Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/20/1996 02:00 PM Senate CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 287 UNINCORP. COMMUNITY MATCHING GRANTS SENATOR TORGERSON brought SB 287 before the committee and directed attention to a draft committee substitute dated 3/20/96. DEB DAVIDSON, committee aide to the Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee, explaining the changes in the committee substitute, said the current program provided that unincorporated communities in the unorganized borough who had participated in revenue sharing the preceding fiscal year would be eligible to participate, whereas the committee substitute opens it to any unincorporated community in the state that was a place in which 25 or more individuals resided as a social unit. A qualified entity would be a nonprofit corporation or a Native village council that would be required to meet standards that are currently in regulation under the revenue sharing program. Under the current program, when there was an appropriation made to the fund, it was divided equally among all of the eligible communities regardless if they had requested a project or not. Under the committee substitute, instead of an appropriation that is divided equally among all of the communities, the appropriation is allocated on the basis of the projects they request. The list of requested projects is submitted to the governor and the governor places that list in the budget request. The qualified entity must have the written approval and designation of the borough assembly. The current program has a five-year lapse provision for projects that do not have substantial, ongoing work being done, and the committee substitute changes the lapse period to three years. Under the local share requirement, communities within boroughs have their local share calculated on the same basis as the boroughs in which they reside, which for most of the boroughs is a 30 percent calculation. The local share outside of the borough will remain at 5 percent. Number 334 SENATOR HOFFMAN voiced his concern with changing the lapse time from three years to five years, because in a lot of cases, many of the small communities are in rural areas of the state where construction costs are higher and it's very hard to fund any sizable project for $75,000. It will be minimizing the scope of any project by reducing that lapse time. SENATOR TORGERSON commented that one of the things he is trying to change in this bill is that the money is driving the project instead of the project looking for money. He said that is the main difference in the approach he is trying to take. MS. DAVIDSON pointed out that the way the lapse funds work, it would be possible for a community to come in in phases for a project request. If a community got an allocation over a three- year period, it would have to begin the project within the three years, but it could continue the project and the lapse date would be three years from each year that the allocation was received. Number 385 WALT WREDE, Borough Manager, Lake & Peninsula Borough, stated the borough's strong support for SB 287. He said the borough has communities that have suffered greatly under the current program. The borough has a total of 17 communities and 11 of them are unincorporated communities. For the last two years in a row, the borough has received a total of only $44,000 for those 11 communities, which works out to about $4,000 a community. He added that penalizing unincorporated communities that are within organized boroughs, as is happening under the current program, is a disincentive to form new boroughs, and he believes it is in the state's interest to encourage borough formation at this time. Mr. Wrede said the borough supports changes that have been made to the legislation with the exception of the change in the lapse time from five years to three years. Number 440 SENATOR KELLY moved that on page 4, line 3 the lapse date be changed from three years to four years. Hearing no objection the Chairman stated the motion carried. SENATOR KELLY moved the adoption of CSSB 287(CRA) as amended. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR KELLY moved CSSB 287(CRA) out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.