
       unified  municipalities;  and   to  police   protection                 
       provided by the state in certain municipal areas.                       
                                                                               
  SENATOR RIEGER, SPONSOR, testified  in behalf of SB 80.   He                 
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  explained  that SB  80 would  provide a  mechanism  to allow                 
  residents of  a municipality  that have  not formed  a local                 
  police protection service area to  pay for the state  police                 
  protection that they receive.  The legislation would require                 
  a  petition, vote  and an  assessment on the  area affected.                 
  The  Department  of  Public Safety  would  be  authorized to                 
  charge for the total cost of providing the   service plus 15                 
  percent.  He  emphasized that  the legislation could  reduce                 
  hard   feelings  by  residents   paying  for   local  police                 
  protection  against  those  who  are  not paying  for  these                 
  services.  He noted  that a survey contained in  the back-up                 
  (copy on file) shows that  Southeast Anchorage residents are                 
  willing to pay for these services.                                           
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger noted that a vote  in the last local election                 
  is  being  contested.    If  the   election  is  upheld  the                 
  legislation would not be needed.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Brown questioned if  language should be added                 
  to  clarify  that only  residents of  an  area in  a unified                 
  municipality that is not presently in a  police service area                 
  is effected.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger noted  that the legislation only  makes sense                 
  if there is no  local police service.   Representative Brown                 
  noted  that  Hillside  would be  paying  for  Anchorage city                 
  police  coverage  if  the vote  is  upheld.   Representative                 
  Rieger stated  that he  did not  anticipate the  legislation                 
  would be needed if the vote is upheld.                                       
                                                                               
  In response to  a question by Representative  Kelly, Senator                 
  Rieger  explained  that   Anchorage's  unification   charter                 
  contains  a  provision which  states  that services  are not                 
  annexed into  outer areas  except by  the vote  of the  area                 
  being annexed.  The issue is whether an area wide vote could                 
  annex an outlying  area in defiance  of this provision.   If                 
  the election is held to be valid the area will be annexed.                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder questioned  if  an area  of Anchorage                 
  could  vote to  dissolution  themselves  from the  Anchorage                 
  police department and use the provisions of the legislation.                 
  Senator  Rieger stated  that there  is no  provision in  the                 
  charter for dissolution of a service  area.  The legislation                 
  would not affect the charter.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder stated that he  did not understand why                 
  a  wealthy portion of  town would chose  to not join  in the                 
  organization   and  fixed   cost  of  an   organized  police                 
  department, but is willing to buy their own protection.                      
                                                                               
  Senator  Rieger  stressed  that  the  commercial   tax  base                 
  subsidizes the residential tax base.  He noted that the area                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  in question has almost zero commercial tax base.                             
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger did  not know the mill rate  paid by the area                 
  in question.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Grussendorf  expressed   concern  that   the                 
  Department  of  Public  Safety's  budget  not  be  adversely                 
  affected by the legislation.                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger  noted that a contractual  relationship would                 
  not exist.  He emphasized  that individuals assigned patrols                 
  would be  free  to respond  to emergencies  anywhere in  the                 
  State.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault  asked the average yearly cost per                 
  trooper.                                                                     
                                                                               
  DEL SMITH, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC  SAFETY                 
  testified that $76.0  thousand dollars would be  the average                 
  cost for a  trooper, benefits and  equipment.  The cost  for                 
  the  trooper  alone would  be  approximately  $60.0 thousand                 
  dollars a year.                                                              
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger  emphasized that  the primary  concern is  to                 
  receive good protection.  He noted that officers assigned to                 
  the area were  responsive.  He  maintained that there was  a                 
  good cooperative relationship.                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder  noted that  Departments must  operate                 
  within  budget  caps.    He questioned  if  the  addition of                 
  program receipts to the Department of Public Safety's budget                 
  would result in a decrease in services to other parts of the                 
  State.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Senator  Rieger argued that the fiscal  gap, not budget caps                 
  is the  real  financial  picture.    He  stressed  that  the                 
  legislation would decrease  the fiscal  gap.  He  maintained                 
  that program receipts  should not be ignored  in the setting                 
  of caps.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder noted  that program receipts  do fall                 
  within budget caps in the House.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  expressed concern that  Anchorage has                 
  binding arbitration with the police department.  He asked if                 
  private police services, other than state troopers, would be                 
  allowed in Anchorage.                                                        
                                                                               
  Senator  Rieger stressed  that the use  of a  private police                 
  force raises questions regarding  the immunity of  officers.                 
  He stated that a private police force would not be practical                 
  due to the  liability that  accrues with the  use of  force.                 
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Smith agreed with Senator Rieger's comments.                             
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  emphasized that  the troopers  have a                 
  monopoly.  He asserted that there should be competition.                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Smith  clarified that  troopers can  make arrests  under                 
  municipal ordinances.   He stated that individuals  arrested                 
  under  the  legislation  would generally  be  arrested under                 
  state law if  there is an  applicable state law, since  they                 
  would be prosecuted by the State.                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder questioned if there should be a fiscal                 
  impact  note  with the  legislation.   He  pointed  out that                 
  arrests would be under municipal  ordinance instead of state                 
  law if  there was a regular  police service area.   He noted                 
  that the State would be responsible for prosecution in areas                 
  covered by the legislation.                                                  
                                                                               
  Mr.  Smith explained that the  legislation has a zero fiscal                 
  note  because it  is viewed  as enabling  legislation.   The                 
  Department of  Public Safety  would receive  funding if  the                 
  legislation is passed and an area elects to use this option.                 
  He noted  that arrests are currently prosecuted by the State                 
  in the Hillside area.  He  stated that the Administration is                 
  opposed to  the legislation.   The  administration does  not                 
  feel that this is the  best police solution.  He  noted that                 
  the Department  of Public  Safety would be  able to  fulfill                 
  contractual obligations if the legislation is enacted.                       
                                                                               
  Representative Brown stressed that the  legislation can be a                 
  tool to unify  municipalities.  She  noted that some of  the                 
  core  areas  of  Anchorage  are  interested  in supplemental                 
  service.    She  maintained  that  budget policy  should  be                 
  adjusted  to  allow  program  receipts  to be  received  for                 
  services provided without regards to the bottom line  of the                 
  budget.  She questioned if subsection (c) should be modified                 
  to include prosecution  costs.  She  asked if there are  any                 
  other areas  in a  municipality exceeding  50,000 residents.                 
  Senator Rieger stated that there are  no other areas of this                 
  size   within   a   municipality   outside   of   Anchorage.                 
  Representative Brown noted  that Fairbanks could  be covered                 
  if the City and Borough were unified.                                        
                                                                               
  In response to a question  by Representative Martin, Senator                 
  Rieger stressed that  the legislation is not intended  to be                 
  far reaching.                                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell noted  that the  City and Borough  of                 
  Anchorage were unified  on the  third vote.   The first  two                 
  votes failed due to contention  on police issues, management                 
  of  ATU,  and  labor issues.    The  Commission  came to  an                 
  agreement on the  third vote  after provision  was made  for                 
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  police issues.  He noted that a  ballot question on the last                 
  election  asked  if  the  police   service  area  should  be                 
  dissolved   and   reestablished  incorporating   the  entire                 
  municipality of Anchorage.  The  ballot question was adopted                 
  by a  majority  of  voters.    If the  vote  is  upheld  the                 
  Constitution will  likely prohibit  the  Hillside Area  from                 
  contracting with troopers.  He noted that Article X, section                 
  V of the Constitution states that  a new service area should                 
  not be established if  the new service area can  be provided                 
  by an existing service area.  He stated that if the election                 
  is rejected by the  Court there is nothing wrong  with local                 
  determination and  control.   He expressed  support for  the                 
  legislation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder asked if the sponsor would support the                 
  inclusion of a  provision to allow  areas to have a  greater                 
  assessment for  greater protection.   Senator  Rieger stated                 
  that  he would be  adverse to the  addition if  there were a                 
  constitutional question.  He pointed  out that this addition                 
  would  raise different  issues.   He  stated  that he  would                 
  support   separate   legislation   that  might   include   a                 
  constitutional amendment to address the issue.                               
                                                                               
  SB 80 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                       
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 9:05 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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