Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/22/1993 09:10 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
          SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                        
                         April 22, 1993                                        
                            9:10 a.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman                                             
  Senator Loren Leman                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chairman                                          
  Senator Al Adams                                                             
  Senator Fred Zharoff                                                         
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
  Senator Suzanne Little                                                       
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  HOUSE BILL NO. 180 am                                                        
  "An  Act  relating  to  the  residential  housing inspection                 
  requirements of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation."                     
  HOUSE BILL NO. 89                                                            
  "An Act revising  the law on borough  assembly apportionment                 
  as recommended by the revisor of statutes; and providing for                 
  an effective date."                                                          
  SENATE BILL NO. 78                                                           
  "An  Act  relating to  deadlines  for action  on  funding of                 
  public education; and providing for an effective date."                      
  SENATE BILL NO. 191                                                          
  "An Act relating to municipal  property tax limitations; and                 
  providing for an effective date."                                            
  SENATE BILL NO. 164                                                          
  "An    Act    relating    to     municipal    incorporation,                 
  reclassification, and dissolution."                                          
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
  HB 180 - No previous action to record.                                       
  HB  89 - No previous action to record.                                       
  SB  78 - No previous action to record.                                       
  SB 191 - No previous action to record.                                       
  SB 164 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes                            
           dated 3/30/93, 4/13/93, 4/20/93.                                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  Dave Harding, Staff to Representative Eileen MacLean                         
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 9999801-1182                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on HB 180                           
  Senator Suzanne Little                                                       
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Voiced concerns on HB 180                               
                       Offered information on  SB 78                           
  Pete Crandall                                                                
  National Bank of Alaska                                                      
  Juneau, AK                                                                   
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 180                          
  Dave Dierdorff, Revisor of Statutes                                          
  Division of Legal Services                                                   
  Legislative Affairs Agency                                                   
  130 Seward St., Suite 409                                                    
  Juneau, AK 99801                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on HB 89                            
  Claudia Douglas, President                                                   
  105 Municipal Way                                                            
  Juneau, AK 99801                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 78                           
  Duane Guiley, Director                                                       
  School Finance                                                               
  Department of Education                                                      
  801 W. 10th St., Suite 200                                                   
  Juneau, AK 99801                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on SB 78                            
  Carol Carrol, Staff to Senator Jay Kerttula                                  
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on SB 191                           
  Kent Swisher, Executive Director                                             
  Alaska Municipal League                                                      
  217 2nd St.                                                                  
  Juneau, AK 99801                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed to SB 191                                       
  Dan Bockhorst, Staff to Alaska Local                                         
    Boundary Commission                                                        
  Department of Community & Regional Affairs                                   
  333 4th Ave., Suite 220                                                      
  Anchorage, AK 99501-2341                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on SB 164                           
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-24, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called                 
  to order by Chairman Randy Phillips at 9:10 a.m.  Due to the                 
  lack of a quorum, he stated only testimony would be taken on                 
  the legislation before the committee.  He then introduced HB
  180 am (AHFC  HOUSING INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS) as  the first                 
  order of business.                                                           
  Number 025                                                                   
  DAVID  HARDING, staff to Representative Eileen MacLean, said                 
  the legislation is a response to an  unintended problem that                 
  happened when the Department  Community & Regional  Affairs'                 
  rural  housing  loan  program  was  merged into  the  Alaska                 
  Housing Finance Corporation last year.   When that happened,                 
  that  loan  program  became  subject  to  housing inspection                 
  requirements  that  were never  intended  to apply  to those                 
  rural loans.                                                                 
  The inspection requirements  include at  least four or  more                 
  site visits by  a certified inspector.   In the more  remote                 
  areas of the state that can be a real problem because of the                 
  lack  of  inspectors,   and  there  never  will   be  enough                 
  inspectors because there is not  enough building going on in                 
  those areas.                                                                 
  HB 180  am proposes  to add  some flexibility  to allow  the                 
  inspection program to stay in place  for those loans, but to                 
  allow some flexibility in the requirements by broadening the                 
  pool of people who are eligible  to do the inspections.  The                 
  legislation also authorizes AHFC  to accept building methods                 
  or materials that may  not meet state building codes  if the                 
  corporation is satisfied  that the  code variation does  not                 
  sacrifice health or safety.                                                  
  Number 070                                                                   
  SENATOR SUZANNE LITTLE said she has had duties as a building                 
  official in Soldotna, and they  struggled very hard and  are                 
  very much  in favor  of having  International Conference  of                 
  Building  Officials  (ICBO)  certification  for  inspectors,                 
  especially involving AHFC funds.                                             
  Senator Little stated her concern that  the bill is a little                 
  broad, and she  suggested that narrowing it down  to benefit                 
  those communities  that really  have problems  would be  the                 
  best way to handle it.                                                       
  Senator  Little  asked if  the  problem was  mostly  in bush                 
  communities.  DAVID HARDING responded that it is and that is                 
  what they are trying to deal with in the legislation.  There                 
  is a definition  of "rural"  in the  bill which  essentially                 
  gets it  off the  road  system.   The added  expense is  for                 
  flying people  in to  do an  inspection which  is above  and                 
  beyond the cost of the inspection.                                           
  Senator Little also  expressed concern  with a provision  in                 
  the hill which allows an inspection by video tape.                           
  Number 165                                                                   
  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS   asked Mr.  Harding to look over  an                 
  amendment in the members' packets  which addresses a concern                 
  expressed  by  the  Kenai  Peninsula  Builders'  Association                 
  relating to eliminating ICBO inspectors.                                     
  Number 175                                                                   
  PETE CRANDALL,  National Bank of  Alaska, stated NBA   finds                 
  the rural housing  program to be  one of the most  effective                 
  housing tools  is has, and  that having some  flexibility is                 
  critical for them in increasing housing in rural areas.                      
  Mr. Crandall related  that wherever there is  a potential to                 
  use  inspectors or the  qualified people, they  are going to                 
  use them, but it is not feasible to fly four people out to a                 
  very rural village at a tremendous  cost where one house may                 
  be under construction.                                                       
  SENATOR  RANDY PHILLIPS closed the public  hearing on HB 180                 
  Number 190                                                                   
  SENATOR RANDY  PHILLIPS introduced  HB 89  (BOROUGH ASSEMBLY                 
  APPORTIONMENT) as the next order of business.                                
  DAVE  DIERDORFF, Revisor  of  Statutes,  Division  of  Legal                 
  Services,  Legislative Affairs Agency,  explained that HB 89                 
  is a rewrite, for clarity only, of a seldom used part of the                 
  law.    It  is  a  technical  rewrite of  laws  relating  to                 
  apportionment  and  reapportionment.   He  said it  does not                 
  change the substance of the statute, but makes it readable.                  
  There being no other witnesses present  to testify on HB 89,                 
  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS closed the public hearing.                            
  Number 240                                                                   
  EDUCATION)  before  the  committee  as  the  next  order  of                 
  SENATOR SUZANNE  LITTLE, prime sponsor  of SB 78,  noted the                 
  legislation  has   the  support   of   NEA-Alaska  and   the                 
  Association of Alaska School Boards.   It will require early                 
  funding of education by the legislature.  Having served on a                 
  borough  assembly,  she  has  seen  school  boards  struggle                 
  putting forward  four or  five budgets  based on what  might                 
  happen in Juneau,  which she  believes is a  waste of  time,                 
  energy and money.                                                            
  Senator Little said  having the  legislation in place  would                 
  make a big difference in the way that we plan for our school                 
  expenditures, and  it would  put rationality  back into  the                 
  process.  She urged the committee's support for SB 78.                       
  Number 265                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN  commented  that he  was in  support of  early                 
  funding  of  schools and  would  like to  see  early funding                 
  applied to the rest of the budget process.                                   
  Number 293                                                                   
  CLAUDIA   DOUGLAS,   President,  NEA-Alaska,   voiced  NEA's                 
  appreciation for  the introduction  of the  bill, and  their                 
  support for it.                                                              
  Ms. Douglas said it always causes so much confusion when the                 
  funding piece doesn't  finalize itself  until the very  last                 
  days of school, and it causes  school districts to have lay-                 
  off language and give people letters of termination.                         
  Number 305                                                                   
  DUANE  GUILEY,  Director,  School  Finance,  Department   of                 
  Education,  stated the  department's  support for  the early                 
  appropriation of funds in support of the K-12 public  school                 
  foundation program, the pupil transportation program and all                 
  the related K-12 support programs mentioned in SB 78.                        
  Mr. Guiley said the department has no objection to the delay                 
  from April 1  through April 30  for submittal of the  school                 
  district  budget to the borough  assembly.  They believe the                 
  delay  may,  in  fact, improve  the  budget  submissions and                 
  reduce  the   administrative  burden  associated   with  the                 
  preparation of multiple drafts of the operating budget.                      
  Mr. Guiley further said that early funding does not increase                 
  the  cost  of   the  programs,  nor   does  it  impact   the                 
  administration of the program, but  it does provide critical                 
  financial information to  the school  districts at the  time                 
  when they  are making  their staffing  decisions and  making                 
  their educational programing decisions.                                      
  Number 345                                                                   
  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS closed the public hearing on SB 78.                   
  Number 350                                                                   
  SENATOR RANDY  PHILLIPS brought  SB 191  (MUNICIPAL PROPERTY                 
  TAX LIMITATIONS) before the committee.                                       
  CAROL CARROL, staff  to Senator Jay Kerttula,  explained the                 
  legislation would clarify law for general law municipalities                 
  that would  allow them to put a tax limitation on the ballot                 
  by initiative.  If  an initiative had passed and there was a                 
  tax cap, then the only way that it could be removed would be                 
  by referendum.                                                               
  Ms. Carrol  said  the  legislation  would  become  effective                 
  January 1, 1994, the beginning of the new calendar year.                     
  Number 390                                                                   
  TAM COOK, Director, Division of Legal Services,  Legislative                 
  Affairs Agency,  added that from  time to  time, people  are                 
  concerned  that if  there were  a  tax limitation,  it would                 
  somehow adversely affect bonding.   This particular language                 
  is drafted so that the language  on bonding which now exists                 
  in the statute and  provides that any limit on  taxes cannot                 
  be imposed to  affect payback  of bonds will  apply to  this                 
  limit  too,  assuming  that  the   voters  of  a  particular                 
  municipality  chose to  impose  a limit.    She assured  the                 
  committee that bonds would remain protected.                                 
  Number 400                                                                   
  KEN SWISHER,  Executive Director,  Alaska Municipal  League,                 
  voiced opposition to SB 191.  Doing  something by initiative                 
  creates the  opportunity to  reduce municipal  tax authority                 
  through  an  action  directly by  the  public.    The League                 
  believes that  it creates  a vulnerability  in terms  of the                 
  muncipality's  operating budget.    The  proper  remedy  for                 
  disputes about taxation is through  the electoral process in                 
  terms of selecting people who are in office.                                 
  Mr. Swisher  suggested that it  would be more  acceptable if                 
  the  bill were  to  be  amended  in  such  a  way  that  the                 
  initiative was not a possibility.                                            
  Number 425                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN disagreed with Mr. Swisher's comments and said                 
  he thinks having the ability to  have a "taxpayer revolt" is                 
  one of the beauties of the our system.                                       
  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS closed the public hearing on SB 191.                  
  Number 440                                                                   
  SENATOR   RANDY   PHILLIPS   brought   SB   164   (MUNICIPAL                 
  INCORP/RECLASSIFICATION/DISSOLUTION) before the committee as                 
  the final order of business.                                                 
  DAN BOCKHORST, serving as staff to the Alaska Local Boundary                 
  Commission and  employed by  the Department  of Community  &                 
  Regional   Affairs,   testified  from   Anchorage   via  the                 
  teleconference network.                                                      
  Mr. Bockhorst said he has reviewed the most recent committee                 
  substitute and  finds the bill  to be  accommodating of  the                 
  issues,  concerns   and  policy  matters   relating  to  the                 
  incorporation, reclassification, dissolution, etc.  He added                 
  that there were three minor  technical points which had been                 
  conveyed to the chairman in writing.                                         
  Number 456                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN  asked if  those three  technical points  were                 
  included in the draft committee  substitute which was before                 
  the committee.   DAN BOCKHORST responded that he  does think                 
  those three points are in the April 9 draft.                                 
  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS closed the public hearing on SB 164.                  
  and  stated  that  because  the   committee  was  unable  to                 
  establish a quorum, any action on the calendared bills would                 
  be held  over until the next  meeting of the committee.   He                 
  then adjourned the meeting at 9:51 a.m.                                      

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