Legislature(2009 - 2010)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/17/2009 02:30 PM Senate FINANCE

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
02:49:04 PM Start
02:49:27 PM SB75
03:35:17 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Department of Natural Resources
Department of Fish and Game
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                       March 17, 2009                                                                                           
                         2:49 p.m.                                                                                              
2:49:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stedman called the Senate  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 2:49 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Leta  Simons,   Director,  Division   of  Support   Services,                                                                   
Department  of  Natural  Resources;   Tom  Lawson,  Director,                                                                   
Administrative  Services,   Department  of  Fish   and  Game;                                                                   
Charles   Swanton,   Director,   Division  of   Sport   Fish,                                                                   
Department of Fish and Game.                                                                                                    
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
James  King,   Director,  Division   of  Parks  and   Outdoor                                                                   
Recreation, Department of Natural  Resources; John Hilsinger,                                                                   
Director,  Division of  Commercial  Fisheries, Department  of                                                                   
Fish and Game.                                                                                                                  
SB 75     "An Act making and amending appropriations,                                                                           
          including capital appropriations, supplemental                                                                        
          appropriations, and appropriations to capitalize                                                                      
          funds; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
2:49:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 75                                                                                                            
          "An Act making and amending appropriations,                                                                           
          including capital appropriations, supplemental                                                                        
          appropriations, and appropriations to capitalize                                                                      
          funds; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
2:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
              DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stedman pointed out the  pink sheets (copy on file).                                                                   
LETA  SIMONS,   DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  SUPPORT   SERVICES,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF  NATURAL  RESOURCES, discussed  project  1  or                                                                   
41648, which  would increase federal  funding for  the Costal                                                                   
Impact Assistance  Program (CIAP). She explained  the details                                                                   
of the project and where the funding would be used.                                                                             
2:52:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Simons continued  to  item 4  or  33955, "Wildland  Fire                                                                   
Truck Replacement".  She  explained that  the funds  would be                                                                   
used  for  periodic  replacement   of  critical  firefighting                                                                   
equipment.  She detailed  the project  and where the  funding                                                                   
would be used.                                                                                                                  
2:53:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stedman asked  why project  6  or AMD47794,  "State                                                                   
Parks  Deferred Maintenance  and Emergency  Repairs had  been                                                                   
moved to the supplemental.                                                                                                      
Ms. Simons responded  that the project had been  moved to the                                                                   
supplemental to  take advantage  of the cruise  ship gambling                                                                   
tax  appropriation,  which  had  been  the  department's  the                                                                   
planned  source of  funding, leaving  no  reason to  postpone                                                                   
until  FY10. Moving  the  project  to the  FY09  supplemental                                                                   
would  allow  the funds  to  be  accessed quickly  and  spent                                                                   
2:54:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Simons  continued  to  17  or  32552,  "Land  and  Water                                                                   
Conservation  Fund Federal Grant  Program. She described  the                                                                   
project and where the funds would  be used. The next item was                                                                   
deleted by  the governor; AMD45255  or 19, "Architecture  and                                                                   
Engineering  for  a New  Geologic  Material  Center in  Eagle                                                                   
River-Phase 2 of 2".                                                                                                            
Co-  Chair  Stedman asked  for  a  brief description  of  the                                                                   
deleted item; AMD45255 or 19.                                                                                                   
Ms. Simons explained  that because of the recent  drop in oil                                                                   
prices,  the  administration  had  urged  the  department  to                                                                   
forego  projects  requiring  general   funds  that  could  be                                                                   
postponed to a later date.                                                                                                      
2:55: PM                                                                                                                      
Ms. Simons  continued to items  22-25, which were  deleted by                                                                   
the governor as she believed that  they could be postponed to                                                                   
a later date.                                                                                                                   
2:56:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Simons continued  to item 27 or 46947,  "Fire Suppression                                                                   
Trunk  Road   Facility  Relocation".  She  stated   that  the                                                                   
relocation would protect the state's  investment and maintain                                                                   
the  facility for  use  by fire  engines  and initial  attack                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stedman thought  that  it was  odd  that the  state                                                                   
would  lease   a  facility  from  the  university,   and  the                                                                   
university  would  then sell  the  land  out from  under  the                                                                   
leased facility.  He queried the  structure of the  lease and                                                                   
the actions of the university.                                                                                                  
Ms. Simons  responded that  the land had  been leased  to the                                                                   
state  by  the university  and  then  the building  had  been                                                                   
built. The recent sale of the  land by the university created                                                                   
the need for the building to be relocated.                                                                                      
CHRIS MAISCH,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF FORESTRY,  DEPARTMENT OF                                                                   
NATURAL RESOURCES,  replied that he did not  know the details                                                                   
in regard  to the sale of the  property. He felt it  may have                                                                   
to do  with the addition to  hospital property. He  said that                                                                   
he  would  research  the lease  and  bring  more  information                                                                   
before the committee.                                                                                                           
2:58:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Simons  continued to  item 29  or 38886, "Land  Sales-New                                                                   
Sub-Division  Development".  She  detailed  the  project  and                                                                   
where the funds  would be spent. She continued to  item 32 or                                                                   
AMD38480,  "Remote  Recreational   Cabin  Sites  Surveys  and                                                                   
Appraisals",  which was  moved to the  operating budget.  The                                                                   
next  item 35  or  6855,  "Abandoned Mine  Lands  Reclamation                                                                   
Federal Program".  She explained that the line  item provides                                                                   
federal  funding  for  reclamation   of  areas  mined  before                                                                   
enactment  of   the  Federal   Surface  Mining  Control   and                                                                   
Reclamation Act of 1977.                                                                                                        
3:00:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Simons continued  to item  38 or  40082, "Alaska  Costal                                                                   
Management  Federal  Pass  Through  Grants" and  item  40  or                                                                   
37769, "Fire  and Local Government  Funded Forestry  and Fire                                                                   
Projects". She  detailed the line  items and discussed  where                                                                   
the funds would be spent.                                                                                                       
3:00:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Simons  continued to  item 43  or AMD46953, "Private  and                                                                   
Public  Forest Assessment",  which is  a request for  funding                                                                   
necessary  to  continue  federal  funds.  The  item  will  be                                                                   
addressed in the  operating budget. She continued  to item 46                                                                   
or 32553, "Alaska Boating Safety Program".                                                                                      
Co-Chair Stedman asked for details about the program.                                                                           
3:01:27 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES  KING,   DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  PARKS  AND   OUTDOOR                                                                   
RECREATION,  DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL  RESOURCES (testified  via                                                                   
teleconference), discussed  the Kids Don't Float  program. He                                                                   
stressed  that  the  department   is  working  diligently  to                                                                   
improve  boating   safety  through   the  implementation   of                                                                   
programs for adults as well as for children.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman asked if the program was ongoing.                                                                              
Mr. King responded that there is a sunset clause.                                                                               
Co-Chair Stedman  asked if there  were any funding  shortages                                                                   
or   overlap  with   the  Alaska   Marine  Safety   Education                                                                   
Mr. King  responded that the  programs work closely  together                                                                   
and that there is some sharing of funds.                                                                                        
3:03:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman  referred  to prior  funding  history.  The                                                                   
program   has   funds  left   over   from  the   last   three                                                                   
Mr. King  pointed out  that the dates  of the federal  fiscal                                                                   
year  vary  from the  state's  fiscal  year. This  can  cause                                                                   
challenges where  grants with  time limits are  concerned. He                                                                   
added  that money  left over  from federal  funds and  grants                                                                   
will be used for safety improvement.                                                                                            
3:05:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Simons continued  to item 50 or 6865,  "National Historic                                                                   
Preservation  Fund  Federal Grant  Program",  which  includes                                                                   
$200,000 in  general fund match.  Item 53 or  6854, "National                                                                   
Recreational  Trail Grants  Federal  Program", would  provide                                                                   
money to  for grants for  recreational trail development  and                                                                   
maintenance.  Recent  grantees   include;  Ketchikan  Gateway                                                                   
Borough, Mat-Su Borough, Wasilla,  Fort Yukon, Homer, Galena,                                                                   
Barrow,  Cordova, Aleknagik,  and  Circle.  She continued  to                                                                   
item   56   or   AMD45270,   "DNR    Information   Technology                                                                   
Infrastructure Upgrades-Phase 2 of 2", which was deleted.                                                                       
3:06:31 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Simons continued to item 60  or 45272, "Matanuska Susitna                                                                   
Borough  Hydrogeology Assessment-Phase  2 of  3. The  goal of                                                                   
the study is to study ground water  to effectively manage the                                                                   
ground water resources in the  area. She continued to item 64                                                                   
or 37762, "Cooperative Water Resource  Program". This funding                                                                   
pays for the installation and  operation of equipment used to                                                                   
obtain  hydroelectric data.  She detailed  item 66 or  33690,                                                                   
"Snowmobile Trail Development  and Program Grants". The funds                                                                   
are  spent on  direct  grants  to various  organizations  and                                                                   
agencies  for trail  and  trailhead development,  safety  and                                                                   
education programs,  and grant administration and  support of                                                                   
the statewide Snowmobile Trails Advisory Committee.                                                                             
3:08:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Simons  continued to item  70 or AMD6853,  "Mental Health                                                                   
Trust  Land  Development",  which   has  been  moved  to  the                                                                   
operating budget.  Item 72 or AMD40474, "Mental  Health Trust                                                                   
Facilities   Maintenance",   will   fund   ongoing   property                                                                   
management, snow  removal maintenance,  and repair  of mental                                                                   
health  trust properties.  Item  74 or  AMD 47798,  "Chilkoot                                                                   
River Bear  Viewing Areas", has  been moved to  the operating                                                                   
budget.  Item 76  or  46965, "Gas  Pipeline  Implementation",                                                                   
will fund the  retention of outside experts  and consultants,                                                                   
continued gasline  analysis, analysis and advice  on tariffs,                                                                   
royalty evaluation methodology,  and enforcement and remedies                                                                   
related  to  license   terms  and  conditions.   Item  78  or                                                                   
AMD45278,  "Reservoir   Studies  to  Evaluate   Oil  and  Gas                                                                   
Resources on the North Slope-Phase  2 of 3", is for reservoir                                                                   
studies  to  evaluate oil  and  gas  resources on  the  north                                                                   
3:09:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Simons continued  to the  last  item 80  or 41415,  "Gas                                                                   
Pipeline Corridor  Geologic Hazards and Resources-Phase  4 of                                                                   
5"  which  will  allow  for  the   continuation  of  geologic                                                                   
mapping,  hazard assessment,  and  resource evaluation  along                                                                   
the  purposed  natural  gas  pipeline   corridor  from  Delta                                                                   
Junction to the Canadian border.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  noted that the  items had been  in priority                                                                   
3:11:01 PM AT EASE                                                                                                            
3:11:13 PM RECONVENED                                                                                                         
               DEPARTMENT OF FISH and GAME                                                                                    
TOM LAWSON, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE  SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF                                                                   
FISH  AND   GAME,  discussed   the  project  review   listing                                                                   
beginning  with   item  1  or  AMD43322,   "Statewide  Annual                                                                   
Deferred Maintenance,  Repair,  Upgrades, and Equipment".  He                                                                   
detailed the cost of maintenance  in each of the areas of the                                                                   
3:13:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman asked if the  $250,000 reduction in the line                                                                   
item fund  source total,  from $11,000,000  to $850,000,  had                                                                   
forced the deletion of projects.                                                                                                
Mr.  Lawson stated  that  the department  would  cut back  on                                                                   
deferred maintenance of various  facilities. He felt that the                                                                   
department  could  survive  the   year  with  less  money  by                                                                   
trimming  back  on  all  areas  to  accommodate  the  overall                                                                   
funding reduction.                                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Stedman   asked  if  the  projected   $1.1  million                                                                   
targeted maintenance numbers remain the same.                                                                                   
Mr. Lawson replied that the numbers would stay the same.                                                                        
Mr.  Lawson  continued  to  item 3  or  AMD47027,  "Data  and                                                                   
Infrastructure  Backup".  The  project  would allow  for  the                                                                   
purchase of  hard and software  for data backup  in Anchorage                                                                   
and  Fairbanks. He  stated that  the backup  systems for  the                                                                   
department  had been  lacking across  the board  and cited  a                                                                   
recent  situation of  server data  loss  at the  headquarters                                                                   
office. He stressed that the data  gathered by the department                                                                   
is a critical asset to the state and must be safely stored.                                                                     
Co-Chair Stedman  spoke of lost  information in the  past. He                                                                   
wondered about  the man  hours it would  take to  re-enter or                                                                   
recover data lost.                                                                                                              
Mr. Lawson  replied  that the  amount would  be equal to  the                                                                   
line  item request,  possibly more.  He added  that the  data                                                                   
recovery  took months  and required a  substantial number  of                                                                   
staff members.                                                                                                                  
3:17:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Lawson continued  to item  6  or AMD47028,  "Application                                                                   
Development Software". The project  would provide software to                                                                   
perform various  applications to prepare  customized reports.                                                                   
He gave an example  of the fish ticket system  currently used                                                                   
by the department, which is used  to compile data. He pointed                                                                   
out that  the current  system does  not allow for  convenient                                                                   
conversion of data into shareable formats.                                                                                      
3:18:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Lawson  continued  to  item  8  or  AMD47023,  "Wildlife                                                                   
Conservation Response Team", which  was deleted. He continued                                                                   
to item  10 or AMD47022,  "Wood Bison Stocking  and Release".                                                                   
The  program  would establish  up  to  three bison  herds  in                                                                   
Interior  Alaska,   work  to  complete  the   regulatory  and                                                                   
planning hurdles  facing the department,  construct temporary                                                                   
field  camps  and  enclosures   at  release  sites,  aide  in                                                                   
transport  of the  bison  to the  release  site, conduct  the                                                                   
initial biological  monitoring of  the bison herds,  and fund                                                                   
staff for the project.                                                                                                          
3:20:42 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Lawson continued to item 13  or AMD42951, "Hazardous Site                                                                   
Cleanups", which  has been deleted  from the capital  budget.                                                                   
Item 15 or AMD45368, "Assessment  of Pacific Salmon Resources                                                                   
in AYK, Northern  Region", was moved from the  capital budget                                                                   
to the operating budget.                                                                                                        
3:21:49 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Lawson continued to item 17  or AMD42050, "Collection and                                                                   
Genetic Analysis  of Chum Salmon Tissues in  Western Alaska",                                                                   
which will allow  the department to use genetic  stock in the                                                                   
continuation  of  chum salmon  identification  research.  The                                                                   
research  should   provide  estimates  of   productivity  and                                                                   
fisheries impacts on various fish stocks.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Stedman  asked for clarification  concerning details                                                                   
of the research.                                                                                                                
3:23:20 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN HILSINGER,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF COMMERCIAL  FISHERIES,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME, (testified  via teleconference),                                                                   
stated   that  the   project  samples   the  commercial   and                                                                   
subsistence  fisheries  along   the  coast  of  Alaska,  from                                                                   
Chignik  through Bristol  Bay, and  up to  Norton Sound.  The                                                                   
information  would  track how  the  stocks move  through  the                                                                   
area.   In  knowing   the  harvest   of   the  fish   stocks,                                                                   
productivity will be increased.                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Hoffman asked about the  appropriation reduction for                                                                   
the line item, and if it would affect the stock analysis.                                                                       
3:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Hilsinger  replied  that the project  could be  completed                                                                   
with the requested funding in place.                                                                                            
Mr.  Larson  continued  to  item 19  or  30432,  "Sport  Fish                                                                   
Recreational  Boating Access". The  program would  enable the                                                                   
department to  construct and up-grade boating  and sport fish                                                                   
access facilities statewide.                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman  queried the particulars of  the program. He                                                                   
specifically asked about the Star Gavin boat ramp in Sitka.                                                                     
3:25:59 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Lawson  shared  that  the  department  is  objective  in                                                                   
choosing which projects are eligible for the program.                                                                           
3:26:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES   SWANTON,   DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF   SPORT   FISH,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF FISH AND  GAME, understood  that the  funds to                                                                   
complete Star Gavin  boat ramp had been appropriated  in FY07                                                                   
and that the  department was in the process  of finishing the                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman disagreed.                                                                                                     
3:27:05 PM AT EASE                                                                                                            
3:27:17 PM RECONVENED                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Stedman  believed that the item had  been vetoed. He                                                                   
requested  that Mr. Swanton  check the  facts. He stated  the                                                                   
breakwater   needed  to   be  constructed   to  protect   the                                                                   
infrastructure  of  the  facility.   He  requested  that  the                                                                   
department  research both  completed and  targeted boat  ramp                                                                   
projects  for status  and  maintenance  reports. He  stressed                                                                   
that  the committee  is  committed  to supporting  boat  ramp                                                                   
3:28:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman felt  that the data would be  helpful to the                                                                   
committee to ensure fair distribution of funds statewide.                                                                       
Co-Chair  Stedman  ruminated  on  Star Gavin  boat  dock.  He                                                                   
stressed that  the area  has been very  well received  by the                                                                   
community  in  Sitka,  and  should  be  a  model  for  future                                                                   
projects. He relayed  that the committee is  working to bring                                                                   
a  focused approach  to  the building  of  high quality  boat                                                                   
ramps  throughout the  state.  He hoped  that the  department                                                                   
maintained the same philosophy.                                                                                                 
3:30:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Lawson  continued to item  21 or 33647, "Pacific  Coastal                                                                   
Salmon Recovery Fund", which is  an annual item. The  program                                                                   
objective is  to ensure sustainable Alaska  salmon fisheries.                                                                   
The vetting process  for the grants is stringent.  Mr. Lawson                                                                   
cited the "PCSRF Background" letter (copy on file).                                                                             
3:31:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Lawson  continued  to item  23  or  47021,  "Cooperative                                                                   
Resource  Program".  The  project allows  the  department  to                                                                   
accept funds from the private sector to match state funds.                                                                      
3:32:52 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Lawson continued  to the final item 25  or 47612, "Permit                                                                   
Card Equipment  for eLandings Program".  This is a  card that                                                                   
is bar-coded and will likely take  the place of fish tickets.                                                                   
3:34:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stedman pointed  out that despite  the $22  million                                                                   
requested  for the  Salmon  Recovery Fund,  the  department's                                                                   
requests for  funding are minimal.  He felt that  there would                                                                   
be a discussion  in the committee  to work to extend  as much                                                                   
attention to departmental requests as possible.                                                                                 
3:35:17 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 3:35 PM.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DNR Snow Machine Regs & Expend 08.pdf SFIN 3/17/2009 2:30:00 PM
SB 75
DNR CIAP Overview.pdf SFIN 3/17/2009 2:30:00 PM
SB 75
F&G Def Maint List FY2010.pdf SFIN 3/17/2009 2:30:00 PM
SB 75
F&G PCSRF & AKSSF Ovrview & Projects.pdf SFIN 3/17/2009 2:30:00 PM
SB 75