Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/12/1995 01:40 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                         
                         April 12, 1995                                        
                           1:40 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator John Torgerson, Chairman                                              
 Senator Randy Phillips, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 79                                                            
 "An Act relating to errors in surveys of land."                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 86(CRA)(title am)                                       
 "An Act relating to municipal flat taxes on personal property and             
 permitting municipalities to classify and exempt or partially                 
 exempt some or all types of personal property from ad valorem                 
 HOUSE BILL NO. 180                                                            
 "An Act relating to liquor licenses issued to a hotel, motel,                 
 resort, or similar establishment; and providing for an effective              
 SENATE BILL NO. 124                                                           
 "An Act relating to the human services community matching grant               
 program; and providing for an effective date."                                
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB  79 - No previous action to record.                                        
 HB  86 - No previous action to record.                                        
 HB 180 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 124 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated                       
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Senator Steve Rieger, Prime Sponsor of SB 79                                  
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Bob Kean, Representing the Alaska Society of                                  
   Professional Land Surveyors                                                 
 14510 Ahtena Circle                                                           
 Anchorage, AK 99516                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports CSSB 79(CRA)                                  
 Tom Knox, Municipal Surveyor                                                  
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 3500 Tudor Road                                                               
 Anchorage, AK 99519                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports CSSB 79(CRA)                                  
 George Newsham                                                                
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 632 W. 6th, Suite 730                                                         
 Anchorage, AK 99519                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports CSSB 79(CRA)                                  
 Mike Horne                                                                    
 7801 E. 36th                                                                  
 Anchorage, AK 99504                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of CSSB 79(CRA)                   
 Craig Savage                                                                  
 P.O. Box 520403                                                               
 Big Lake, AK 99652                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposes SB 79 in current form                          
 William Mendenhall                                                            
 1907 Yankovich Road                                                           
 Fairbanks, AK 99709                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports CSSB 79(CRA)                                  
 John Bennett, President                                                       
 Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors                                 
 3123 Penguin Lane                                                             
 Fairbanks, AK 99712                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   No position until review of CSSB 79(CRA)               
 George Strother, Engineering Division Manager                                 
 Matanuska-Susitna Borough                                                     
 350 E. Dahlia                                                                 
 Palmer, AK 99645                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Has concerns with CSSB 79(CRA)                         
 Representative Mark Hanley, Prime Sponsor of HB 86                            
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Mayor Don Long, President, Alaska Municipal League                            
 P.O. Box 629                                                                  
 Barrow, AK 99723                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of HB 86                          
 Steve Van Sant, State Assessor                                                
 Division of Municipal & Regional Assistance                                   
 Department of Community & Regional Affairs                                    
 333 W. 4th Ave., Suite 319                                                    
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Present to respond to questions on                     
                      HB 86                                                    
 Tom Pitman, Municipal Assessor                                                
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 632 W. 6th Ave., 99519                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports HB 86                                         
 Barbara Cotting, Staff to Representative Jeannette James                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 180                          
 Tim Tittle                                                                    
 4107 Wilson                                                                   
 Anchorage, AK 99503                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports HB 180                                        
 Pat Sharrock, Director                                                        
 Alcoholic Beverage Control Board                                              
 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 350                                                    
 Anchorage, AK 99501-3510                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of HB 180                         
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 95-12, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs           
 Committee meeting to order at 1:40 p.m.                                       
            SB 79 ADJUSTMENTS FOR DEFECTIVE SURVEY                            
 SENATOR TORGERSON introduced  SB 79  as the first order of business.          
 SENATOR STEVE RIEGER, prime sponsor of SB 79, said the legislation            
 was requested by the Municipality of Anchorage and was prompted by            
 situations in the state where old surveys are so far off that the             
 standard judicial remedies for clearing up title aren't practical.            
 SB 79 creates an alternative mechanism for surveys which are                  
 labeled "manifestly defective."                                               
 Senator Rieger explained the procedure in SB 79 allows a resurvey             
 and a replat to be submitted to a judge.  The judge reviews the               
 information, including the objections from people who may object to           
 the replat, and then can decree an equitable replat of the area.              
 Because this expands judicial power, there are a number of                    
 protections that are built into the legislation.  One protection is           
 that the area involved pays the cost; there has to be a special               
 assessment district formed to pay for the resurvey, replat, legal             
 costs, etc.  Also, the municipality has to adopt a resolution                 
 supporting the procedure.                                                     
 Senator Rieger said in working with the Society of Land Surveyors             
 and the municipal attorney on the legislation, there has been                 
 concern expressed because this is breaking new ground.  The                   
 provision has been put into temporary law and it will apply for               
 three years so that, in a way, it doesn't sunset if it turns out              
 that there are problems that come up as a result of it.                       
 Number 075                                                                    
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS asked what the difference was between last                
 year's legislation that failed to pass the legislature and SB 79.             
 SENATOR RIEGER responded that the bill was totally rewritten and              
 restructured, but he believes that the general procedure being                
 prescribed is the same.                                                       
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS inquired if other areas of the state are having           
 the same problems as the Municipality of Anchorage.  SENATOR RIEGER           
 replied that he is not aware of any other areas.                              
 Number 107                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY asked if the Municipality of Anchorage supports the             
 proposed committee substitute before the committee for its                    
 consideration, and SENATOR RIEGER acknowledged that they do.                  
 Number 118                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY moved that CSSB 79(CRA) be adopted.  Hearing no                 
 objection, the motion carried.                                                
 Number 125                                                                    
 BOB KEAN, representing the Alaska Society of Professional Land                
 Surveyors and testifying from Cordova, stated support for CSSB
 Mr. Kean noted he has surveyed in the Rabbit Creek area of                    
 Anchorage and he is very familiar with the problems there.  He does           
 not believe there is another way of handling a complex problem of             
 this nature through the existing laws.  He pointed out that there             
 are people who cannot sell their homes; they cannot make clear                
 title on them.  Even with the people who may have taken steps to              
 resolve some of their property problems, the title companies will             
 still have difficulty in guaranteeing clear title, granting loans,            
 or the like.                                                                  
 Number 215                                                                    
 TOM KNOX, Municipal Surveyor for the Municipality of Anchorage,               
 testifying from Anchorage, said in the nine years he has worked               
 with the municipality, he has not had one month go by where he                
 hasn't had at least one property owner from the two plat areas that           
 the bill has basically been drafted to remedy, call him up and                
 discuss the survey problems which they have encountered in trying             
 to either sell their property, or to improve their property, or to            
 replat their property lines to purchase other lots around them.               
 Mr. Knox noted that the municipality has received letters from                
 financial institutions asking them what type of remedy could be               
 applied in order to rectify the situation.                                    
 Mr. Knox stated his support for the committee substitute.                     
 Number 290                                                                    
 GEORGE NEWSHAM, Municipality of Anchorage, testifying from                    
 Anchorage, stated CSSB 79(CRA) is a greatly improved version of the           
 legislation that was before the legislature last year.  He spoke to           
 major improvements in the legislation such as the requirement that            
 prior to implementing any action a improvement district be formed,            
 and it gives a clearer understanding of what the process will be              
 after an improvement district is formed.                                      
 Number 330                                                                    
 MIKE HORNE, a registered land surveyor in Anchorage, voiced his               
 support for the committee substitute, as well as the comments of              
 the previous speakers.                                                        
 Number 340                                                                    
 CRAIG SAVAGE, a registered land surveyor testifying from Anchorage,           
 stated his strong opposition to the legislation in its present                
 form.  He noted there is not a single similar piece of legislation            
 anywhere else in the U.S.  He said the legislation is an attempt to           
 establish a process by which owners can find relief from their                
 impasse, and, so long as they are willing to pay to implement the             
 process that solution is workable, but funding the process through            
 a special assessment is unfair, unnecessarily cumbersome, and will            
 be even more expensive than it needs to be.  He added that it is a            
 well-intentioned bill in an attempt to assist people with economic            
 difficulties, but it is unfair because it exacts payment of a share           
 of the cost from owners who may not need help and/or may not want             
 Number 415                                                                    
 WILLIAM MENDENHALL, testifying from Fairbanks, stated his basic               
 support for the legislation.                                                  
 Number 425                                                                    
 JOHN BENNETT, President, Alaska Society of Professional Land                  
 Surveyors, testifying from Fairbanks, said in recognizing the                 
 serious nature of the survey problem, a committee was formed to               
 find out whether or not there were solutions outside of legislative           
 action that would be appropriate.  The committee issued their                 
 findings and came up with a substitute bill.  He said he has been             
 in contact with their board of directors and also the chapters on             
 this matter, and a head count taken yesterday resulted in a 6-6               
 split as far as support or opposition to the original proposed                
 legislation.  However, the new committee substitute has not been              
 reviewed by their committee or any of the their members, so he does           
 not believe that they can support it until they have had an                   
 opportunity to fully review it.                                               
 Number 450                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if the committee substitute adopted by the            
 committee was the same substitute recommended by the Society's                
 committee.  SENATOR RIEGER answered that it was except that because           
 of the sunset nature of the bill the drafters were unwilling to put           
 it into the Earthquake Relief Act with that sunset provision.  All            
 the parts that are elsewhere that apply were put into this                    
 temporary law, so, although the content is the same, the placement            
 is not.                                                                       
 Number 460                                                                    
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS asked what was the main concern of the six                
 people who were opposed to the original legislation and MR. BENNETT           
 responded that basically his head count was of whether they either            
 supported or opposed the general concept of a legislative solution.           
 Number 477                                                                    
 GEORGE STROTHER, Engineering Division Manager, Matanuska-Susitna              
 Borough, testifying from the Mat-Su LIO, stated the committee                 
 substitute is much better than the original bill, but he cannot               
 fully support it at this time.  He outlined several areas of                  
 concern and suggested the bill needs some fine tuning, which would            
 make it more workable, but there are still some other concerns.  He           
 reiterated that the committee substitute is better, but he could              
 not support it at this time.                                                  
 Number 558                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON requested that Mr. Strother fax his testimony               
 outlining his areas of concern with the committee substitute, and             
 stated that because C&RA was the only committee of referral, the              
 bill would be held over until the following week so that he could             
 look at his objections to the actual wording in the language of the           
 bill and share that with the sponsor of the bill.  He also invited            
 others with areas of concern to forward them to the committee.                
 SENATOR TORGERSON introduced  CSHB 86(CRA) (title am)  as the next            
 order of business.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HANLEY, prime sponsor of HB 86, explained that            
 the legislation allows municipalities to exempt or partially exempt           
 personal property from ad valorem taxes.  It also allows                      
 municipalities to levy a flat tax on personal property that has               
 been exempted.                                                                
 Representative Hanley noted that the 18th Alaska State Legislature            
 passed SSHB 263, which allowed the exemption of certain types of              
 personal property from taxation, but did not allow for a flat rate            
 tax to be levied as was intended.  The legislation before the                 
 committee is clean-up legislation, and in addition to allowing the            
 flat tax, wording has been changed to allow exemption of any type             
 of personal property, as defined in AS 29.71.800 (16), rather than            
 listing each item.                                                            
 TAPE 95-12, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY noted that this is an option for the                    
 municipalities and will give them more flexibility in their tax               
 structure.  It does not affect the amount of money that comes to              
 the state, nor the assessments for any other purposes.                        
 Number 015                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON commented that the only part of the bill that he            
 had even a little problem with was the procedure for the appeal and           
 the request that the municipalities would include that procedure in           
 their flat tax ordinance.  His concern was that an appeal procedure           
 could be substantially different from municipality to municipality,           
 based on what was adopted by that particular group.  However, he              
 has discussed this with the state assessor and he convinced him               
 that it is probably something that couldn't be put into statute and           
 is best left at the local level.                                              
 Number 025                                                                    
 MAYOR DON LONG of Barrow, President of the Alaska Municipal League,           
 testifying from Barrow, stated the Alaska Municipal League's                  
 support for HB 86.                                                            
 Mayor Long said the bill offers municipalities an alternative that            
 may significantly reduce the administrative costs of property                 
 valuation.  It also allows communities the flexibility to design a            
 tax on personal property that meets the needs of that community.              
 Mayor Long pointed out that over the past several years the state             
 has asked its municipalities to take over and pay for more and more           
 state programs and services, and he said it is essential that the             
 state also provide municipalities with more flexible methods of               
 designing taxes so the cost of new mandates can be fairly                     
 distributed to all residents.                                                 
 Number 045                                                                    
 STEVE VAN SANT, State Assessor, Department of Community & Regional            
 Affairs, noted he was present in Anchorage to answer questions on             
 the legislation.                                                              
 Number 050                                                                    
 TOM PITMAN, Municipal Assessor, Municipality of Anchorage, stated             
 his support for the bill and the flexibility it provides,                     
 especially from his perspective of administrating the law.                    
 Number 065                                                                    
 There being no further testimony on the legislation, SENATOR                  
 TORGERSON asked for the will of the committee.                                
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS moved that CSHB 86(CRA)(title am) be passed out           
 of committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing no                     
 objection, it was so ordered.                                                 
            HB 180 LIQUOR LICENSES FOR RESORT/LODGES                          
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought  HB 180  before the committee.                      
 BARBARA COTTING, staff to Representative Jeannette James, said  HB
 180 will allow businesses in more remote areas of organized                   
 boroughs to get a liquor license.  Presently, a small lodge or                
 tourist facility in a remote or inaccessible area or an organized             
 borough has to have 40 rental rooms to obtain a liquor license.               
 She said the sponsor is trying to make this change so that there              
 will not be such stringent requirements in those small remote                 
 areas, which will allow some development of tourist facilities.               
 Number 090                                                                    
 TIM TITTLE, testifying from Anchorage, related that his brother               
 owns a lodge on the Denali Highway.  He said right now, in order to           
 establish the infrastructure to build a small lodge with 10 to 15             
 rooms, which would accommodate fishermen, snow machiners, tourists,           
 etc., the minimum cost would be around $500,000.  To require these            
 individuals who would like to go into this type of a business to              
 build another 25 or 30 rooms would require an additional investment           
 of approximately $300,000, and business people that would like to             
 get into this type of an enterprise will not do it because it                 
 doesn't capitalize out.                                                       
 Mr. Tittle stated his support for HB 180, saying that it will be              
 great for economic development in these remote areas.                         
 Number 120                                                                    
 PAT SHARROCK, Director, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, testified           
 from Anchorage that the ABC Board supports HB 180.                            
 SENATOR HOFFMAN said there are several lodges out in the Bristol              
 Bay region, and he asked how many lodges will be impacted as a                
 result of HB 180.  He also noted there has been discussion on                 
 annexing the whole Bristol Bay region into a borough.  PAT SHARROCK           
 did not know the number of lodges that would be impacted.  He said            
 the legislation applies only to those businesses that reside within           
 the boundaries of a municipality or borough.  If a business is                
 located outside in the unincorporated area, there are different               
 rules of the road under AS 04.11.400 relating to population                   
 limitations and the number of licenses within a five-mile radius.             
 Number 140                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON directed attention to a his proposed amendment to           
 HB 180 and explained that subparagraphs (A), (B) & (C) are                    
 basically the same language currently in HB 180.  The new                     
 subparagraph (4) defines "highway" to read more directly to what              
 the intent of the sponsor was, which was state maintained roads for           
 public transportation.                                                        
 SENATOR KELLY moved the adoption of the following amendment:                  
 Amendment No. 1                                                             
 Page 2, lines 8 thru 13:  Delete language in paragraph (3) and                
 replace with the following language:                                          
 "(3)  A hotel, motel, resort, or similar business that is inside a           
 unified municipality or organized borough and                                
   (A)  has at least 10 rooms available for the public to                     
   (B)  cannot be reached by highway from the nearest first                   
 or second class city or established village; or                              
   (C)  could be reached by highway during no more than 10                    
 months in a calendar year preceding the year in which the issuance            
 or transfer is requested."                                                   
 Add new paragraph (4) to read:                                                
  "(4)  "Highway" for purposes of this section is a road                      
 maintained by the state for public transportation."                          
 Hearing no objection to the adoption of the amendment, the motion             
 SENATOR KELLY moved that SCS HB 180(CRA) be passed out of committee           
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so             
 Number 180                                                                    
        SB 124 HUMAN SERVICES COMMUNITY MATCHING GRANTS                       
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought  SB 124 , which had a hearing on April 7,           
 back before the committee and asked for the pleasure of the                   
 SENATOR KELLY moved that SB 124 be passed out of committee with               
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 There being no further business to come before the committee, the             
 meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.                                            

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