Legislature(1993 - 1994)
01/25/1994 09:03 AM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS introduced SB 203 (MUNICIPAL POLICE SERVICES) as the next order of business. SCOTT BRANDT-ERICKSON, Anchorage, said there were some problems with administering the police force in Anchorage with this bill. If you were able to do the services as cheaply as it is done now, the additional service would cost a half million dollars. It is not clear whether they could provide the investigative and control services necessary to cover a wide range of crimes. He said there are 1.24 officers per 1,000 people now in the (indistinct) service area. Number 133 DUANE UDLAND, Deputy Chief of the Anchorage Police Department, said he has testified before on this issue and will answer questions. SENATOR KELLY asked if they have a position on the proposed Rieger language and the proposed new language based on the final report on the Task Force on Government roles from the last legislature. MR. UDLAND said they support the Rieger proposal. SENATOR KELLY asked what the position would be of the Anchorage Municipal Police Department Union on an effort to contract with State Troopers to patrol the Hillside. MR. UDLAND replied that he was told the Union would file legal action. SENATOR RIEGER asked if the mayor's position was that the Municipal Charter should be overridden. MR. UDLAND said his Community Council thinks that Senator Kelly's proposal is very consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force. Number 229 BARBARA WEINIG, State Community Council, said she supported Senator Rieger's bill. SENATOR KELLY asked for a copy of the survey that states what the Hillside residents are willing to pay for. The Committee reviewed the survey. SENATOR KELLY said while it seemed like most of the people were willing to pay something to get the issue off their back, they weren't willing to pay enough to cover what the State Troopers and Anchorage Police say they need. SENATOR RIEGER said he drew the exact opposite conclusion, that the willingness to pay is adequate. SENATOR KELLY said it looked like the upper levels of the Hillside were only prepared for burglary patrol. Everyone else in Anchorage is willing to pay for the infrastructure that protects other areas of town. He didn't think it was fair for the rest of the borough to be paying for the infrastructure - the drug units, laboratories, etc. and have the Hillside get off with just burglary patrol. MS. WEINIG said she agreed with Senator Kelly. She said that many of them have businesses and pay taxes. They also pay taxes when they shop in town. SENATOR KELLY pointed out that everyone pays those taxes. Everyone who has a business and doesn't live on the Hillside is paying twice for what the Hillside pays only once. Number 298 PAUL LANCE, Hillside resident, supported the State Troopers for protection of his neighborhood. They are better equipped and positioned than the Anchorage Police Department. He said there have not been open meetings on this issue in the Hillside area which should be done. He thought facts and figures were also lacking in the hearing process - like how many crimes are committed in that area. MR. LANCE said they pay probably more than their share, because they represent a large assessed valuation in the Municipality of Anchorage. The valuation is $325 per $100,000 for a home and people want to know what they are paying $1,000 for. He doesn't think this issue has been well presented to the public. Number 348 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked how many households on the Hillside are affected by this. SENATOR PHILLIPS said the survey was mailed to 10,546 households in Southeast Anchorage. SENATOR KELLY said the assessed evaluation of the areas outside the police service areas as of January 1, 1994 is about $1.3 billion. The rest of the Municipality is about $9.5 billion. He said the areawide mill rate that everyone else pays except the Hillside is 3.34 mills which is $334 per $100,000 assessed valuation. What is being asked here is that Hillside pays the same valuation that everyone else pays. When you decide to buy a more expensive home, the assessment is one of the things you take into consideration before purchase, he reasoned. If the millage rate goes down, it should go down for everyone in the Municipality, not just the Hillside. He said there are a lot of areas on the east side of Anchorage that don't often have major problems metropolitan police have to address, like drug problems, etc., but his people have to pay the same 3.3 mills, too. The Hillside is not the only area that doesn't have all of the problems that need to be addressed by government and people acting in concert to protect themselves from various kinds of criminal activity. Number 400 RICHARD WEINIG, member of the Hillside Task Force, felt that what the people want still isn't clear. He disagreed with the premise that everyone on the Hillside is not paying for the infrastructure, because he rents an office and into the cost of this office is factored the property taxes the owner of the building pays. That's where everyone pays for infrastructure. He noted that the rest of Anchorage voted to become part of the Anchorage service area. This was a voluntary choice on their part. He supported Senator Rieger's bill as being the proper vehicle for meeting people needs as opposed to municipal greed. The survey indicates that 83% of the residents rejected the Anchorage Police Department. Number 477 CONNIE LIVSEY, Bear Valley Community Council representative to the Police Protection Task Force, supported Senator Rieger's bill, because it is consistent with the views expressed in the Community Council meetings on this issue. She said the Troopers have greater professionalism and greater familiarity with their community and its rural residential flavor. She said her area desires to have control over their level of service. They do want to be able to call a trooper when they need one and want a reasonable response time. MS. LIVSEY explained that while the Council had not actually seen Senator Rieger's bill, they had discussed the issues many times and it is consistent with their wishes. Number 504 PAT ABNEY, an Anchorage Assembly Member from South Anchorage, supported Senator Rieger's bill, because it addresses concerns we have throughout the state and the municipality. She thought the issue is local control in reference to the City Charter which grants that right. She said Hillside residents have consistently expressed a preference to have, and pay for, state police. The rest of the bill allows other municipalities to tax themselves for troopers if that's what they want. Number 528 BILL LAMOREAUX, Southeast Anchorage Homeowner and Landowners Association (HALO), supported the findings in the Police Protection Survey. Senator Rieger's bill is consistent with these findings. SENATOR KELLY stated there were 4 approaches on the table and it's clear that Senator Rieger's proposal is not acceptable to the municipality, the Anchorage Police Department Union, or to the Department of Public Safety. Had he known it existed, he would have begun with the recommendations in the Task Force on Government Roles Report which are essentially to allow the local assembly to work this out regardless of local charter. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated the Committee would get position papers and fiscal notes on all the approaches. He said they would get the statistic on criminal activities on Hillside. They would then take up SB 203 again on Thursday.