Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/22/1995 01:37 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SCRA - 3/22/95                                                                
              SB 107 LAND GRANT FOR DENALI BOROUGH                            
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought  SB 107  before the committee as the next           
 order of business.                                                            
 Number 125                                                                    
 SENATOR MIKE MILLER, prime sponsor of SB 107, said he introduced              
 the legislation at the request of the Denali Borough Assembly.                
 The purpose of SB 107 is to increase the land grant to the borough.           
 Under the Municipal Land Entitlement Act, the borough would be                
 getting approximately 51,000.  However, the borough is going                  
 through a process of identifying their needs and they would like to           
 have 71,000 acres of state land in order to build an economic base            
 in their borough.                                                             
 Senator Miller said his position over the years has been that the             
 closer government is to the people the better it is.  There is a              
 lot of land in state inventory and nothing will happen to a lot of            
 that land, but if it is the hands of the local government, chances            
 are much greater that it will be put into production and provide an           
 economic base for the community.                                              
 Number 208                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY voiced his concern that in the past there have been             
 boroughs that weren't able to get all of their land entitlements so           
 they were given cash settlements instead.                                     
 Number 215                                                                    
 JOHN GONZALES, Mayor of the Denali Borough testified from Healy in            
 support of SB 107.  He said the borough hired consultants and has             
 been working the last two years to determine what the borough would           
 need in order to support itself.  The lands they are asking for are           
 VUU (vacant, unappropriated, unreserved) lands inside the borough,            
 and the 71,000 acres they have identified are needed in order to              
 meet their goals.                                                             
 Number 245                                                                    
 DARREL MUELLER, Chairman of the Land Planning Committee in Healy,             
 stated most of the land within their boundary is in federal control           
 or restricted by state classifications, making them unselectable              
 under the Municipal Entitlement Act.  The Denali Borough not only             
 needs land now for development, but they need it for future growth            
 as well.  They expect it will provide a tax base for providing                
 services for borough residents, as well as visitors to the Denali             
 area.  He said they are involved in a community planning process              
 and they are in the process of establishing their property                    
 management system.                                                            
 Number 290                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if the Denali Borough has selected its                
 entitlement of 51,000 acres, as well as how much state land is                
 within the boundaries of their borough.  DARREL MUELLER answered              
 that they are in the preliminary process right now and they've come           
 up with approximately 25,000 acres that come under the VUU                    
 requirement for state land.  There are approximately 510,000 acres            
 of state land within their boundaries.                                        
 Number 305                                                                    
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS asked what the status was on the northeast part           
 of the Mat-SU area annexing with the Denali Borough.  DARREL                  
 MUELLER answered that the only requests that they have received               
 have been from a Native corporation to annex part of their                    
 corporate land into the southern area of the borough.                         
 Number 315                                                                    
 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked if there was a breakdown on the lands they              
 are contemplating selecting under the 51,000 limit and the lands              
 they anticipate selecting under the 71,000 limit.  DARREL MUELLER             
 acknowledged that a breakdown could be prepared and forwarded to              
 the committee.                                                                
 Number 325                                                                    
 RON SWANSON, Director, Division of Land, Department of Natural                
 Resources, said he wasn't present to take a position on the bill,             
 but to provide the committee with information so it could decide              
 the direction it wants to take.                                               
 Last year the same type of process was done with the Lake &                   
 Peninsula Borough and they ended up with an entitlement of 125,000            
 acres, which is quite a bit more than their 10 percent figure that            
 they would have been otherwise entitled to.  The division worked              
 with the Lake & Peninsula Borough to look at particular maps of               
 where their selections would be, the type of land they would get,             
 and the purpose they would put them to.                                       
 Mr. Swanson said in the case of the Denali Borough, they have not             
 yet been certified for their original entitlement.  Within two                
 years and a half years from incorporation, the Department of                  
 Natural Resources must certify what their entitlement would be and            
 that is due in December of this year.  Within one year of the date            
 of certification, the municipalities must make their selections.              
 Mr. Swanson related that within the Denali Borough there is a                 
 little over 2 million acres of state land.  About 500,000 of that             
 is considered VUU land and the borough's entitlement would be 10              
 percent of that.                                                              
 Mr. Swanson said the department wants the borough to become self              
 sufficient, but they need to have a better sense for where these              
 selections would be, for what purposes, and any pitfalls that they            
 might see that might be out there.                                            
 Number 375                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked Mr. Swanson when he thought everyone could            
 get together and try to figure this out.  RON SWANSON answered that           
 the sooner the borough can get the department maps to look at, the            
 sooner he could give an answer on that.  He pointed out that they             
 haven't completed their process for the 51,000 acres and, yet, they           
 are asking for an additional entitlement.  MAYOR GONZALES said one            
 of the reasons they have come with the 71,000 acre figure is                  
 because they would like to do this process all at once instead of             
 having to spend more money to go through a process again.                     
 Number 400                                                                    
 SENATOR ZHAROFF requested that information be provided to the                 
 committee on how the formula works for these land selections.                 
 There being no other witnesses wishing to testify on SB 107,                  
 SENATOR TORGERSON stated the bill would be held over.                         

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