Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/22/1993 09:10 AM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 NEA-Alaska 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 am 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 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS brought SB 78 (DEADLINES FOR FUNDING EDUCATION) before the committee as the next order of business. 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.