Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/19/2000 09:21 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 133(CRA) am S "An Act relating to municipal service areas and providing for voter approval of the formation, alteration, or abolishment of certain service areas." REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE stated that Alaska's Constitution provides for maximum local self-government and for the creation, alteration, or abolishment of service areas subject to the provisions of law. He pointed out that at present time, Alaska has approximately 200 service areas. In those areas, the local residents are responsible to assess themselves to pay for particular services, such as snow plowing and road maintenance. HB 133 would amend AS.29.35.450 to support local control by clearly identifying who should vote on the abolishment and alteration of a service area under three scenarios: · Abolishment of a service area and subject to approval by the majority of the voters residing in that service area. · Abolishment and replacement of a service area. That action must be approved by a majority of voters inside an existing service area and by a majority of the voters residing in the proposed service area but outside the existing service area. · Alteration of a service area or combining it with another service area. That action must be approved, separately, by a majority of the voters who vote on the question and who reside in each of the service areas or in a proposed service area affected by the proposal. Representative Bunde advised that the proposed legislation would determine a long time debate about who is entitled to vote during the creation, alteration or abolishment of a service area. Senator Phillips asked the changes which were made in the Senate Community and Regional Affairs (CRA) version. Representative Bunde replied that the changes were to fire service concerns. PATTI SWENSON, Staff, Representative Bunde, pointed out that version "G" was the one submitted by the CRA Committee. Co-Chair Torgerson referenced Page 2, Subsection (d) and asked who it would affect. Ms. Swenson responded that both the Kenai and Mat-Su Boroughs would be affected. st Co-Chair Torgerson asked why 1 Class city populations were nd included, when the reference was given to 2 Class cities. Ms. Swenson explained that the population numbers were indicated on the web and are the numbers that the legislation was based upon in working with Tamara Cook, Legislative Legal Counsel. st Co-Chair Torgerson asked if it was the intent to include 1 Class cities in the population trigger. Ms. Swenson advised that only the Kenai Borough had been included, not all of the greater Kenai area. She mentioned that there had been discussion with Tam Cook regarding special and mobile legislation. She believed that the nd populations in the 2 Class Boroughs would fit. Co-Chair Torgerson noted his concern with service areas "gobbling up" any land that they want, as long as they do not increase their area by more than 10%. He stressed such an action could occur without a vote. Representative Bunde replied that could apply only to a fire service area. Following a brief at-ease, Co-Chair Torgerson admitted his confusion with the language on Page 2, Lines 19-22. He advised that it had been explained to his satisfaction. OCIE ADAMS, (Testified via Teleconference), Matsu, spoke in support of the legislation. He voiced his appreciation for the thought and energy that went into it. VALEN BAIR, (Testified via Teleconference), Matsu, noted support for the proposed legislation. BILL GREEN, (Testified via Teleconference), Anchorage, testified that the Anchorage Charter provides that no changes can be made to service areas without voter approval. HB 133 reduces the maximum local self government dictated by the Constitution and repeals significant portions of the Anchorage voter approved charter in the process. He noted that it would restrict the "home rule" nd and in the process and would make exceptions for 2 Class Boroughs. That would make it inconsistent with the State Constitution. The proposed legislation would take away the voters ability in Anchorage to govern themselves. He noted that the bill was not limited to road service areas which are unique to Anchorage. The charter would prohibit the development of new subdivisions where an owner might want to join. He emphasized that the bill was submitted at the request of the Fairbanks Borough and could substantially disadvantage nd Anchorage's economy while at the same time exempting 2 Class Boroughs. Representative Bunde responded that there are fifty-three limitations to the "home rule" power at this point. He commented that the legislation would guarantee that the local residents maintain their rights. Co-Chair Parnell MOVED to report SCS CS HB 133(CRA) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. SCS CS HB 133 (CRA) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with fiscal notes by Department of Community and Regional Affairs dated 3/31/00 and Department of Community & Economic Development dated 3/7/00.