Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/28/1994 09:05 AM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS April 28, 1994 9:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Al Adams Senator Fred Zharoff MEMBERS ABSENT All Members Present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 467 "An Act relating to housing programs of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and of regional housing authorities, and permitting regional housing authorities to make, originate, and service loans for the purchase and development of residential housing in the state's small communities." HOUSE BILL NO. 427 "An Act relating to compensation for members of the Local Boundary Commission." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 467 - No previous action to record. HB 427 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER David Harding, Staff to Representative Eileen MacLean State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 467 Wilber Joe, Executive Director Copper River Regional Housing Authority Copper Center, AK 99573 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 467 Bruce Kovarik, Executive Director Bering Straits Regional Housing Authority Box 995 Nome, AK 99762 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 467 Jackie Johnson, President Alaska Association of Housing Authorities 5446 Jenkins Drive Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 467 Dan Bockhorst, Staff to Local Boundary Commission Department of Community & Regional Affairs 333 W. 4th Ave., Suite 220 Anchorage, AK 99501-2341 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 427 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-34, SIDE A Number 001 The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called to order by Chairman Randy Phillips at 9:05 a.m. He introduced HB 467 7 (AHFC HOUSING LOANS) as the first order of business. DAVID HARDING, staff to Representative Eileen MacLean, explained the legislation makes changes to the Rural Loan Program of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. The bill has three goals that will contribute to greater investment in rural housing. The first goal is to allow all the regional housing authorities to sell and service AHFC loans. Most of these regional authorities are already handling AHFC loans, but six of them are prohibited simply because they are located in communities where there is an AHFC office. The regional authorities already work with the smaller communities, primarily on HUD projects; they know the rural areas; and they have the lending expertise. AHFC would like to see these regional authorities have the same lending powers as their counterparts in other parts of the state. The second goal of the bill is to encourage more private investment in multi-unit housing by doubling the size of complexes that are eligible for loans under AHFC and by allowing owners to live in one of these units to allow closer monitoring and better maintenance of the complex. The third goal is to increase the limit of AHFC's participation in water and sewer hookups to eligible housing projects. This funding is dependent on federal support, and any increase in AHFC's participation will not reduce the federal contribution. Mr. Harding said the changes made in HB 467 will lead to more housing construction in remote areas, greater availability in rental units and better servicing of AHFC loans. Number 030 WILBER JOE, Executive Director of the Copper River Basin Regional Housing Authority and testifying from Glennallen, stated support for HB 467. He said the law needs to be amended, particularly for the outlining areas in Nome, Bethel, Dillingham and Kotzebue where water and sewer seems to be a problem. It will make more services allowable for areas in Alaska with higher sewer and water costs by increasing AHFC's ability to match HUD housing projects contributions from 20 percent to 30 percent, which will help rural Alaska meet the higher costs of water and sewer. Further, housing authorities usually have a better understanding of local conditions and problems in remote areas. Number 070 SENATOR ADAMS asked if the Copper River Housing Authority has a problem with titles to land that hampers obtaining loans. WILBER JOE answered that the land that is put up for the housing in their area is sponsored by the regional corporation, so the land is put up by the people as an investment in the housing project. Number 090 BRUCE KOVARIK, Executive Director of the Bering Straits Regional Housing Authority and testifying from Nome, voiced their support for HB 467. He said the attractiveness of the bill is that it allows them, as a tool, to participate in the rural loan program throughout the region. Although the Bering Straits Regional Housing Authority is not currently doing that, it is an option for the future in terms of assisting families in achieving the goal of home ownership. Also, the matching funds with the supplemental housing program will help them to accommodate the additional costs of sewer and water as new housing projects are being built. Number 140 JACKIE JOHNSON, President of the Alaska Association of Housing Authorities, and Executive Director of Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority, stated support for HB 467. Ms. Johnson said one of the things that concerned the association at the time of the merger of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and the Rural Loan Program was the equitable balance between the loans that AHFC was servicing with the primary critical need of the rural communities where they felt the greatest need of housing was. They believe this is a good step in the direction that AHFC has taken in trying to find better service to rural communities in addressing their housing needs. She noted that currently, HUD is still the primary funder of housing, and she stressed the need for local residents to be able to access these types of programs. Ms. Johnson also spoke to the importance of the increase in the percentage of supplemental funds for the much needed water and sewer in the rural areas. Number 220 There being no further testimony on HB 467, SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR ADAMS moved that HB 467 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 225 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS brought HB 427 (COMPENSATION; LOCAL BOUNDARY RY COMMISSION) before the committee as the final order of business. DAN BOCKHORST, staff to the Local Boundary Commission, voiced support for HB 427. He pointed out the broad scope of duties performed by the LBC makes it distinctive from the many other boards and commissions in the state that are not compensated. Number 248 SENATOR TAYLOR moved that HB 427 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR PHILLIPS stated his objection. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Taylor, Adams and Zharoff voted "Yea" and Senator Phillips voted "Nay." The Chairman stated the motion carried. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS noted that SB 375 (GENERAL GRANT LAND ENTITLEMENTS) was waived out of the Community & Regional Affairs Committee the previous day, and it was scheduled, along with other pieces of legislation relating to lands, for a hearing on the following Saturday in the Senate Resources Committee. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 a.m.