Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/14/2001 01:30 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                   
           SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                                                      
                          March 14, 2001                                                                                        
                             1:30 p.m.                                                                                          
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Torgerson, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Senator Randy Phillips                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
Senator Pete Kelly                                                                                                              
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 75                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to municipal service areas and providing for voter                                                             
approval of the formation, alteration, or abolishment of certain                                                                
service areas."                                                                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 78                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to municipal regulation of radio antennas."                                                                    
     MOVED CSSB 78 (CRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 104                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to state aid for volunteer services; and providing                                                             
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
     MOVED SB 104 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 109                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the unincorporated community capital project                                                                
matching grant program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
     MOVED SB 109 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
SB 75 - See Community and Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/14/01.                                                               
SB 78 - See Community and Regional Affairs minutes dated 3/7/01.                                                                
SB 104 - No previous action recorded.                                                                                           
SB 109 - No previous action recorded.                                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Dick Tremaine                                                                                                                   
Anchorage Municipal Assembly                                                                                                    
604 W. 6th                                                                                                                      
Anchorage, AK 99513                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 75.                                                                                       
Anne Fairclough                                                                                                                 
Anchorage Municipal Assembly                                                                                                    
604 W. 6th                                                                                                                      
Anchorage, AK 99513                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 75.                                                                                       
Ocie Adams                                                                                                                      
HC 30 Box 200                                                                                                                   
Wasilla, AK 99654                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 75.                                                                                          
Jim Narcross                                                                                                                    
Willow, AK 99688                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 75.                                                                                           
Larry DeVilbiss                                                                                                                 
Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assemblyman                                                                                           
Palmer, AK 99645                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 75.                                                                                           
Kelly Lankford                                                                                                                  
HC 89 Box 66                                                                                                                    
Willow, AK 99688                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 75.                                                                                           
Larry Halvarson                                                                                                                 
346 W. Beluga Ave.                                                                                                              
Soldotna, AK 99669                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 78.                                                                                           
ROBERT WILSON                                                                                                                   
American Radio Relay League Representative                                                                                      
Anchorage, AK 99513                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 78.                                                                                           
Jim Movius                                                                                                                      
P.O. Box 83992                                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, AK 99708                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 78.                                                                                           
Carolyn Thomas                                                                                                                  
Staff for Senator Taylor                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol, Room 30                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Represented bill sponsor.                                                                                
Mary Jackson                                                                                                                    
Staff for Senator Torgerson                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol, Room 427                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Explained provisions on SB 104 & 109.                                                                     
Walt Wrede                                                                                                                      
Lake & Peninsula Borough                                                                                                        
P.O. Box 495                                                                                                                    
King Salmon, AK 99613                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 109.                                                                                          
Bill Rolfzen                                                                                                                    
Division of Community & Business Development                                                                                    
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
P.O. Box 110809                                                                                                                 
Juneau, AK 998-0800                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 109.                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-9, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 001                                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  JOHN TORGERSON  called  the  Senate Community  &  Regional                                                          
Affairs  Committee  meeting  to  order  at 1:30  p.m.  Present  were                                                            
Senators Austerman, Phillips and Chairman Torgerson.                                                                            
The first order of business was SB 75.                                                                                          
           SB  75-SERVICE AREAS:VOTER APPROVAL/TAX ZONES                                                                    
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said  that although SB 75 is on the agenda, HB 13                                                            
deals with  the same subject  and has already  been passed  from the                                                            
House  to  the Senate  so  that  will  be  the bill  that  is  used.                                                            
Testimony on SB 75 will be heard for the record.                                                                                
DICK TREMAINE,  Anchorage Municipal Assemblyman, testified  that the                                                            
Assembly  passed  a  resolution  supporting  HB  13.  They  strongly                                                            
believe that the  people of Anchorage would like the  protection for                                                            
limited service areas.                                                                                                          
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said he thought the only difference  between the                                                            
two bills is  that the Senate bill  deals with recreational  service                                                            
areas and the  House bill does not.  He asked for an opinion  on the                                                            
MR. TREMAINE  said that would make  the Senate bill a subsection  of                                                            
the House bill and they supported HB 13.                                                                                        
SENATOR PHILLIPS asked whether there was anything in writing.                                                                   
MR. TREMAINE said that he would send a copy of the resolution.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said a copy would  be in the bill packet  for HB                                                            
ANNA FAIRCLOUGH, assembly  member from Anchorage, represents Eklutna                                                            
to Elmendorf Air  Force Base. She is speaking as an  assembly member                                                            
covering service areas  rather than as the legislative chair for the                                                            
Anchorage  Assembly in  support of  SB 75. Area  wide protection  of                                                            
service area concepts is  supported whether it's park and recreation                                                            
or road  service areas.  Local people  should be  protected so  that                                                            
they are the ones who abolish or change the boundaries.                                                                         
OCIE ADAMS, representing  Road Service Area 17, testified in support                                                            
of HB 13 and SB 75. The  only reservation he has is that, "we do not                                                            
include a provision for  the road service areas, where an annexation                                                            
of six percent  or less, without the  vote of the people."  (Balance                                                            
indisc.) The  16 Road Service Area  Boards in the Matanuska  Susitna                                                            
Borough support both SB 75 and HB 13.                                                                                           
Number 120                                                                                                                      
JIM NARCROSS,  from RSC 20, Willow,  supports both SB 75  and HB 13.                                                            
He  is concerned  about  the six  percent  clause applying  to  road                                                            
service and  the tax differential  clause. It is important  that the                                                            
voter has  a say in  how their  tax dollars are  spent within  their                                                            
LARRY DeVILBISS, an assemblyman  from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough,                                                            
continues  to support both  bills SB  75 and HB  13 even though  the                                                            
assembly  was asked  to oppose  the bill.  Instead,  they reached  a                                                            
compromise  with the administration  and asked for an amendment  "to                                                            
get  the six  percent flexibility  ability  to adjust  service  area                                                            
boundaries." They  feel that should apply to all service  areas, not                                                            
just fire service areas.                                                                                                        
Attorneys on and working  for the assembly didn't understand the tax                                                            
differentials  within service areas, but as long as  it doesn't mean                                                            
that a wealthy  part of the service  area may be taxed to  shift the                                                            
money to a less affluent area it's acceptable.                                                                                  
They  thought it  was important  that the  six percent  rule  wasn't                                                            
abused.  Perhaps  limiting  the  option  to  once a  year  would  be                                                            
workable. At  any rate, "They shouldn't  be able to nibble  away and                                                            
destroy a service area piece meal."                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  assured  Mr.  DeVilbiss   that  Mat-Su  Borough                                                            
attorney, Michael  Gatti, had contacted his office.  They had yet to                                                            
speak with one another.                                                                                                         
KELLY  LANKFORD represents  district  seven in  the Mat-Su  Borough.                                                            
This district  encompasses  a large portion  of the area covered  by                                                            
the borough in  terms of square mileage and, because  of this, isn't                                                            
easy  to  represent.  She  stands  in  opposition   to  the  borough                                                            
resolution  and   strongly  supports  SB  75  and   HB  13.  Maximum                                                            
grassroots  participation  by voters  is  always preferable  at  any                                                            
level  of government  so she  is philosophically   aligned with  the                                                            
intent  of the  bill. There  are, however,  two areas  in which  she                                                            
would like to see change.                                                                                                       
She  would  like  to see  road  service  areas  included  with  fire                                                            
protection  service  areas  in  the  subsection  proposing  the  six                                                            
percent differential.                                                                                                           
She doesn't  agree with or support  section four where the  assembly                                                            
may make modifications  to differential  tax zones within  a service                                                            
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said SB 75 would be held in committee.                                                                       
Number 252                                                                                                                      
           SB  78-MUNICIPAL REGULATION OF RADIO ANTENNAS                                                                    
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said that the bill was heard last week and it                                                                
was pointed out that it didn't include a grandfather clause on                                                                  
antenna height.  He amended the bill  on page 2, lines 12  and 13 to                                                            
grandfather  antenna heights that  are erected before the  effective                                                            
date of the Act.                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS moved adoption of the amendment. There was no                                                                  
LARRY HALVARSON, Kenai Peninsula Amateur Radio Club member,                                                                     
testified in support of SB 78. He thanked the committee for                                                                     
adding the grandfather clause.                                                                                                  
ROBERT WILSON, American Radio Relay League Representative and                                                                   
retired physicist with many years of communication experience,                                                                  
testified in support of SB 78. He was particularly appreciative                                                                 
of the amendment that grandfathers antenna heights.                                                                             
JIM MOVIUS, Arctic Amateur Radio Club President, testified in                                                                   
support SB 78.                                                                                                                  
CAROLYN THOMAS,  staff for Senator  Taylor, said she was  present to                                                            
introduce Mr.  Dan Squires if there  were any questions.  There were                                                            
SENATOR PHILLIPS moved CSSB 78 (CRA) from committee with                                                                        
individual recommendations. There were no objections.                                                                           
                 SB 104-AID TO VOLUNTEER SERVICES                                                                           
MARY  JACKSON,  staff for  Senator  Torgerson,  introduced  SB  104.                                                            
Senator Torgerson is the bill sponsor.                                                                                          
SB 104 deals  with what the Local  Boundary Commission (LBC)  refers                                                            
to as disincentives  for organization. Current statutes  provide for                                                            
volunteer fire  departments in unorganized areas to  receive funding                                                            
but not those  in organized areas. This bill  would  revise statutes                                                            
so  that  volunteer   fire  departments  in  organized   areas  with                                                            
populations  under 2,500  would receive  funding. Emergency  medical                                                            
service   entities  having  ambulance services  and  with less  than                                                            
2,500 in population  in both organized  and unorganized areas  would                                                            
also receive funds.                                                                                                             
The  fiscal  note  and  a draft  copy  of  the  impacts  to  various                                                            
communities  are included  in committee packets.  The basis  for the                                                            
information comes  from registered lists provided  by the state fire                                                            
marshal and the emergency medical services.                                                                                     
Number 375                                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON said,  "It's $5.00 for  volunteer and $5.00  for                                                            
EMS, right?"                                                                                                                    
MS. JACKSON said it's $10.00 each.                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  whether there were  any questions.  There                                                            
were none. There was no teleconference testimony.                                                                               
SENATOR  PHILLIPS  said  he  understood  this  to mean  that  in  an                                                            
organized area there are unorganized cities within the borough.                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said, "That's  109 but this is kind of  the same                                                            
thing. If you're  outside of the borough then you  receive money for                                                            
the EMS and fire department  but if you're inside the borough you do                                                            
not. This just equalizes that."                                                                                                 
The fiscal note went up  substantially since the bill was introduced                                                            
last  time but  it's a policy  call  by the legislature  whether  to                                                            
equalize treatment between organized and unorganized areas.                                                                     
SENATOR PHILLIPS  moved SB 104 and  fiscal note from committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations. There were no objections.                                                                           
            SB 109-UNINCORP. COMMUNITY MATCHING GRANTS                                                                      
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said this is another bill he introduced  several                                                            
years ago.  He noted  that the fiscal  note on  this bill has  grown                                                            
MARY JACKSON,  staff for Senator Torgerson,  explained that  current                                                            
statute  provides  $25,000  for communities  in  the unincorporated                                                             
areas  under the  Unincorporated  Community Capital  Matching  Grant                                                            
Program. SB 109  extends the opportunity to receive  funds  to areas                                                            
in the organized borough as well.                                                                                               
A  list of  affected   communities  and  a fiscal  note  are in  the                                                            
committee packets.                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON explained  to  Senator Phillips  that this  bill                                                            
addresses  his  question  that  was  posed  when SB  104  was  under                                                            
discussion.  According to   statute, unincorporated  areas  within a                                                            
borough  are not entitled  to the  money but if  you're outside  the                                                            
borough, you are entitled.  "I've always thought that was unfair and                                                            
I still  do." This  corrects  the inequity  and, at  the same  time,                                                            
generates a large fiscal note.                                                                                                  
WALT WREDE,  manager for the Lake  and Peninsula Borough,  said they                                                            
strongly  support SB 109,  which addresses  inequities contained  in                                                            
the  State  Capital  Matching  Grant  Program.   This  inequity  was                                                            
probably an oversight  when the legislature adopted  the program but                                                            
it does  discriminate  against  unorganized communities  located  in                                                            
organized  boroughs  and therefore  is  a disincentive  for  forming                                                            
Eleven  of the  seventeen  communities  in  the Lake  and  Peninsula                                                            
Borough  are  unincorporated  so aren't  eligible  for  the  $25,000                                                            
matching funds.  Therefore, the borough splits a $25,000  to $40,000                                                            
grant  that they receive  eleven  ways, which  gives each  community                                                            
much less  than $25,000.  There are about  70 communities  statewide                                                            
that are in the same situation.                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  wasn't sure it was an oversight  but agreed that                                                            
it  did  create an  inequity.  The  money  helps  small communities                                                             
SENATOR  AUSTERMAN asked  who makes  the final  determination  as to                                                            
which communities qualify for the funds.                                                                                        
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  said he  believes the  assemblies  must pass  a                                                            
resolution to officially  recognize an unincorporated community that                                                            
has less  than 2,500, and  then a non-profit  community association                                                             
must be  formed. If there's  a competing  interest then the  borough                                                            
assembly  must nominate  the  one  they want  to be  the  non-profit                                                            
entity. He asked Bill Rolfzen to confirm the above.                                                                             
BILL  ROLFZEN   from  the   Department  of   Community  &   Economic                                                            
Development said that currently  there is a definition in regulation                                                            
for  association   unit  for  unincorporated   communities   in  the                                                            
unorganized borough  and the department would need  to make a change                                                            
in regulation  to fit organized boroughs or unified  municipalities.                                                            
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  whether  his procedural  explanation  was                                                            
MR. ROLFZEN didn't disagree.                                                                                                    
SENATOR AUSTERMAN asked, "Is this your list?"                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said  it was the committees' but it came from the                                                            
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: "It was jointly developed."                                                                                 
MR. ROLFZEN  said it was from a previous  bill that was introduced.                                                             
SENATOR PHILLIPS  suggested not funding  the $2 million but  "taking                                                            
it out of the  existing pot which  would probably reduce  every body                                                            
else's per share."                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said that was "looked at" at one time. There are                                                             
some advantages to an unorganized area being in a borough. "This is                                                             
a Finance Committee issue more than our issue."                                                                                 
SENATOR PHILLIPS moved SB 109 from committee. There were no                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON adjourned the meeting at 2:10 p.m.                                                                           

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