Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/19/2000 09:21 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
     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.                                                                                                                         

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