Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/22/1995 01:37 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.