Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124

04/05/2011 08:00 AM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
08:08:35 AM Start
08:08:47 AM HB183
08:39:33 AM Overview: Update on the Energy Efficiency Policy & Recommendations by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center
09:24:52 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 183 APPLICATION OF VILLAGE SAFE WATER ACT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 183(CRA) Out of Committee
+ Overview: Update on the Energy Efficiency Policy TELECONFERENCED
& Recommendations Report by the Cold Climate
Housing Research Center
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          HB 183-APPLICATION OF VILLAGE SAFE WATER ACT                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:08:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ announced that the first order of business would be                                                                 
HOUSE BILL NO. 183, "An Act relating to the Village Safe Water                                                                  
Act."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:09:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHELIA PETERSON, Staff, Representative Dick, Alaska State                                                                       
Legislature, paraphrased from the following sponsor statement:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     House  Bill  183  amends the  definition  of  "village"                                                                    
     under  the   Village  Safe  Water  Act.   Currently  an                                                                    
     unincorporated  community, a  second class  city, or  a                                                                    
     first class  city with not  more than 600  residents is                                                                    
     eligible  to receive  a grant  under  the Village  Safe                                                                    
     Water Program. House Bill 183  amends the definition to                                                                    
     include a home rule city  with less than 600 residents.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     A home  rule city has  the same government powers  as a                                                                    
     first class city.  The difference rests in  how the two                                                                    
     cities   are  organized.   A   first   class  city   is                                                                    
     established  under AS  29.35.50-260 while  a home  rule                                                                    
     city adopts  a charter as  the framework for  the city.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Four years ago the City  of Nenana as awarded a Village                                                                    
     Safe Water  grant to upgrade  an aging water  and sewer                                                                    
     system.   The  city   worked   diligently  with   state                                                                    
     officials for  several years to  plan and  finalize the                                                                    
     project. Unfortunately,  right before  construction was                                                                    
     to begin, the  Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                    
     notified  Nenana  that the  city  was  not eligible  to                                                                    
     receive a Village Safe Water  grant; the city was not a                                                                    
     first   class    city,   but   a   home    rule   city.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  change in  HB 183  allows  the City  of Nenana  to                                                                    
     proceed with the needed upgrade  to its water and sewer                                                                    
     system using  Village Safe Water  funds. Passage  of HB
     183  this year  ensures that  a construction  season is                                                                    
     not lost.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:10:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER inquired as to who establishes the terms                                                                 
for the grants.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.   PETERSON   deferred    to   Department   of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC) staff.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:11:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  questioned whether  it would  be possible                                                               
to  merely change  the definitions  of  the grant  such that  the                                                               
language specified that home rule  cities are eligible for grants                                                               
rather than changing the definition of a home rule city.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. PETERSON  clarified that  the definition  of "village"  is in                                                               
statute  and is  explicit  in  terms of  what  type of  organized                                                               
community  qualifies.   Therefore, to  add a  different type  [of                                                               
organized community] the statute would  have to be changed, which                                                               
is what HB 183 does.   Ms. Peterson added that there is companion                                                               
legislation  in  the  Senate  Finance   Committee.    The  Senate                                                               
Community  and  Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee  adopted  a                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) for that  companion legislation  and a                                                               
blank  CS  mirroring the  Senate  CS  has  been provided  to  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:12:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  asked if there has  been any discussion                                                               
regarding an effective date.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. PETERSON related  that she and the sponsor  have noticed that                                                               
HB 183 doesn't  have an effective date, and  therefore they might                                                               
ask the committee to consider an effective date.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:13:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER  said that he fully  supports expanding the                                                               
definition if it results in  more communities being eligible.  He                                                               
then inquired  as to  the consequences  of removing  the existing                                                               
statutory language referring to the two-mile radius.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. PETERSON  confirmed that Version  M does delete  the existing                                                               
statutory language referring to a two-mile radius.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:15:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER   asked  if  this  change   would  impact                                                               
communities other than Nenana.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:15:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  moved to  adopt the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   183,  Version  27-LS0601\M,  Bullard,                                                               
3/30/11,  as the  working document.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version M was before the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:15:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL GRIFFITH,  Program Manager,  Facility Programs,  Division of                                                               
Water, Department of Environmental  Conservation (DEC), said that                                                               
under Version M several communities  would be impacted.  The home                                                               
rule  municipality  change  would  allow Nenana  and  Yakutat  to                                                               
qualify  for   village  safe  water  funding.     Increasing  the                                                               
population allowed under  the statute for first  class cities and                                                               
home rule  municipalities from 600  residents to  1,000 residents                                                               
would  result   in  several  more  communities   being  included.                                                               
Several of the  communities that would now be  included have just                                                               
recently  surpassed a  population of  600, such  as Akiachuk  and                                                               
Kipnuk.  He  noted that several other communities have  been at a                                                               
population of more than 600  residents, but haven't been eligible                                                               
for some time.  Those  communities include King Cove, Hoonah, and                                                               
Sand  Point.   There  are  also  communities,  such as  Kake  and                                                               
Kasigluk,  with a  population  of  over 550  that  would soon  be                                                               
ineligible  if the  population doesn't  increase.   Mr.  Griffith                                                               
pointed out that Version M  also includes a change that specifies                                                               
which unincorporated communities would  be included.  That change                                                               
requires that the community has  an established local government,                                                               
either a  city or tribal  government.  Therefore,  some currently                                                               
eligible communities  without a  city or tribal  government would                                                               
become  ineligible.    However, these  communities  could  become                                                               
eligible again  by forming a second  class city.  In  response to                                                               
Representative  Saddler,  Mr.  Griffith guessed  that  there  are                                                               
probably  dozens of  unincorporated  cities or  cities without  a                                                               
tribal  government.    He  noted  that  although  most  of  those                                                               
communities  haven't  requested  village   safe  water  funds,  a                                                               
handful of communities have.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:18:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FOSTER expressed  interest  in which  communities                                                               
would  be impacted,  particularly  if any  are  in his  district.                                                               
Representative  Foster  then related  a  situation  in which  the                                                               
village  of Sheldon  Point  recently changed  its  name to  Nunam                                                               
Iqua, and asked if that would be a problem.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRIFFITH replied no.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:19:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  related her understanding that  Version M                                                               
makes  changes to  move  from an  unincorporated  community to  a                                                               
village listed in 43. U.S.C. 1610 or 1615.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRIFFITH  agreed  with  her  understanding  and  offered  to                                                               
provide a copy of that list.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:20:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER surmised that  the aforementioned is a bit                                                               
different than the sponsor's intent.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DICK,  in  response  to  Representative  Foster's                                                               
earlier question, estimated  that there may be  eight villages in                                                               
Representative  Foster's district  that might  benefit from  this                                                               
proposed change.   He  then directed attention  to a  document in                                                               
the committee  packet that  specifies the  villages that  will be                                                               
eligible [for village safe water funding under Version M].                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRIFFITH, referring to the  list, pointed out that the second                                                               
class  cities  would remain  eligible  because  the statute  will                                                               
continue to have no population limit for second class cities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:21:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHIE  WASSERMAN, Executive  Director, Alaska  Municipal League,                                                               
testified in  favor of HB 183  as it addresses an  issue that has                                                               
been  in play  for many  years.   Municipalities and  communities                                                               
with all the  attributes of "smaller ones" have been  left out of                                                               
[the ability to qualify for  village safe water funds] because of                                                               
their  populations   or  differing   status.    With   regard  to                                                               
Representative Foster's  earlier question,  the village  of Nunam                                                               
Iqua  would  be  fine  as  it's  still  a  municipality.    Those                                                               
communities that  have difficulties with elections  likely have a                                                               
tribal  government or  a municipal  government  and would  likely                                                               
[remain  eligible for  village safe  water  funds].   One of  the                                                               
issues with  programs that provide  services or pockets  of funds                                                               
to  unincorporated  communities  with   no  tribal  or  municipal                                                               
government,  is regarding  to whom  the check  is given  and held                                                               
responsible  in  terms  of ensuring  the  project  is  completed.                                                               
Therefore,  the language  defining  ["village"  as the  specified                                                               
organized  communities]  is  appropriate since  it  requires  the                                                               
residents in the  community to assign someone as the  head of the                                                               
community to  at least  receive the funds  and be  responsible to                                                               
the state in terms of the use of the funds.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:23:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ  requested that Ms.  Wasserman explain  the different                                                               
types of community organization.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN  explained that  a home  rule city  is guided  by a                                                               
charter,  although it  has ordinances.   First  class cities  are                                                               
responsible  for  their education,  have  a  planning and  zoning                                                               
commission, and  can levy  a property tax.   Second  class cities                                                               
are usually much  smaller and aren't required to  provide as much                                                               
paperwork or  responsibility in order  to operate the  city, save                                                               
one exception.   She agreed  with Ms.  Peterson that it  would be                                                               
difficult to change  the status through regulations.   In further                                                               
response to Chair  Munoz, Ms. Wasserman said a  second class city                                                               
has sales  tax authority. Although  a second class city  may have                                                               
property tax authority,  she didn't believe any levy it.   A home                                                               
rule city may levy a property tax.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:25:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER,  referring to the document  specifying new                                                               
communities  eligible under  Version M,  inquired as  to why  St.                                                               
Mary's, a first  class city with a population of  507, would be a                                                               
newly eligible community rather than  a community that is already                                                               
qualified.   He  further  inquired  as to  why  St Mary's  wasn't                                                               
already eligible.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WASSERMAN  responded  that she  would've  also  assumed  St.                                                               
Mary's would've  been eligible  all along  and wouldn't  know why                                                               
they aren't.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:26:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JASON  MAYRAND, Mayor,  City of  Nenana,  informed the  committee                                                               
that the City of Nenana is  a home rule municipality and has done                                                               
its utmost  to be self-sufficient,  reliable, and  independent of                                                               
the state.  He highlighted  the common understanding of the state                                                               
that communities  should keep  their government  as close  to the                                                               
people as  possible, which Nenana  has done by  incorporating and                                                               
having  its  own  charter.    Of  all  home  rule  municipalities                                                               
organized as  home rule,  Nenana is  the smallest  by far.   This                                                               
legislation   would   allow   replacement    of   35   year   old                                                               
infrastructure,  the water  and sewer  system.   He informed  the                                                               
committee  that the  City of  Nenana filed  its application,  the                                                               
grant  documents  were  accepted, and  the  grants  appropriated.                                                               
Shortly  thereafter,  Nenana's  ineligibility   was  found.    He                                                               
acknowledged that there  is the possibility of  going through the                                                               
Department  of  Environmental  Conservation (DEC)  project,  Safe                                                               
Water  and Clean  Water funds  for  which the  state provides  85                                                               
percent of the grant with a  15 percent match.  The city utilized                                                               
the aforementioned  back in  2000 for  a short  expansion project                                                               
which  resulted   in  a  debt   of  $520,000,  the   15  percent.                                                               
Therefore, the City of Nenana is  paying about $3,400 a month for                                                               
the next  20 years  to repay  that loan.   Although  that doesn't                                                               
seem like a lot, the  municipality operates on about $600,000 per                                                               
year.  With  the increases in energy costs and  health care costs                                                               
and payroll  for city  employees very  little is  left to  do any                                                               
capital  projects.   Mayor  Mayrand  stressed  that the  City  of                                                               
Nenana's water  plant could fail  any day.   Although maintenance                                                               
for the  water plant is  high, the city  has good operators.   In                                                               
fact,  the prime  operator for  the City  of Nenana's  sanitation                                                               
system was recently  awarded operator of the year  for the state.                                                               
He  opined that  the  aforementioned illustrates  that Nenana  is                                                               
responsible and takes care of  its systems.  In conclusion, Mayor                                                               
Mayrand requested that  HB 183 be passed this session  as time is                                                               
of the essence.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:30:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  inquired as  to the  project the  City of                                                               
Nenana borrowed money from the state.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR  MAYRAND specified  that it  was an  extension project  for                                                               
lines  that   provide  sufficient   capacity  for   the  required                                                               
sprinkler system in the Nenana Student Living Center.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:31:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked  if  the  changes  encompassed  in                                                               
Section  1   of  Version  M   would  impact  other   programs  or                                                               
opportunities.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:32:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT RUBY,  Director, Division of Community  & Regional Affairs,                                                               
Department  of   Commerce,  Community  &   Economic  Development,                                                               
answered  that he  didn't  believe  the changes  in  HB 183  will                                                               
impact other programs  because the definition is  specific to the                                                               
eligibility of the Village Safe Water Program.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:33:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MUNOZ, upon  determining no  one else  wished to  testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:33:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN  moved  that   the  committee  adopt  a                                                               
conceptual amendment  to include an immediate  effective date for                                                               
HB 183.  There being no objection, it was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:33:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  inquired  as  to  the  statute  for  the                                                               
Village Safe Water grants.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER answered AS 46.07.010.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:34:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:34 a.m. to 8:36 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:36:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  if the  adoption of  the immediate                                                               
effective date to  HB 183 will allow Nenana to  process its grant                                                               
application and begin the project this construction season.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DICK replied yes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:37:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN moved  to  report the  proposed CS  for                                                               
HB 183, Version  27-LS0601\M, Bullard,  3/30/11, as  amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying   fiscal  notes.      There   being  no   objection,                                                               
CSHB 183(CRA) was reported from  the House Community and Regional                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 183 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 4/5/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 183
CSHB 183 ( ).pdf HCRA 4/5/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 183
CSHB 183 ( ) Changes.pdf HCRA 4/5/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 183
Nenana Letter.pdf HCRA 4/5/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 183
Population 500-1000.pdf HCRA 4/5/2011 8:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/17/2011 10:00:00 AM
HB 183
ANCSA Reference.pdf HCRA 4/5/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 183