Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124

04/07/2005 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 231(CRA) Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved CSHB 160(CRA) Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
HB 231-HUMAN SERVICES GRANT ELIGIBILITY                                                                                       
8:12:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  231, "An  Act relating  to the  definition of                                                               
'municipality' for purposes of  human services community matching                                                               
8:12:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY  WILSON, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
explained  that HB  231  expands the  definition  of a  qualified                                                               
municipality to  include a  consortium of  municipalities located                                                               
in the  same geographic  region with  a combined  population that                                                               
exceeds  50,000.   The aforementioned  would allow  organizations                                                               
such as  the Southeast Conference  to form a consortium  in order                                                               
to  receive funding  for  social  services in  the  region.   She                                                               
informed  the   committee  that  the  Human   Services  Community                                                               
Matching Grants program is receiving  $1.2 million from the state                                                               
in general funds (GF) this coming  year.  In order to qualify for                                                               
the  aforementioned  grants,  communities  must:   provide  a  30                                                               
percent  matching   fund;  comply  with  the   grant  application                                                               
procedures;   and   establish   a   citizens'   advisory   group.                                                               
Currently,   the  only   qualified  communities   are  Fairbanks,                                                               
Anchorage,  and Mat-Su.    She pointed  out  that the  [committee                                                               
packet]  should include  a listing  of the  subrecipients of  the                                                               
grants in the aforementioned  communities, which include valuable                                                               
community  services.   Although Representative  Wilson said  that                                                               
she supported  such community services, it's  difficult for those                                                               
farther  away to  utilize such  services.   Therefore, this  is a                                                               
fairness  issue.    Under HB  231,  municipalities  and  boroughs                                                               
located in the same geographic  region with a combined population                                                               
in excess of 50,000 could form  a consortium to qualify for these                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  explained  that the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
note  assumes that  two additional  geographic regions,  the Gulf                                                               
region  and  the  Southeast  region,  would be  able  to  form  a                                                               
consortium.   The  Gulf region  encompasses  the Kenai  Peninsula                                                               
Borough,  the  Kodiak  Island  Borough,  and  the  Valdez/Cordova                                                               
Census Area.   The communities  included in the  Southeast region                                                               
are illustrated  in a map  [included in the committee  packet] of                                                               
the Southeast  Conference.  If  HB 231 is enacted,  the Southeast                                                               
Conference would assist with the formation of a consortium.                                                                     
8:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked if the  [consortium] would have to be                                                               
the area  mentioned because some  of the communities  included in                                                               
the  Gulf  region  aren't  in  the  Alaska  Regional  Development                                                               
Organization (ARDOR)  of the area.   She pointed out  that Kodiak                                                               
is  part  of  the  Southwest   Municipal  Conference  ARDOR  that                                                               
connects to the Aleutian chain.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON specified that as  long as [the region] met                                                               
the criteria  and the guidelines established  in the legislation,                                                               
any area could form a consortium.   She said that the requirement                                                               
that the combined population of  the [consortium] be in excess of                                                               
50,000 is in existing statute.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  inquired  as to  why  the  aforementioned                                                               
population requirement is specified in statute.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  explained that she wanted  to maintain the                                                               
same qualifications  while allowing those in  the same geographic                                                               
area the  ability to  form a consortium  and set  priorities with                                                               
regard to what organizations receive the benefits.                                                                              
8:18:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SALMON  echoed Representative  LeDoux's  concerns                                                               
with regard  to the population requirement,  and highlighted that                                                               
the entire  northern half [of  the state], other  than Fairbanks,                                                               
isn't eligible.   He characterized the  population requirement as                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  agreed, but specified that  the population                                                               
requirement  is in  existing statute.    Changing the  population                                                               
requirement  in  statute   would  be  up  to   committee.    This                                                               
legislation  merely  attempts to  make  [the  ability to  form  a                                                               
consortium] available to others in the state.                                                                                   
8:19:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX inquired  as  to the  rationale why  these                                                               
population specifications are in statute.                                                                                       
8:20:17 AM                                                                                                                    
JANET CLARKE, Assistant Commissioner,  Division of Management and                                                               
Finance  Services,  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services                                                               
(DHSS),  informed   the  committee   that  the   [Human  Services                                                               
Community Matching  Grants] program originated in  the 1980s when                                                               
the state  had a lot of  money.  These were  social service block                                                               
grants, which were designated  grants without statutory authority                                                               
that,  at  the   time,  were  only  provided   to  Anchorage  and                                                               
Fairbanks.     In  the  late   1980s  and  1990s   during  budget                                                               
reductions,  there  was  concern   that  the  program  wasn't  in                                                               
statute,  and  thus  former Representative  Boyer  proposed  this                                                               
statute in  order to form  the statutory support.   The rationale                                                               
at the time, she recalled,  was that Fairbanks and Anchorage were                                                               
disproportionately  impacted  for  social services  because  they                                                               
were  large   hub  communities  to  which   people  migrated  for                                                               
services.   In 1992 the statute  was devised.  Due  to population                                                               
increases,  the Matanuska-Susitna  Borough  now qualifies,  which                                                               
changed the dynamic of the  underpinning appropriation to the two                                                               
large  communities.   Last  year  the  legislature increased  the                                                               
appropriation  to   accommodate  the   Matanuska-Susitna  Borough                                                               
entering the program.                                                                                                           
8:22:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked whether  changing the  definition of                                                               
"municipality" would  kill the  entire [Human  Services Community                                                               
Matching Grants] program.                                                                                                       
MS.  CLARKE answered  that such  would  be for  the committee  to                                                               
decide.   However,  she highlighted  that things  have definitely                                                               
changed  in DHSS's  budget in  regard to  the funds  available to                                                               
other social service  agencies in other parts of the  state.  For                                                               
instance,  there used  to be  more designated  BRUs or  grants to                                                               
named recipients  for social service  agencies and now  all those                                                               
are competitive grants.                                                                                                         
8:23:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SALMON   reiterated   his  concern   with   this                                                               
legislation being based on population.                                                                                          
MS.  CLARKE  clarified  that  the   state  doesn't  choose  which                                                               
grantees  receive  the  funds,  rather  local  municipalities  go                                                               
through a process of allocating  these funds.  Therefore, this is                                                               
a pass-through from the state  to the local municipalities, which                                                               
is why  population was used as  a basis for prorating  the amount                                                               
appropriated.  The  idea, she specified, is that this  is a block                                                               
grant  concept  and the  state  isn't  involved in  choosing  the                                                               
8:25:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  surmised then  that there is  less funding                                                               
in DHSS to  give out to smaller areas that  would've been covered                                                               
in other ways.                                                                                                                  
MS.  CLARKE agreed,  and specified  that this  is the  only state                                                               
pass-through program that DHSS has.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA turned attention  to the out migration from                                                               
small  communities to  urban centers,  which places  a weight  on                                                               
social  services  in  urban areas  and  simultaneously  there  is                                                               
nothing to stop the out  migration.  Therefore, she surmised that                                                               
the  social services  in a  local community  could stabilize  the                                                               
community somewhat.                                                                                                             
MS. CLARKE said  that's not her area [of  expertise], although it                                                               
sounds logical.                                                                                                                 
8:27:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CLARKE drew  attention to  the fiscal  note.   She explained                                                               
that  although it's  a zero  fiscal note,  a couple  of different                                                               
scenarios were  provided.  She  emphasized that if there  isn't a                                                               
larger appropriation to this program  and the legislation passes,                                                               
the amount received will be  prorated.  If the legislature wanted                                                               
to pass  HB 231  and hold everyone  harmless under  the scenarios                                                               
outlined  in  the  fiscal  note,   it  will  cost  an  additional                                                               
8:28:29 AM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER WHEELER, Deputy Director,  Department of Health and Human                                                               
Services,   Municipality   of   Anchorage,   related   that   the                                                               
municipality's Department  of Health and Human  Services supports                                                               
HB 231 if funding for the  program is increased.  She highlighted                                                               
that  through  grants  to local  nonprofit  agencies,  the  Human                                                               
Services  Community  Matching  Grants supports  basic  safety-net                                                               
services critical to  the state's most vulnerable  citizens.  She                                                               
echoed  earlier comments  with regard  to Anchorage  being a  hub                                                               
attracting many  people from  all over  the state,  and therefore                                                               
Anchorage's  community matching  grant program  provides services                                                               
to those traveling to Anchorage who  end up so disadvantaged.  If                                                               
the   definition  of   municipality   changes   such  that   more                                                               
municipalities   are   able   to   receive   the   funding,   the                                                               
appropriation  needs to  increase as  well.   Passing HB  231 and                                                               
increasing  the appropriation  for the  Human Services  Community                                                               
Matching  Grants  will  allow more  communities  to  provide  the                                                               
essential  safety-net services  to prevent  or alleviate  serious                                                               
mental or physical hardship in the state.                                                                                       
8:30:30 AM                                                                                                                    
DIANE DISANTO,  Community Development  Specialist, Office  of the                                                               
Mayor,  Municipality  of  Anchorage,   stressed  that  the  Human                                                               
Services  Community Matching  Grants  are matching  grants.   She                                                               
acknowledged that there  may be a reduction in  this program, and                                                               
if  that's  the case  she  assumed  that the  municipality  would                                                               
oppose the  legislation.   Therefore, Ms.  DiSanto said  that the                                                               
municipality  would   support  the   legislation  if   the  three                                                               
communities [currently  receiving the grants] were  held harmless                                                               
with an additional  appropriation of $394,000.   She related that                                                               
[the  Municipality  of  Anchorage]  would  like  to  support  the                                                               
funding being  restored to the  $2.2 million level of  four years                                                               
8:32:14 AM                                                                                                                    
ELLEN KRSNAK,  Catholic Social  Services, informed  the committee                                                               
that Catholic  Social Services  is a  subgrantee for  this grant.                                                               
She explained that  this grant supports three  of Catholic Social                                                               
Services'  programs  in  Anchorage,  which  served  approximately                                                               
18,000 people  last fiscal year.   Many  of those folks  are from                                                               
around the state  and they seek services in  Anchorage.  Catholic                                                               
Social  Services  is supportive  of  this  legislation, but  it's                                                               
critical that  the three communities  currently receiving  it are                                                               
held harmless.                                                                                                                  
8:33:29 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDY  HARRINGTON,  Alaska  Legal Services,  Arctic  Alliance  for                                                               
People, explained that the Arctic  Alliance for People Program is                                                               
a coalition of nonprofits in the  Fairbanks area.  He stated that                                                               
the Arctic Alliance  hasn't taken a stand on HB  231.  He related                                                               
that last year when the  Mat-Su Borough's population increased to                                                               
the  point at  which it  could be  included, the  Arctic Alliance                                                               
worked to help  with its inclusion.  Mr. Harrington  said that he                                                               
is personally in favor of  extending the program to include other                                                               
parts of  the state.  He  then stressed the importance  of anyone                                                               
supporting  this  legislation  to  also make  the  commitment  to                                                               
include an additional  appropriation in order to  ensure that the                                                               
programs  in   the  existing  communities   don't  suffer.     In                                                               
Fairbanks, these  grants have declined  by about 40  percent over                                                               
the past few  years.  Mr. Harrington said that  it's important to                                                               
review the agencies  that have been able to  obtain funding under                                                               
these  grants as  well as  those  agencies submitting  worthwhile                                                               
proposals  that  haven't  been  able to  obtain  funding  due  to                                                               
decreased funding.   The  program works well,  he opined,  due to                                                               
local control, local match, and  volunteerism.  However, in order                                                               
for the program to  work well, the state will have  to put up its                                                               
share  to ensure  that no  harm is  done in  those municipalities                                                               
currently  operating  the  program   and  to  ensure  that  those                                                               
communities new to  the program are able to get  as much use from                                                               
the program as the three existing communities have.                                                                             
8:36:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT asked  whether  the  existing grantees  were                                                               
impacted when the Mat-Su Borough qualified.                                                                                     
MR. HARRINGTON answered  that in the end there was  no net effect                                                               
on  existing  grantees  when  the   Mat-Su  Borough  entered  the                                                               
program.  He  informed the committee that  the aforementioned was                                                               
due to the  hard work of the Anchorage  nonprofits, the Fairbanks                                                               
501(c)(3)s, and the agencies in the Mat-Su Borough.                                                                             
8:37:53 AM                                                                                                                    
ROSEMARY  HAGEVIG,  Board  of  Directors,  Southeast  Conference,                                                               
informed the  committee that she  is also the  executive director                                                               
of  Catholic  Community  Services (CCS),  which  provides  social                                                               
services  throughout Southeast  Alaska.   Ms. Hagevig  recalled a                                                               
couple  of   years  ago  the  incoming   president  of  Southeast                                                               
Conference recognized  that the economic  development aspirations                                                               
of  Southeast  Conference  couldn't  be  realized  without  solid                                                               
infrastructure  for  health,   social  services,  and  education.                                                               
Therefore, Southeast  Conference established a health  and social                                                               
services  committee,  which  has discussed  this  matching  grant                                                               
MS.  HAGEVIG  related that  due  to  the geography  of  Southeast                                                               
Alaska, [Southeast  Conference] realized  that it would  never be                                                               
able to attain the statutory  requirements related to population.                                                               
After  reviewing the  region's  infrastructure,  it was  realized                                                               
that  the   Southeast  Conference  and  United   Way  are  strong                                                               
organizations  in  Southeast Alaska.    The  Southeast region  is                                                               
approaching  a population  of  70,000,  although it's  dispersed.                                                               
Ms. Hagevig  said that  Southeast Conference  is the  entity that                                                               
she  envisioned would  provide the  necessary advisory  committee                                                               
group for the  region.  She highlighted that  in Southeast Alaska                                                               
there are already a number  of communities contributing to social                                                               
services activities.   Therefore,  there should be  no difficulty                                                               
in obtaining the required 30  percent match.  Ms. Hagevig related                                                               
that social service providers in  Southeast Alaska are looking at                                                               
opportunities to do what they can  to improve the quality of life                                                               
for the  people being served.   This  [grant program] would  be a                                                               
piece  of  the  puzzle  to   help  continue  to  provide  current                                                               
8:42:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT   asked  if   the  70,000  figure   for  the                                                               
population in Southeast is from the U.S. Census.                                                                                
MS.  HAGEVIG specified  that the  total  population of  Southeast                                                               
Alaska   is  between   65,000-70,000.      She  reiterated   that                                                               
Southeast's population is dispersed  among many small communities                                                               
and  many different  types of  local government  structures.   In                                                               
response, Ms. Hagevig said she  couldn't say for sure whether the                                                               
population number she used is from the U.S. Census.                                                                             
8:43:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA surmised  then  that Southeast  Conference                                                               
would provide services to any community in Southeast.                                                                           
MS. HAGEVIG replied  yes, and added that in excess  of 50 percent                                                               
of the  United Way agencies  are already providing  services that                                                               
are  regional  in nature.    Under  the [proposed]  statute,  she                                                               
envisioned  a  competitive  process.     She  stressed  that  the                                                               
Southeast region  didn't intend to fiscally  impact those already                                                               
receiving funds.   Therefore,  [Southeast Conference]  would hope                                                               
that the  zero fiscal note would  be changed to reflect  the true                                                               
cost as  was the case  when the  Mat-Su Borough was  brought into                                                               
the program.                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON closed public testimony.                                                                                         
8:44:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  suggested  amending the  population  base                                                               
from  "50,000" to  "25,000",  and inquired  as  to the  sponsor's                                                               
thoughts on such a change.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   WILSON   recalled   fighting   the   legislation                                                               
regarding  the expansion  of sewer  and water  grants because  it                                                               
would result in more participants  and not everyone would be able                                                               
to continue to receive the funds  received in the past.  However,                                                               
the  House as  a whole  decided to  encompass as  many people  as                                                               
possible, and  therefore she felt  the chance for [passage  of HB
231] would  be greater.  She  emphasized that [under HB  231] the                                                               
rules  hadn't  been changed,  only  the  pool of  [participants].                                                               
However, Representative LeDoux's suggestion  would seem to change                                                               
the rules and thus  she didn't imagine the body as  a whole we be                                                               
as open to passing the legislation.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  clarified  that she  is  only  suggesting                                                               
changing the consortium of cities.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  specified   that  the  50,000  population                                                               
requirement is already in statute.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  pointed  out  that  the  50,000  population                                                               
requirement is [a change] HB  231 would make.  Currently, statute                                                               
specifies  that  [a  municipality   ranges  in  population]  from                                                               
10,000, 20,000, to 65,000 dependent  upon the organization of the                                                               
city.  The  language [HB 231] adds refers to  a consortium of the                                                               
entities specified in current statute.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE SALMON  indicated his preference for  a population                                                               
[requirement] of 100  people or less.  He  stated, "But municipal                                                               
should be the one ... deciding  that factor ... that doesn't have                                                               
8:48:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON reviewed the  definition of municipality as                                                               
specified in [AS 29.60.250(2)(A)-(C)].                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX reiterated her  suggestion for an amendment                                                               
to  change the  [new subparagraph  (D)] population  specification                                                               
from  "50,000" to  "25,000".   She inquired  as to  the sponsor's                                                               
opinion of the aforementioned.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  indicated that  she would be  agreeable to                                                               
Representative  LeDoux's suggestion  if that's  the only  way the                                                               
legislation could be passed.                                                                                                    
8:49:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    KOTT   appreciated    Representative   LeDoux's                                                               
suggestion that  would address the  Kodiak area, but  pointed out                                                               
that  it   may  also   result  in   including  the   Kenai  area.                                                               
Representative Kott  stated that  he supports the  legislation in                                                               
existing form and he places  trust in the House Finance Committee                                                               
with regard  to expanding  the amount of  money [available].   He                                                               
inquired as  to how the  sponsor envisioned the  various entities                                                               
of the consortium coming to an agreement on a grant application.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON acknowledged that  [an agreement on a grant                                                               
application] would take much cohesiveness.   She pointed out that                                                               
the Southeast  Conference works well together  now, and therefore                                                               
she didn't believe it would be  difficult for its members to come                                                               
together to make  priorities.  In fact,  the Southeast Conference                                                               
already  has groups  that provide  services throughout  Southeast                                                               
Alaska, which she characterized as one big family.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT surmised then that  the sponsor is relying on                                                               
the Southeast Conference ARDOR to make this all happen.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said  that  the  communities in  Southeast                                                               
Alaska  work hard  to  be self-sufficient  as  much as  possible.                                                               
However, [the  decisions with regard to  human services community                                                               
matching grants] will be as  a whole within Southeast Conference.                                                               
Representative  Wilson then  expressed concern  with the  overall                                                               
funding issue, and emphasized that  [she didn't introduce HB 231]                                                               
to make the situation worse on  anyone else.  Therefore, she said                                                               
she was concerned  that a further expansion  could be problematic                                                               
[with regard to the funds available].                                                                                           
8:52:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT commented  that it's up to  the House Finance                                                               
Committee to make the appropriation  for the budget.  He remarked                                                               
that if  the pool [of funds]  doesn't expand, then he  would find                                                               
himself in a difficult position.   However, he recalled  comments                                                               
on the House floor in which  a member related that "we're looking                                                               
out for all Alaskans" and thus he would support HB 231.                                                                         
8:53:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  said that Kodiak could  probably live with                                                               
the  population   [specification]  of   50,000.     However,  she                                                               
predicted a large problem unless  the term "geographic region" is                                                           
defined.  She opined that  under this legislation it seems almost                                                               
every community  in the state could  be included as long  as they                                                               
were   willing  to   come  together   in  a   geographical  area.                                                               
Therefore, she  suspected there  would be  a major  discussion or                                                               
even litigation  with regard to  the definition of  a "geographic                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON commented that  it's not easy for different                                                               
areas  to  pull together  and  work  well together.    Therefore,                                                               
before the aforementioned could occur  it would require much work                                                               
ahead of time.   Representative Wilson opined that  it would work                                                               
in  Southeast because  the area  has  already been  doing so  for                                                               
CO-CHAIR  OLSON commented  that the  Kenai Peninsula  Borough and                                                               
the Kodiak area have worked together on a number of issues.                                                                     
8:56:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  commented  that  governments  [and  their                                                               
boundaries]  are arbitrary.   She  inquired as  to how  a certain                                                               
community size is tied to the matching part of the program.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  explained that the requirement  to come up                                                               
with  the  30 percent  related  to  the  reason why  an  umbrella                                                               
organization is necessary.  [The  umbrella organization] could be                                                               
different for each  area, which is why "it" is  left open and has                                                               
the money  passing through the umbrella  organization to disperse                                                               
the funds.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA restated  her  question regarding  whether                                                               
there is any  relationship between the raising  of the [matching]                                                               
money and the population.                                                                                                       
8:58:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CLARKE  surmised  that   Representative  Cissna  was  asking                                                               
whether  obtaining matching  funds would  be easier  if a  larger                                                               
umbrella group sponsored the program responsible for the match.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked if the  aforementioned is part of the                                                               
thinking with the size requirements.                                                                                            
MS. CLARKE  recalled that the  match requirements were  passed in                                                               
1992 so that the local  communities had ownership of the program.                                                               
At the  time of passage,  she didn't believe there  were thoughts                                                               
about  the  size  because  the  constructs  were  established  to                                                               
support the Anchorage and Fairbanks communities.                                                                                
8:59:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  turned attention to the  fiscal analysis and                                                               
surmised  that it  suggests  that the  Southeast  and Gulf  Coast                                                               
regions would be eligible for this grant program.                                                                               
MS.  CLARKE  explained  that  the fiscal  note  was  intended  to                                                               
provide a couple  of scenarios because of the  lack of definition                                                               
of "region"  in the legislation  and thus  could be open  to some                                                               
interpretation.    She  explained  that  the  analysis  left  the                                                               
situation as it is for  the Municipality of Anchorage, the Mat-Su                                                               
Borough,  and  the  Fairbanks  North   Star  Borough  and  merely                                                               
reviewed other  areas that  would qualify  based on  the regional                                                               
scenario.  She  informed the committee that [in  the scenarios of                                                               
the  fiscal note],  the  census districts  and  areas were  used,                                                               
ARDOR regions  weren't presumed.   Certainly, if an  ARDOR region                                                               
was defined,  it would  change things.   [The  legislation] seems                                                               
fairly open in  regard to which regions could come  together in a                                                               
consortium.    Therefore,  the  fiscal  note  [scenarios]  merely                                                               
provide an  idea of the  impact of  the legislation.   In further                                                               
response  to Representative  Kott,  Ms. Clarke  confirmed that  a                                                               
region could be tied to an [ARDOR].                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX inquired  as to  why the  Southwest region                                                               
wasn't  included  as   a  region  that  could   enter  into  this                                                               
MS. CLARKE highlighted the language  "same geographic region" and                                                           
the  [other] regional  constructs  specified  were reviewed,  and                                                               
thus the Southwest region wasn't  included because its population                                                               
doesn't exceed 50,000.                                                                                                          
9:02:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON said  that he tended to  agree with Representative                                                               
Kott that if HB 231 is  moved out "clean," it would ultimately be                                                               
"fixed" in the House Finance Committee.                                                                                         
9:02:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  said that he  tends to  support HB 231.   He                                                               
suggested that  the members with  an interest in this  could work                                                               
with the House Finance Committee  regarding whether there will be                                                               
any   additional  funding.     He   then  noted   that  sometimes                                                               
communities can do well without relying on the state.                                                                           
9:03:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT moved to report  HB 231 out of committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
9:04:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX objected,  and  moved  that the  committee                                                               
adopt Amendment  1, which would  [on page  1, line 8]  change the                                                               
"50,000" population specification to "35,000".                                                                              
9:05:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  withdrew his  motion to  report HB  231 from                                                               
9:05:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON objected to Amendment 1.                                                                                         
9:05:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SALMON  inquired as  to  how  large the  pool  of                                                               
communities  would  be  under  the  population  specification  of                                                               
CO-CHAIR OLSON  said that  he didn't believe  anyone in  the room                                                               
could answer that question.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SALMON  suggested then  that the  committee should                                                               
hold HB 231 until an answer is  received.  He said that he didn't                                                               
have  a   problem  with  the  35,000   population  specification,                                                               
although it doesn't include the areas in his district.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  remarked  on  the  challenged  nature  of                                                               
smaller towns  in Alaska.   This legislation  provides incentives                                                               
for communities to work together and  review the common good of a                                                               
larger  group of  people.    Representative Cissna  characterized                                                               
this legislation  as having  positive possibilities,  and perhaps                                                               
the 35,000 population  specification will provide more  hope to a                                                               
more diverse group.                                                                                                             
9:07:22 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Cissna, Salmon, and                                                               
LeDoux  voted   in  favor  of   the  adoption  of   Amendment  1.                                                               
Representatives  Kott and  Olson  voted against  it.   Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted by a vote of 3-2.                                                                                       
9:07:52 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:08 a.m. to 9:11 a.m.                                                                       
9:11:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  related  his  understanding  that  the  new                                                               
language in HB 231 would  mean that the [interested consortium of                                                               
cities,  unified  municipalities,  and boroughs]  would  have  to                                                               
apply  by October  1st.   Therefore,  whether  the House  Finance                                                               
Committee decides  to include an  appropriation is moot  for this                                                               
year.  Without an effective  date, this legislation would pass in                                                               
May,  end up  on the  governor's desk,  and it  would be  90 days                                                               
before it  goes into  effect.  Therefore,  he suggested  that the                                                               
Southeast Conference  would have its work  cut out for it  due to                                                               
the timeframe.   Representative Kott  suggested then that  if the                                                               
hope  is  to  have  this available,  then  perhaps  an  immediate                                                               
effective date would be in order.                                                                                               
MS. CLARKE agreed with Representative  Kott's understanding.  She                                                               
explained that  current statute requires municipalities  to apply                                                               
October 1st  of the year  preceding the  start of the  new fiscal                                                               
year.   She opined that the  intent was to allow  the legislature                                                               
to know  which communities had  applied before going  through the                                                               
appropriation process.                                                                                                          
9:14:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT moved  that the  committee adopt  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 2, which would provide  for an immediate effective date                                                               
so  that all  communities would  be  eligible this  year.   There                                                               
being no objection, Conceptual Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                         
9:14:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  moved to report  HB 231, as amended,  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  231(CRA)  was                                                               
reported from  the House Community and  Regional Affairs Standing                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects