Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124


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            HJR 39-DISAPPROVING FAIRBANKS ANNEXATION                                                                        
8:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO.   39,  Disapproving  the  Local                                                               
Boundary  Commission recommendation  regarding the  annexation of                                                               
territory to the City of Fairbanks.                                                                                             
8:04:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TAMMIE WILSON,  Alaska State Legislature, speaking                                                               
as  the prime  sponsor of  HJR 39,  explained that  HJR 39  would                                                               
disapprove  the Local  Boundary  Commission's  (LBC) decision  to                                                               
annex two territories  in the Fairbanks North Star  Borough.  The                                                               
disapproval, she related,  is primarily based upon  the fact that                                                               
residents  weren't  provided  the  opportunity  to  vote  on  the                                                               
annexation,  which  most  oppose.   Furthermore,  the  annexation                                                               
would  slow  emergency  response   time  to  the  annexed  areas.                                                               
Representative T. Wilson  reminded the committee that  the LBC is                                                               
a statewide  five-member commission  that processes  petitions on                                                               
incorporation  of cities,  boroughs, and  unified municipalities,                                                               
reclassification   of   cities,    and   municipal   annexations,                                                               
detachments,  dissolutions,  mergers,  and consolidations.    She                                                               
further reminded the  committee that under Article  X, Section 2,                                                               
the  legislature  is  the  final   reviewer  of  boundary  change                                                               
proposals.   She  then  explained that  there  are two  processes                                                               
through which annexation can be initiated.   One process is via a                                                               
proposal  that is  ultimately forwarded  to  the legislature  for                                                               
review,  which is  the case  with  this resolution.   The  second                                                               
process is local  action in which residents vote  on the boundary                                                               
change.  In either case, the  LBC must approve and is involved in                                                               
the  process.   In  the  case of  the  Fairbanks annexation,  the                                                               
residents  didn't vote  on a  petition and  thus the  legislature                                                               
serves as  a substitute for  the vote  of the people  impacted in                                                               
this  area.   Regarding  whether the  residents  in the  affected                                                               
areas  want annexation,  Representative  T.  Wilson related  that                                                               
over  90  percent of  the  residents  living  in and  around  the                                                               
enclave lots and 100 percent  of the businesses in the commercial                                                               
subdivision  oppose annexation.   After  approaching the  enclave                                                               
lot owners, it  was determined that only one  homeowner wanted to                                                               
be annexed.   That  homeowner could be  annexed into  the borough                                                               
because the LBC has a  provision that those residents who desired                                                               
becoming part  of the city could  do so by petitioning  the city.                                                               
She  noted   that  the  committee  packet   includes  letters  in                                                               
opposition to  the annexation from the  three commercial entities                                                               
that  would  be  impacted.    Additionally,  the  Fairbanks  City                                                               
Council  has  been  split  on   the  proposed  annexation.    The                                                               
Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough and  Assembly  have  consistently                                                               
opposed the annexation, she noted.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON stated that  there are a number of other                                                               
reasons to  disapprove the  LBC's report,  which are  outlined in                                                               
the sponsor  statement.  There  were a number of  legal standards                                                               
that were  misconstrued.  For instance,  as regulation specifies,                                                               
annexation  shouldn't take  place  if it  causes  a detriment  to                                                               
emergency services.  She cautioned  that she's not speaking about                                                               
whether  the  city or  the  borough  has  better police  or  fire                                                               
service.   The  issue, she  said, is  the proximity  of emergency                                                               
services  for the  area to  be annexed.   The  fire service  area                                                               
station is  a few blocks  from the area  to be annexed  while the                                                               
city  fire station  is a  few  blocks away  from the  area to  be                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON explained  that  at  the beginning  of                                                               
session, the  LBC report was  [provided to the legislature].   If                                                               
no action is taken in 45  days, the annexation would be approved.                                                               
However,  a  resolution  to  disapprove  the  annexation  can  be                                                               
introduced,  which is  the case  with  HJR 39.   This  resolution                                                               
provides a venue  for the residents of the area  to be annexed to                                                               
have  their  voices  heard  by the  committee.    In  conclusion,                                                               
Representative T. Wilson requested  that the committee disapprove                                                               
the LBC report  by supporting HJR 39 because  the annexation will                                                               
harm  public safety  and negatively  impacts the  Fairbanks North                                                               
Star  Borough and  fire service  area budgets.   Furthermore,  an                                                               
overwhelming majority  of residents  oppose the annexation.   She                                                               
reminded the committee that the  legislature only has until March                                                               
4th to respond.                                                                                                                 
8:09:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  recalled testimony that the  annexation petition                                                               
wasn't voted on by the residents.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON clarified  that the  legislative review                                                               
process doesn't allow  a vote while the local process  does.  She                                                               
informed the committee that the enclave  lots have held a vote in                                                               
which those  residents voted  down annexation by  the city.   The                                                               
city, she opined,  should be able to sell its  services [in order                                                               
for  annexation  to   occur].    She  further   opined  that  the                                                               
legislative review  process should only  occur when there  are no                                                               
residents in the area to be annexed.                                                                                            
8:11:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ inquired as to  the process that would've resulted                                                               
in a vote by the area to be annexed.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  explained  that  the process  would've                                                               
begun as  a vote.   A petition  would've still been  forwarded to                                                               
the LBC  for review and a  decision as to whether  the annexation                                                               
did or did  not meet the standards.  Once  the annexation met the                                                               
standards, a  vote would've been  taken.  In further  response to                                                               
Co-Chair  Munoz,  Representative  T. Wilson  clarified  that  the                                                               
[petitioner,  which   is  the  entity  that   petitions  for  the                                                               
annexation]  chooses the  process.   In  this case,  the City  of                                                               
Fairbanks  chose the  legislative  review process  under which  a                                                               
vote is not required.                                                                                                           
8:12:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  asked if the  LBC could've asked  the petitioner                                                               
to utilize the vote process.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  answered that she didn't  believe so as                                                               
she said she  understands it was up to the  City of Fairbanks, as                                                               
the petitioner, to choose  the  process it wanted to follow.  The                                                               
LBC could've denied the legislative review, she offered.                                                                        
8:14:05 AM                                                                                                                    
TERRY  STRLE, Mayor,  City of  Fairbanks, reminded  the committee                                                               
that the City  of Fairbanks lies within the  Fairbanks North Star                                                               
Borough.   There are  about 30,000 residents  within the  City of                                                               
Fairbanks  and 70,000  residents within  the borough.   Over  the                                                               
course of many  years, the City of Fairbanks  has used annexation                                                               
sparingly.    She  explained  that the  part  of  the  annexation                                                               
referred to as  the enclave lots includes a mix  of houses in the                                                               
city and out  of the city, which she attributed  to the utilities                                                               
and utility services in the  area.  Mayor Strle acknowledged that                                                               
the legislative  process doesn't allow  residents to vote  on the                                                               
annexation.   The city didn't  believe that the residents  of the                                                               
enclave community, who  have received city services  for free for                                                               
many  years, would've  voted  for the  annexation.   The  enclave                                                               
residents have their  streets are plowed and  potholes filled [by                                                               
the city].   In fact, she related her understanding  that many of                                                               
the enclave  residents take  their garbage  across the  street to                                                               
their neighbor  for pickup.   The enclave residents should  be in                                                               
the city  as they  have been  benefiting from  the city  for many                                                               
years.   The  other  part of  the annexation  is  the Fred  Meyer                                                               
subdivision,  which    has  no [residents].    She  informed  the                                                               
committee that  as part of  the annexation process,  everyone who                                                               
would be impacted  was alerted.  Prior to the  council taking the                                                               
vote to proceed with the  annexation, Fred Meyer and Mt. McKinley                                                               
Bank  both  wrote  letters  in   opposition  to  the  annexation.                                                               
However,  neither  of those  businesses  or  Taco Bell  chose  to                                                               
oppose the  annexation with the  LBC.   This has been  a two-year                                                               
process   in  which   there  were   multiple  opportunities   for                                                               
businesses  and  residents to  oppose  the  annexation, but  they                                                               
chose not to do so.  She referred  to a map and binders that hold                                                               
the  lengthy  amount  of  information on  the  annexation.    She                                                               
characterized this  annexation process as exhaustive  and praised                                                               
the LBC staff and commissioners for doing an exceptional job.                                                                   
MAYOR  STRLE  emphasized that  the  City  of Fairbanks  has  been                                                               
providing services to the areas  proposed for annexation for some                                                               
time already.   She noted  that she attended a  recent University                                                               
Fire Service  Area (UFSA) meeting during  which the commissioners                                                               
noted  that there  is currently  inadequate  commercial fire  and                                                               
building code  inspections.  The UFSA   is the area  that serve s                                                               
the Fred  Meyer subdivision.   The commissioners were  looking to                                                               
the University of Alaska Fire  Department to perhaps take on fire                                                               
and building  code inspections in  the future.  Mayor  Strle told                                                               
the committee that some of  the commercial facilities in the area                                                               
to  be annexed  have never  been inspected,  unlike those  in the                                                               
city.   The aforementioned was considered  by the LBC.   The city                                                               
wouldn't have started this process  without having the confidence                                                               
that  it  could provide  full  city  services, including  police,                                                               
fire, and  emergency medical service  (EMS).  She noted  that she                                                               
provided  the  committee with  letters  of  support from  an  EMS                                                               
doctor,  a hotel  and  apartment complex,  and  the Alaska  State                                                               
Troopers.   Having the  City of Fairbanks  annex this  area would                                                               
relieve  a  small portion  of  the  burden  on the  Alaska  State                                                               
Troopers  who  currently  provide  services in  the  area  to  be                                                               
annexed.     There  has  been   no  formal  opposition   to  this                                                               
annexation.  In conclusion, Mayor  Strle reiterated that this has                                                               
been an  exhaustive and thorough annexation  process during which                                                               
the  LBC  acted appropriately.    Therefore,  she encouraged  the                                                               
committee to vote against HJR 39.                                                                                               
8:20:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MAYOR  STRLE, in  response  to  Representative Keller,  clarified                                                               
that  the  annexation  does  include the  enclave  lots  and  the                                                               
commercial subdivision.                                                                                                         
8:21:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MAYOR STRLE,  in response  to Representative  Guttenberg, related                                                               
that the UFSA is opposed to  the annexation.  However, during the                                                               
aforementioned UFSA meeting there was  discussion of the need for                                                               
fire  code inspections  for UFSA  businesses.   These inspections                                                               
were felt  to be  important in  terms of  the quality  of service                                                               
provided as well  as the [safety it provides]  for the volunteers                                                               
who are the UFSA responders.                                                                                                    
8:22:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER,  referring to  a document  entitled "Fact                                                               
Sheet City  of Fairbanks Annexation,"  directed attention  to the                                                               
claims from Marc  Dumas, MD, EMS, that city  paramedics provide a                                                               
higher  level  of service  than  the  UFSA  EMT students  from  a                                                               
substation that isn't  always staffed.  However,  the sponsor has                                                               
pointed  out that  UFSA  is  located closer  to  the  area to  be                                                               
annexed  and  can  respond  more  quickly  in  the  event  of  an                                                               
emergency.    She  surmised  that Dr.  Dumas'  comments  seem  to                                                               
indicate that the medical response for UFSA by students.                                                                        
MAYOR STRLE  said that although  she didn't want to  discount the                                                               
services  UFSA  provides,  the    station  is  mostly  manned  by                                                               
students who are learning.                                                                                                      
8:24:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG expressed  concern  that  the City  of                                                               
Fairbanks didn't  bifurcate the  proposal and have  an annexation                                                               
proposal  for the  enclave lots  and another  for the  Fred Meyer                                                               
MAYOR STRLE characterized this annexation,  with a combination of                                                               
residential  and commercial  areas,  as a  very common  practice.                                                               
When  the  city  originally  reviewed the  annexation,  the  city                                                               
focused on the  Fred Meyer subdivision.   However, when reviewing                                                               
the map  a question arose regarding  the enclave lots.   The LBC,                                                               
in a previous annexation, recommended  including the enclave lots                                                               
in the annexation.                                                                                                              
8:25:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  pointed out that the  areas within the                                                               
annexation  are so  very different:    a residential  area and  a                                                               
commercial  facility.   He questioned  whether  it would've  been                                                               
more efficient to have separated the different annexation areas.                                                                
MAYOR STRLE  replied no, both  areas have received  city services                                                               
for  many years  and haven't  contributed to  the city's  revenue                                                               
stream for those services.   For instance, city police respond to                                                               
an accident  on the  corner of University  and Airport  Road even                                                               
though  it's  a state-maintained  road.    Furthermore, the  city                                                               
police have  the only  technology to respond  to a  bank robbery;                                                               
there are  two banks  in the  area to  be annexed.   Both  of the                                                               
areas proposed to be annexed  benefit from city services yet they                                                               
don't contribute to the city.                                                                                                   
8:27:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  questioned whether that could  be said                                                               
about all of the communities along the city's boundary.                                                                         
MAYOR STRLE acknowledged that such  could be said, and added that                                                               
the  City of  Fairbanks needs  to receive  revenue for  those who                                                               
benefit from its services.   Therefore, she expressed the need to                                                               
form  a  committee for  future  annexations  as there  have  been                                                               
comments  regarding   the  need   to  look  larger   with  future                                                               
annexations.   She  told the  committee that  her philosophy  has                                                               
been to start small with annexation.                                                                                            
8:28:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  characterized the  City of  Fairbanks annexation                                                               
as  an "interesting  carve  out."   He  inquired  as  to why  the                                                               
residents  south  of  Fred  Meyer   weren't  considered  in  this                                                               
MAYOR  STRLE related  that although  the aforementioned  area was                                                               
considered for  annexation, the area proposed  for annexation was                                                               
chosen  because  it's  already  receiving  city  services.    She                                                               
recalled  that the  residents behind  the Fred  Meyer subdivision                                                               
have related  that they  receive response  from the  Alaska State                                                               
Troopers,  the University  police, as  well as  the city  police.                                                               
However,  the city  is clearly  [a responder]  at the  Fred Meyer                                                               
8:30:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  inquired as to  why the city  is providing                                                               
services to these residents who  don't pay for them.                                                                            
MAYOR STRLE replied  that the city is part of  a community and it                                                               
cares about  that community.   The  city has  long had  a working                                                               
relationship with the  Alaska State Troopers.  In  a situation in                                                               
which the city police are closer  for a particular call, the city                                                               
police  will respond.    The  majority of  the  residents of  the                                                               
Fairbanks    North     Star    Borough    think     Fred    Meyer                                                               
West  is part  of  the community.   Furthermore,  it  would be  a                                                               
tragedy  not to  respond to  an incident  that's just  across the                                                               
street.  In  fact, Mayor Strle opined that when  Fred Meyer chose                                                               
the spot to construct it likely realized that as well.                                                                          
8:31:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  inquired as  to  how  long the  city  has                                                               
offered its services to these residents for free.                                                                               
MAYOR  STRLE recalled  that Fred  Meyer has  been there  for more                                                               
than  30 years.   As  a 30-year  member of  the community,  Mayor                                                               
Strle  opined that  the  City of  Fairbanks  has been  [providing                                                               
services in the area to be annexed].                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  surmised then  that the City  of Fairbanks                                                               
has been offering services for  some time and hasn't received any                                                               
revenue  for those  services, which  the city  likely won't  stop                                                               
MAYOR STRLE noted  her agreement with that assessment.   She then                                                               
reminded  the committee  that  the quality  of  service the  city                                                               
provides is  something that  the borough  isn't able  to provide.                                                               
The city is able to  provide building code inspections and public                                                               
works as well as fire and  police services.  The LBC reviewed the                                                               
basket of  services that the  City of Fairbanks could  provide to                                                               
this very  populated area.   She  opined that  what the  city can                                                               
provide is in the best interest of residents of the borough.                                                                    
8:33:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS surmised  then that  Mayor Strle  believes                                                               
the LBC  hasn't done  anything wrong and  followed the  letter of                                                               
the law.                                                                                                                        
MAYOR  STRLE replied  yes, although  she acknowledged  that there                                                               
are  those   who  don't  believe   the  legislative   process  is                                                               
8:34:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CYNTHIA KLEPASKI, Assistant Borough  Attorney, Department of Law,                                                               
Fairbanks  North Star  Borough, informed  the committee  that the                                                               
Fairbanks North Star Borough  Assembly passed several resolutions                                                               
opposing  this annexation.    The borough  isn't  opposed to  all                                                               
annexations;  the borough  doesn't oppose  annexations that  make                                                               
sense.   The borough doesn't  believe the annexation of  the Fred                                                               
Meyer  property to  the city  makes sense.   Ms.  Klepaski opined                                                               
that   the  legislative   review  process   is  very   important,                                                               
especially when  the area to be  annexed has no voters  and/or no                                                               
vote of the  residents in the area  to be annexed is  taken.  She                                                               
further opined  that this proposed  annexation of the  Fred Meyer                                                               
subdivision is  going to create  the same enclave  situation that                                                               
the city  is trying to  resolve.   The Fred Meyer  subdivision is                                                               
surrounded  on three  sides  by the  borough  and the  annexation                                                               
doesn't  include the  residential  subdivision to  the south  nor                                                               
does it  include the business  district to  the west of  the Fred                                                               
Meyer subdivision.  The borough  believes those residential areas                                                               
aren't included  because it  would mean the  city would  face new                                                               
streets  to  plow  and  garbage to  collect.    Furthermore,  the                                                               
businesses  to  the west  of  the  Fred Meyer  subdivision  would                                                               
require   many  services,   much   more  than   the  Fred   Meyer                                                               
subdivision.    All  of the  aforementioned  would  increase  the                                                               
city's costs.   Ms. Klepaski said that there has  been no showing                                                               
of  need  for this  annexation.    Although  Fred Meyer  and  Mt.                                                               
McKinley  Bank  wrote  letters opposing  the  annexation  at  the                                                               
beginning  of  the process  and  made  no comments  since,  those                                                               
letters in opposition  to the annexation are on the  record.  She                                                               
then directed the committee's attention  to an aerial map showing                                                               
the distances between  all the fire stations in the  area and the                                                               
Fred Meyer  West subdivision.   The University Fire Station  2 is                                                               
.6 miles from Fred Meyer and  is the closest responder.  The City                                                               
of Fairbanks  main fire  station is located  3.1 miles  from Fred                                                               
Meyer  and would  have  to travel  one of  the  busiest roads  in                                                               
Fairbanks  and through  10 lighted  intersections  to access  the                                                               
Fred Meyer subdivision.  Although  the fire trucks and ambulances                                                               
have the  ability to  change the  light, one  must slow  down and                                                               
manage through the  intersections.  The faster the  response to a                                                               
major medical incident,  such as a heart attack,  the more likely                                                               
lives will be saved and people helped, she remarked.                                                                            
8:41:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.   KLEPASKI  informed   the  committee   that  this   proposed                                                               
annexation would remove the second  largest taxpayer in the UFSA.                                                               
The municipality,  she opined, believes  it's poor  public policy                                                               
for  one municipality  to financially  cannibalize another.   She                                                               
explained  that  borough  residents  would face  an  increase  in                                                               
taxation  in  order  to  cover  the  loss  of  revenue  from  the                                                               
annexation.   However,  there would  be an  increase to  the city                                                               
coffers by  over $600,000, but only  cost the city $52,000.   The                                                               
$52,000 is  specified in  the petition by  the city.   Therefore,                                                               
the  legislature   should  perform   a  cost   benefit  analysis,                                                               
especially  when   there's  no   public  vote  on   the  proposed                                                               
annexation.    Ms.  Klepaski opined  that  the  taxpayers  aren't                                                               
obtaining  a good  deal as  there  are increases  to the  borough                                                               
residents  because  of  the  loss  of the  alcohol  tax  and  the                                                               
nonareawide taxes  charged in  the area  proposed to  be annexed.                                                               
Furthermore, there would  be an increase in cost  to UFSA because                                                               
of  the loss  of the  property taxes  as well  as an  increase in                                                               
costs to the  Fred Meyer subdivision owners in  terms of property                                                               
taxes, fees, and  licenses.  She estimated that  the increase for                                                               
the Fred Meyer subdivision owners  would be approximately $68,000                                                               
per year, although there is  no significant increase in services.                                                               
With regard  to the mention  of the building codes,  Ms. Klepaski                                                               
pointed  out that  the  buildings are  already  built and  unless                                                               
there is new construction there  wouldn't be an increase in those                                                               
services.   There  are no  streets to  clear or  maintain and  no                                                               
garbage  collection within  the subdivision  and the  subdivision                                                               
already has fire and ambulance  service, which is closer than the                                                               
city's  fire and  ambulance service.   Ms.  Klepaski opined  that                                                               
there has been  no showing of need for the  annexation.  The city                                                               
is proposing  to annex a  high-income producing property  and not                                                               
the residential  area to the  south or the older  commercial area                                                               
to  the  west.   Moreover,  UFSA  is  closer  to the  Fred  Meyer                                                               
subdivision and can more efficiently  provide services to it.  In                                                               
conclusion, Ms.  Klepaski expressed hope that  the committee will                                                               
pass HJR 39.                                                                                                                    
8:44:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ inquired as to  how the borough mill rate compares                                                               
to the city's mill rate.                                                                                                        
MS. KLEPASKI clarified  that the figures she has  provided to the                                                               
committee, the loss  of $480,000 by the borough  and the increase                                                               
to the  city of  $600,000, don't take  into account  the areawide                                                               
taxes that  the borough would  continue to charge in  both areas.                                                               
She  explained that  if  the annexation  passed,  the EMS,  solid                                                               
waste, economic development, and UFSA  taxes wouldn't be taxed to                                                               
the Fred Meyer subdivision.  However,  the 4.9 mill rate that the                                                               
city  currently taxes  its residents  would tax  the subdivision.                                                               
Therefore,  the difference  plus the  loss in  alcohol tax  would                                                               
result in a total loss of  about $480,000 and the city would gain                                                               
about $660,000.                                                                                                                 
8:45:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if Ms.  Klepaski believes the LBC has                                                               
followed the law.                                                                                                               
MS.  KLEPASKI replied  yes.   However, the  borough believes  the                                                               
process was flawed  in the following two ways.   Firstly, the LBC                                                               
didn't  allow  direct  examination  of  the  borough's  witnesses                                                               
although the  LBC treated  the process as  quasi judicial.   More                                                               
importantly,  neither  party was  allowed  to  cross examine  the                                                               
witnesses on  the other side.   The aforementioned can  result in                                                               
not airing all the information.   Secondly, the LBC required that                                                               
the  LBC  member  from  the Fourth  Judicial  District,  Tok,  be                                                               
recused, although he  would be most knowledgeable of  the area to                                                               
be annexed.   This LBC  member was  forced to be  recused because                                                               
his daughter worked for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.                                                                       
8:47:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS expressed  concern with  the claim  in the                                                               
committee  packet   that  the  if  the   proposed  annexation  is                                                               
approved,  the first  response for  fire service  in the  annexed                                                               
area would be  approximately eight times longer  than the current                                                               
response time.   Is that  the case because UFSA  wouldn't respond                                                               
if the area is annexed, he asked.                                                                                               
MS.  KLEPASKI replied  yes, adding  that  the city  would be  the                                                               
first responder.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if UFSA  would stop responding if the                                                               
annexation is approved.                                                                                                         
MS. KLEPASKI  replied no,  and explained that  there is  a mutual                                                               
aid  agreement  between  the  UFSA  and  the  city,  which  would                                                               
continue.   During the testimony  before the LBC, it  was related                                                               
that UFSA  provides more  mutual aid  to the  city than  does the                                                               
city to  outside its  boundaries.  Ms.  Klepaski said  that under                                                               
the mutual  aid agreement,  the UFSA would  still respond  in the                                                               
city, when requested.  However,  when an ambulance is called, the                                                               
city would be the first responder.                                                                                              
8:49:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG inquired  as to how much  of the burden                                                               
of making  up the loss of  revenue will be borne  by the property                                                               
taxpayers in the city.                                                                                                          
8:50:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  LAMB,  Chief  Financial Officer,  Fairbanks  North  Star                                                               
Borough,  explained  that  basically  four  taxing  jurisdictions                                                               
would  be impacted.   [If  the annexation  is approved]  the city                                                               
residents would face an increase  in the areawide total mill rate                                                               
to  help cover  the loss  of the  alcohol tax  revenue from  Fred                                                               
Meyer.  Essentially, every taxpayer  in the borough will pay more                                                               
taxes,  but city  residents will  pay  proportionally less  taxes                                                               
than UFSA residents who will be  hit the hardest.  With regard to                                                               
the earlier  question about the differential,  Mr. Lamb explained                                                               
that  if the  areawide  [tax] is  set aside  and  the Fred  Meyer                                                               
properties are  only reviewed,  the difference  in the  city mill                                                               
rate versus  the cost for EMS,  there is a 2.112  mill difference                                                               
increase  in the  cost to  the  Fred Meyer  businesses, which  is                                                               
about $52,000 per year in additional cost.                                                                                      
8:53:20 AM                                                                                                                    
ERLING  JOHANSEN, Assistant  Attorney  General,  Labor and  State                                                               
Affairs Section, Department of Law,  interjected that the case is                                                               
a 602 appeal to the superior court filed by the borough.                                                                        
8:53:35 AM                                                                                                                    
LYNN  CHRYSTAL, Chair,  Local Boundary  Commission, informed  the                                                               
committee that  about a year-and-a-half  ago the  city approached                                                               
the  LBC  staff  and  asked  questions,  which  resulted  in  the                                                               
beginning  of the  process.    The process  begins  by the  staff                                                               
answering questions and  holding short hearings that  are held in                                                               
the Fairbanks area after notice  has been given.  Eventually, the                                                               
LBC  receives a  preliminary  report that  evolves  into a  final                                                               
report.   After  the final  report,  there is  a public  hearing.                                                               
This  process evolves  over the  course  of many  months and  the                                                               
attorney general's  office is closely  involved.  With  regard to                                                               
the earlier  testimony that the  LBC member was forced  to recuse                                                               
himself, Mr.  Chrystal said  that's false.   The LBC  member, Mr.                                                               
Wilson, asked the  LBC to be recused because his  daughter is the                                                               
Fairbanks North  Star Borough attorney,  which is reflected  in a                                                               
set of LBC minutes.                                                                                                             
8:55:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON asked if Mr.  Wilson would've been able to remain                                                               
involved if his daughter recused  herself from anything regarding                                                               
the petition.                                                                                                                   
MR. CHRYSTAL said he couldn't answer that question.                                                                             
8:56:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  asked if  the  LBC  obtained a  legal                                                               
opinion  regarding whether  being bias  or having  a conflict  of                                                               
interest is a reason for recusal.                                                                                               
MR. CHRYSTAL deferred to Mr. Johansen.                                                                                          
8:57:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  related his understanding that  the LBC is                                                               
a five-member  commission and it  takes a normal  majority, three                                                               
members of a five-member committee, to pass any items.                                                                          
MR.  CHRYSTAL  stated his  agreement.    In further  response  to                                                               
Representative Harris,  Mr. Chrystal informed the  committee that                                                               
it was a 3:1 vote [on the Fairbanks annexation].                                                                                
8:58:22 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHRYSTAL  recalled the earlier testimony  regarding the small                                                               
enclave lots that  were mixed city and borough lots.   He related                                                               
that during  the annexation  hearing process,  both the  city and                                                               
the  borough agreed  that  the enclave  lots  should be  annexed,                                                               
although the  testimony today indicates otherwise.   Mr. Chrystal                                                               
related that the LBC doesn't  actively pursue annexations, rather                                                               
it addresses those petitions for annexation that it receives.                                                                   
8:59:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  made the  observation that  the LBC  consists of                                                               
outstanding Alaskans, but most of  the LBC members are relatively                                                               
new to the process, save the member from Barrow.                                                                                
MR. CHRYSTAL  agreed, adding that he  has only been with  the LBC                                                               
for three  years.   He acknowledged  that there  have been  a few                                                               
resolutions   before  the   legislature,  but   none  have   been                                                               
overturned in over 20 years.                                                                                                    
9:01:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked if the LBC  considered including                                                               
the residential  subdivision to  the south and  the west  of Fred                                                               
MR. CHRYSTAL responded  that the LBC reacted to what  the City of                                                               
Fairbanks proposed to the LBC.   The LBC didn't try to change the                                                               
City of  Fairbanks area.   In further response  to Representative                                                               
Guttenberg,  Mr. Chrystal  acknowledged that  the LBC  could have                                                               
made changes to the proposal.                                                                                                   
9:02:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  asked if  Commissioner Harrington's  decision of                                                               
dissent was discussed and debated at the commission level.                                                                      
MR. CHRYSTAL replied yes, during  the public hearing.  In further                                                               
response  to Co-Chair  Herron, Mr.  Chrystal  confirmed that  the                                                               
dissenting  opinion  was  published  at  the  same  time  as  the                                                               
majority opinion.   He opined that  it was a narrow  dissent that                                                               
focused on only one issue.                                                                                                      
9:03:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JOHANSEN,  in response  to  earlier  questions, referred  to                                                               
Article  X, Section  3, of  the LBC  bylaws of  June 2,  2009, in                                                               
which it says:                                                                                                                  
     (3)  Unless  exempted  under (b)  of  this  section,  a                                                                    
     member  of  the commission  may  not  participate in  a                                                                    
     proceeding if the member has  a personal interest in or                                                                    
     is  affiliated with  a party  to the  proceeding or  an                                                                    
     organization that advocates a  position with respect to                                                                    
     the proceeding.                                                                                                            
MR.  JOHANSEN recalled  that the  authority for  the recusal  was                                                               
referenced in the minutes addressing the recusal.                                                                               
9:04:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS asked  if Mr.  Chrystal wanted  to address                                                               
the  borough  attorney's comments  regarding  the  lack of  cross                                                               
examination of the witnesses.                                                                                                   
MR.  CHRYSTAL said  he  didn't  want to  comment  on that  matter                                                               
because  it's  part of  the  lawsuit.    In further  response  to                                                               
Representative Harris,  Mr. Chrystal  clarified that  the borough                                                               
wasn't in  favor of the Fred  Meyer annexation, but the  city and                                                               
the borough agreed that the enclave lots should be annexed.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS related his  understanding that the borough                                                               
now opposes the  entire annexation.  He then inquired  as to when                                                               
that change of position occurred.                                                                                               
MR.  CHRYSTAL  answered that  he  didn't  know when  the  borough                                                               
changed its position on the enclave lots.                                                                                       
9:06:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HERRON informed  the committee  that it  could go  into                                                               
executive  session to  ask questions  of  the LBC  that it  can't                                                               
answer in a public hearing due to the administrative appeal.                                                                    
9:07:34 AM                                                                                                                    
DOMINIC  LOZANO, President,  Fairbanks Firefighters  Association;                                                               
Member, Fairbanks Fire Department,  related his opposition to HJR
39.  Although this annexation  has [resulted in accusations] that                                                               
one  fire  department  does  a   better  job  than  another  fire                                                               
department,  both   fire  department's  have   their  advantages.                                                               
Obviously, the UFSA  department is much closer to  the Fred Meyer                                                               
commercial property.   There has  also been an argument  that the                                                               
City  of  Fairbanks  Fire  Department  provides  paramedic  level                                                               
service  rather than  EMT  level service,  which  is provided  by                                                               
UFSA.  Noting that he may be  biased since he is a paramedic, Mr.                                                               
Lozano  opined  that  paramedics   can  provide  better  service,                                                               
particularly for  major life-threatening  injuries.   With regard                                                               
to the  fire department side of  the matter, he pointed  out that                                                               
each department  uses different strategies  in terms  of staffing                                                               
and such.   In fact,  Mr. Lozano stated that  a fire at  the Fred                                                               
Meyer  property  would  result  in  the  presence  of  both  fire                                                               
departments.   Furthermore,  a  large fire  at  Fred Meyer  would                                                               
likely require every  firefighter in the borough  and there would                                                               
still likely  not be  enough.  However,  he highlighted  that the                                                               
City of Fairbanks Fire Department  would offer fire prevention in                                                               
terms of  inspections and  code enforcement.   He  emphasized the                                                               
importance  of   inspections,  particularly  at  the   Taco  Bell                                                               
property.   He  estimated that  approximately 90  percent of  the                                                               
fire  responses  to  commercial restaurants  are  due  to  grease                                                               
concerns.   With regard  to the enclave  lots, Mr.  Lozano opined                                                               
that it's  a "no-brainer" that they  should be part of  the city.                                                               
Technically,  the   City  of  Fairbanks  Fire   Department  isn't                                                               
supposed to  respond to  a fire  that's not  in the  city limits.                                                               
The borough  has had this problem  several times, and in  fact it                                                               
forced annexation of properties into  fire service areas in order                                                               
to avoid  fire departments trying  to determine  which properties                                                               
are  under the  city's  purview  and which  aren't.   Mr.  Lozano                                                               
expressed the need to move on  from this two-year process and the                                                               
need for  the city to grow.   In conclusion, he  related that the                                                               
firefighters oppose HJR 39.                                                                                                     
9:12:21 AM                                                                                                                    
BILL SCHECHTER, University Fire  Service Area Commission, related                                                               
that the  UFSA Commission's only  concern is that  the 8,000-plus                                                               
customers of Fred Meyer and  its employees plus the customers and                                                               
employees of the other businesses in  the area to be annexed will                                                               
experience  a change  in the  level  of service  they've come  to                                                               
expect.   Fred Meyer  was constructed  in 1991  and the  UFSA was                                                               
constructed  about four  years  ago.   Those  in  the Fred  Meyer                                                               
parcel have  come to expect a  rapid response, which is  vital to                                                               
the survivability of medical patients  and fire suppression.  Mr.                                                               
Schechter agreed with Mr. Lozano's  comments regarding that there                                                               
are  two  excellent  fire departments  and  that  paramedics  are                                                               
trained  to a  higher degree  than the  EMT3 advanced  level that                                                               
staffs UFSA.   However, since 1991,  there has never been  a case                                                               
in which a paramedic was needed  in a medical emergency that EMT3                                                               
advanced  wasn't  able  to  handle;  there  has  never  been  any                                                               
complaints from the  family of the patient or the  hospital.  The                                                               
purpose of the Fire Commission is  to address the change in terms                                                               
of  the survivability  of patients  due  to the  distance of  the                                                               
[primary responder] if the annexation  is approved.  The LBC made                                                               
a decision based on the  parameters of the state constitution and                                                               
statute, but the framers didn't  foresee the future to the degree                                                               
of complexity this matter faces today.   He opined that he didn't                                                               
believe the framers of the  constitution intended for any citizen                                                               
to suffer because  of the actions of the LBC,  which is what will                                                               
happen [if the annexation is approved].                                                                                         
9:16:18 AM                                                                                                                    
VIVIAN   STIVER,  Member,   Fairbanks  City   Council,  City   of                                                               
Fairbanks,  said that  she  doesn't  oppose annexation,  however,                                                               
this  annexation  doesn't  make  sense,  specifically  tying  the                                                               
commercial and residential parcels together.   With regard to the                                                               
public safety  aspect, Ms. Stiver  agreed that Fairbanks  has two                                                               
excellent fire departments.  The  UFSA provides a minute response                                                               
time to Fred  Meyer due to its  proximity to Fred Meyer.   It's a                                                               
known and  proven fact that response  time impacts survivability,                                                               
and therefore [UFSA] is a huge  blessing to public safety [in the                                                               
Fred Meyer  area].   Regarding the discussion  about care  from a                                                               
paramedic  versus  an  EMT3, Ms.  Stiver  highlighted  the  close                                                               
proximity  to the  hospital.   She then  explained that  although                                                               
both a  paramedic and  EMT3 are trained  in procedures,  the EMT3                                                               
must have  a physician  on the phone  to direct  their activities                                                               
whereas a paramedic doesn't.  Since  the hospital is in town, the                                                               
difference between  paramedic and  EMT3 is not  of concern  as it                                                               
might be  in a  rural area.   Ms. Stiver said  that she's  not in                                                               
favor of  taking the  [Fred Meyer] parcel  because it  will lower                                                               
response  time.   Currently, the  average response  time of  [the                                                               
city  fire department]  is four  minutes  and forty-one  seconds,                                                               
which  is at  the far  end of  [acceptable] response  time.   She                                                               
opined  that it  would be  a different  situation if  UFSA didn't                                                               
exist, but since  it does it's paramount to the  service the area                                                               
receives.  Furthermore, there are  multiple calls in the city and                                                               
thus there  is risk when  all the  city fire department  staff is                                                               
out  on calls.   Ms.  Stiver opined  that the  city has  received                                                               
quite  a bit  of mutual  aid, which  doesn't kick  in for  a fire                                                               
until the city is on the  scene.  However, for an ambulance call,                                                               
the city responds  if available or calls  for help if not.   In a                                                               
fire,  the  city  has  to  be on  scene  first  to  evaluate  the                                                               
situation  and then  call for  mutual aid,  which relates  to the                                                               
critical issue of  response time.  The city,  she charged, missed                                                               
the opportunity  to annex this  property when it didn't  have the                                                               
appropriate fire coverage.                                                                                                      
9:20:05 AM                                                                                                                    
EDITH  CURRY,   Chief,  University  Fire  Department,   told  the                                                               
committee that  the University Fire Department  did seek deferred                                                               
authority in [the  parcel to be annexed] some years  ago in order                                                               
to  provide  a  higher  level  of service  to  the  service  area                                                               
residents.  She acknowledged that  the University Fire Department                                                               
is  staffed by  students  and  have for  over  50  years.   These                                                               
students complete  the recruit academy and  are State Firefighter                                                               
1  and  nationally  certified.    The  students  go  up  to  EMT3                                                               
advanced, and  as mentioned earlier  at all times they  are under                                                               
the guidance  and supervision of  staff.   There is 11  staff who                                                               
are   assigned  to   each  station   with  the   University  Fire                                                               
Department.   In fact, staff  members usually ride along  for any                                                               
code  3, cardiac,  or serious  call.   These  staff have  20-plus                                                               
years experience  and can match  any paramedic.   She highlighted                                                               
that although  [the University Fire Department]  has never needed                                                               
paramedic level  service, a couple are  kept on staff.   The trip                                                               
to the  hospital is only  about five or  six minutes.   Ms. Curry                                                               
told the  committee that  there have  been a  couple of  fires at                                                               
Fred  Meyer  that  the University  Fire  Department  has  handled                                                               
because  it's a  large enough  fire department.   Therefore,  she                                                               
emphasized  that the  University Fire  Department does  well with                                                               
what  it has.   She  noted her  agreement with  earlier testimony                                                               
that  this shouldn't  be made  to be  an issue  between the  fire                                                               
9:21:59 AM                                                                                                                    
BILL ZORB  related his strong  support for HJR 39,  and therefore                                                               
opposition  to  this proposed  annexation.    Since most  of  the                                                               
reasons why  this proposed annexation  shouldn't occur  have been                                                               
addressed, he  said that he would  limit his comments to  the two                                                               
he felt  are most important.   First  and foremost is  the safety                                                               
issue, the University  Fire Service station is  located less than                                                               
a half  mile from  Fred Meyer  West, and has  a response  time of                                                               
less  than a  minute to  that location.   The  closest city  fire                                                               
station is  over three miles  away, and  thus will have  a longer                                                               
response  time.   As  stated earlier,  that  time difference  can                                                               
easily be the  difference between life and death  in some medical                                                               
emergencies.  As  a frequent shopper at Fred Meyer  West, he said                                                               
he would  rather have  an EMT3 from  the University  Fire Service                                                               
Department  that  can  arrive  in  one minute  as  opposed  to  a                                                               
paramedic  that may  not arrive  until  six to  seven minutes  or                                                               
more.   With  regard  to annexation  without representation,  Mr.                                                               
Zorb highlighted that this annexation  wasn't requested by any of                                                               
those who  would be impacted  by it.   He reminded  the committee                                                               
that Fred  Meyer, Taco  Bell, and other  major businesses  in the                                                               
parcel to  be annexed  wrote letters  opposing the  annexation to                                                               
the LBC.   Likewise, only one  of the owners of  the enclave lots                                                               
has expressed  an interest  in being annexed.   Although  the LBC                                                               
and legislative  processes don't  require involving those  in the                                                               
area to be annexed, it seems  to be common sense.  In conclusion,                                                               
Mr.  Zorb  related  his  strong  support for  HJR  39,  which  he                                                               
encouraged the committee to forward.                                                                                            
9:25:04 AM                                                                                                                    
HANK  BARTOS,  Member,  Fairbanks North  Star  Borough  Assembly,                                                               
related his support for HJR 39.   He opined that this is a safety                                                               
issue.   He,  too, highlighted  the closer  location and  quicker                                                               
response time  from the University  Fire Department for  the area                                                               
to be annexed.   Mr. Bartos said, "Time is  tissue.  Finances are                                                               
important, but  life should triumph  money."   Furthermore, there                                                               
has been  no showing  of need  for this  annexation.   Mr. Bartos                                                               
then said, "One municipality shouldn't  be allowed to financially                                                               
cannibalize another."  Although  this annexation would remove the                                                               
second largest  taxpayer from  the service  area and  the borough                                                               
would lose  close to $500,000  annually, the LBC  determined that                                                               
the   impact  to   the  borough's   taxpayers  was   di  minimus.                                                               
Furthermore,  Fred   Meyer  subdivision  owners  would   face  an                                                               
increase in  taxes in the  amount of  about $68,000.   Mr. Bartos                                                               
then contended that the annexation  didn't receive a fair hearing                                                               
as there was no cross  examination [of witnesses].  For instance,                                                               
the box stores in the area  that are within the city limits don't                                                               
receive any  road service or  maintenance.  Also, the  LBC member                                                               
from the Fourth Judicial District  wasn't allowed to participate,                                                               
even though  he had no financial  interest in the matter  and his                                                               
daughter,  the Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough attorney,  recused                                                               
herself  from participating  in the  matter.   Mr. Bartos  opined                                                               
that this LBC member should've been allowed to participate.                                                                     
9:27:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS recalled  earlier  testimony  that at  one                                                               
point  the  borough  supported  the  annexation  of  the  enclave                                                               
parcels, but opposed the Fred Meyer subdivision parcel.                                                                         
MR. BARTOS said  that he didn't know since he  wasn't part of the                                                               
assembly during  that time.   However, he recalled that  when the                                                               
LBC voted on this annexation, it was  a tie vote.  At that point,                                                               
the LBC split the question and each question passed.                                                                            
9:29:23 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  JOE  PASKVAN,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  related  his                                                               
support  of the  LBC's  determination on  the proposed  Fairbanks                                                               
annexation.    He  said  he  has  read  the  LBC's  Statement  of                                                               
Decision, which  includes over 30  pages of distinct  analysis in                                                               
which the LBC balances what  services can and cannot be provided.                                                               
The Letter  of Dissent, by  the one LBC  member, is limited  to a                                                               
very  narrow  issue.    Before  going  further,  Senator  Paskvan                                                               
clarified  that both  the enclave  lots and  Fred Meyer  lots are                                                               
located  in  his  district  not  in  Representative  T.  Wilson's                                                               
district.   He then returned to  the services offered.   When one                                                               
reviews the  basket of  services or  overall services,  which the                                                               
law  requires the  LBC to  review, the  city does  prevail on  an                                                               
overall balanced  approach.  He  further opined that for  the LBC                                                               
to come to  the conclusion, on a 4:0 vote,  that the enclave lots                                                               
were  appropriate for  annexation was  a rational  and reasonable                                                               
conclusion.   The  same can  be said  for the  LBC's decision  to                                                               
conclude, on a 3:1 vote, that  the Fred Meyer subdivision lot was                                                               
appropriate for  annexation.  He  then pointed out that  there is                                                               
no  borough  police department  to  call,  no borough  access  to                                                               
provide  any  services.    With   regard  to  earlier  statements                                                               
characterizing this  annexation as  a land grab,  Senator Paskvan                                                               
pointed out that the LBC followed the constitution.                                                                             
SENATOR PASKVAN then shared the  following statements from former                                                               
Senators Jack Coghill and Vic Fisher in 1985, as follows:                                                                       
     According to Senator Coghill, the  concept of the Local                                                                    
     Boundary  Commission resulted  from the  Constitutional                                                                    
     Convention's   attempt    to   resolve   jurisdictional                                                                    
     conflicts between  the different types  of governmental                                                                    
     entities that functioned under territorial law.                                                                            
     At times  annexation issues became  very controversial,                                                                    
     Senator Fisher  states that the commission  was seen as                                                                    
     a  mechanism that  circumvented local  turmoil, brought                                                                    
     the issues beyond vested  local interest and prejudice,                                                                    
     and  permitted  implementation   of  the  broad  public                                                                    
     interest.   If the  municipalities retain  control over                                                                    
     boundaries and  annexations, there would  be difficulty                                                                    
     in  altering  boundaries  once  local  interest  became                                                                    
     vested.   Article  X, Section  12 of  the Alaska  State                                                                    
     Constitution,  which  established  the  Local  Boundary                                                                    
     Commission,  was designed  to overcome  these types  of                                                                    
SENATOR  PASKVAN then  highlighted the  recommendations given  to                                                               
the   Alaska   Statehood   Commission   with   respect   to   the                                                               
implementation  of  the  LBC.   Those  recommendations  were,  as                                                               
     The Local Boundary Commission should  operate so far as                                                                    
     possible in the  manner of a quasi-judicial  body.  Its                                                                    
     determination   should   be   based  upon   a   careful                                                                    
     assembling   and  weighing   of  relevant   geographic,                                                                    
     demographic, fiscal, and governmental facts.                                                                               
SENATOR  PASKVAN  specified  that  his  point  is  that  the  LBC                                                               
complied with the state's constitution  and laws.  Therefore, one                                                               
should  tread  very  carefully  when  attempting  to  overcome  a                                                               
constitutional   process  that   was  well   thought  out.     He                                                               
highlighted that  even the  dissent says,  "The city  can provide                                                               
police  service and  building code  enforcement more  efficiently                                                               
and  more  effectively than  can  the  borough  or the  State  of                                                               
Alaska."   The  dissent  also goes  on to  say,  "The Fred  Meyer                                                               
subdivision  has   a  reasonable   need  for   city  government."                                                               
Therefore, Senator  Paskvan encouraged  the committee  to support                                                               
the LBC's decision.                                                                                                             
9:35:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if Senator  Paskvan was familiar with                                                               
the charge  by the deputy  attorney that no cross  examination of                                                               
witnesses was allowed.                                                                                                          
SENATOR  PASKVAN  said that  he  wasn't  aware of  that  specific                                                               
comment.  However,  he related his understanding that  a court of                                                               
law  would   be  the  appropriate  venue   to  determine  whether                                                               
substantively and procedurally the law was followed.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  surmised  then that  the  [administrative                                                               
hearing] process is addressing the aforementioned.                                                                              
SENATOR  PASKVAN  indicated his  agreement.    He added  that  he                                                               
wasn't  aware  of  anyone saying  that  either  substantively  or                                                               
procedurally there  was a defect  in the constitutional  or legal                                                               
process that was followed in this LBC determination.                                                                            
9:37:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON returned to the  discussion regarding the recusal                                                               
of the  borough attorney on  matters pertaining to  the Fairbanks                                                               
annexation.    He  asked  if   Mr.  Williams  was  aware  of  the                                                               
9:37:26 AM                                                                                                                    
BRENT  WILLIAMS,  Staff  Supervisor, Local  Boundary  Commission,                                                               
Division  of  Community  and   Regional  Affairs,  Department  of                                                               
Commerce, Community, & Economic  Development, said that he wasn't                                                               
aware of  such a recusal.   He noted  that the LBC's  contact was                                                               
with Ms. Klepaski, the assistant  borough attorney.  Mr. Williams                                                               
didn't  recall  receiving  any communication  that  there  was  a                                                               
recusal.   However, he did  recall receiving an e-mail  from Rene                                                               
Broker,   borough  attorney,   when  the   borough's  brief   was                                                               
9:38:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON said  that although it's a fine point,  it may be                                                               
important later for the process.                                                                                                
9:39:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  PRAX expressed  concern that  there  seems to  be too  much                                                               
emphasis  on  the  financial  needs  of  this  annexation  versus                                                               
response time of fire and ambulance  service.  He opined that the                                                               
public would be at greater risk  if the city responds rather than                                                               
the University Fire  Service Department.  He  further opined that                                                               
it's important  for the  legislature to vote  on this  matter one                                                               
way or another.  Therefore,  he expressed hope that the committee                                                               
forwards HJR 39 so that the  entire legislature can have a chance                                                               
to vote on this resolution.                                                                                                     
9:40:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MERRICK PIERCE  related his support for  HJR 39.  He  opined that                                                               
the  proposed annexation  establishes  a  terrible precedent  and                                                               
increases  the  costs  of local  government.    Furthermore,  the                                                               
proposed  annexation  is opposed  by  those  in  the area  to  be                                                               
annexed.   Moreover, the annexation  hurts and is opposed  by the                                                               
University  Fire Service  District.   The proposed  annexation is                                                               
also opposed  by the  Fairbanks North  Star Borough,  which would                                                               
lose substantial  revenue.  The  businesses involved in  the area                                                               
to be  annexed will also  be hurt  as they will  face substantial                                                               
property tax  increases.  Therefore,  many believe  this proposed                                                               
annexation is  a money  grab that  allows the  city to  take some                                                               
valuable commercial  property and collect  substantial additional                                                               
property and  alcohol taxes.   Mr. Pierce  related that  for many                                                               
years he  volunteered to provide  advanced cardiac  life support,                                                               
pre-hospital  medicine.   He,  too,  expressed  concern with  the                                                               
response  time of  the city  fire department  to the  area to  be                                                               
annexed.   He told  the committee  that a  patient in  cardiac or                                                               
respiratory  arrest  doesn't  have   five  minutes.    Therefore,                                                               
approving this annexation  may be the death penalty  for those in                                                               
the area  to be  annexed who need  critical cardiac  life support                                                               
care  in  the  future.   Furthermore,  every  time  a  responding                                                               
emergency vehicle uses flashing lights  and sirens to traverse an                                                               
intersection,  the  chances  of   a  collision  increases.    The                                                               
aforementioned is  particularly true  in Fairbanks where  much of                                                               
the  year  drivers face  icy  roads.    Mr. Pierce  reminded  the                                                               
committee that the LBC refused  to accept public testimony before                                                               
the 2009  comment period unless  those comments were  received by                                                               
U.S. mail,  which made  it more  difficult for  the public  to be                                                               
involved in  the process.   In conclusion,  Mr. Pierce  urged the                                                               
committee to forward HJR 39 from committee.                                                                                     
9:43:32 AM                                                                                                                    
FRANK TURNEY recalled a number of  years ago when he was involved                                                               
with  a  consolidation  to  do away  with  the  city  government.                                                               
Although  the   LBC  approved  the  aforementioned,   the  voters                                                               
rejected the  idea.   Those living  in the  enclave lots  and the                                                               
Fred  Meyer  subdivision  should  have  the  right  to  vote,  he                                                               
emphasized.   Regarding the  safety issue,  the response  time of                                                               
the city  to the  area to  be annexed  would seem  to be  a large                                                               
liability for  the city.   Mr. Turney  opined that  this proposed                                                               
annexation is about  a land grab and the fleecing  of the alcohol                                                               
tax  without  a vote.    Mr.  Turney  concluded by  relating  his                                                               
support for HJR  39 and encouraged this committee  to forward the                                                               
9:44:46 AM                                                                                                                    
GLEN  DESPAIN   began  by  relating  his   strong  opposition  to                                                               
mandatory annexation  to any government  organization.   He urged                                                               
the committee to pass HJR 39  in order to have a legislative vote                                                               
on the matter.                                                                                                                  
9:46:10 AM                                                                                                                    
HARRY  DAVIS  informed  the  committee  that  he  served  as  the                                                               
district attorney  for Fairbanks in the  Fourth Judicial District                                                               
for 27 years  and he presently owns the  Public Safety Commission                                                               
for the city.   Mr. Davis related his support  for annexation and                                                               
noted   that  the   Public   Safety   Commission  also   supports                                                               
annexation.   He  said  he  found it  ironic  that the  borough's                                                               
primary  opposition  to  annexation  is based  on  public  safety                                                               
issues when  the borough  isn't in a  position to  provide public                                                               
safety to  the area to be  annexed.  The borough  relies upon the                                                               
Alaska  State Troopers,  who are  understaffed and  overburdened.                                                               
The Alaska  State Troopers are meant  to be a rural  police force                                                               
and aren't  properly equipped  to address  crimes arising  in the                                                               
Fred Meyer  area.   Furthermore, the  borough can't  provide fire                                                               
protection  unless it's  subsidized by  the University  of Alaska                                                               
Fire Department.   He questioned why the  university is providing                                                               
fire protection to a portion  of the Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                               
when  it's not  doing so  for other  citizens of  the state.   He                                                               
further questioned the  authority of the University  of Alaska to                                                               
even provide  fire service in  Fairbanks because it's not  a home                                                               
rule city  but rather  is a corporate  entity.   Furthermore, the                                                               
university   hasn't   received   legislative   authorization   or                                                               
authorization from  the Board  of Regents.   Mr. Davis  said that                                                               
the state's clear interest in  this area is annexation, which the                                                               
state should encourage  so that the city can  expand its services                                                               
to this area.                                                                                                                   
9:48:17 AM                                                                                                                    
SHERRELYN  ARGEND  informed the  committee  that  she resides  on                                                               
Riverside Drive  and although there  has been testimony  that the                                                               
area receives city services, that's  not the case.  The residents                                                               
on  Riverside Drive  pay for  everything,  including garbage  and                                                               
road services.   As  borough residents, she  opined that  she and                                                               
[others in the area  to be annexed] should be able  to vote.  She                                                               
opined that this annexation will  increase residents' taxes.  She                                                               
informed  the  committee that  she  has  had two  petitions,  one                                                               
signed by the  enclave lots in which only one  family agreed that                                                               
the city  annexation is appropriate.   She related that  when she                                                               
attended  the  LBC meeting,  she  was  discouraged from  speaking                                                               
because she wasn't  expert testimony.  In  conclusion, Ms. Argend                                                               
asked for the committee's help.                                                                                                 
9:49:32 AM                                                                                                                    
JERRY  CLEWORTH,   Member,  Fairbanks   City  Council,   City  of                                                               
Fairbanks, noted  that he has  sat on the Fairbanks  City Council                                                               
for 20  years off and on.   Over the years,  the annexations that                                                               
have occurred have  been done by mutual consent  of both parties,                                                               
which is government  at its very best.  One  of the provisions in                                                               
the originating resolution that started  the ball rolling for the                                                               
city on  this annexation reads:   "WHEREAS in recognition  of the                                                               
potentially  negative effect  that annexation  would have  on the                                                               
funding of the  University Fire Service Area,  annexation must be                                                               
conditioned upon reaching  a suitable intergovernmental agreement                                                               
with  the  Fairbanks  North Star  Borough,  which  addresses  the                                                               
effects of  UFSA."  However, that  point was never reached.   The                                                               
commissioners [of  the UFSA] didn't  believe the  annexation made                                                               
sense  because it  created  an enclave  in  the existing  service                                                               
area, which the  city doesn't desire in another  parcel that it's                                                               
annexing.  Furthermore,  the city was working on  an agreement to                                                               
hire  the  University  Fire Department  to  continue,  after  the                                                               
annexation, to  provide service  at the Fred  Meyer parcel.   The                                                               
University Fire  Department didn't  agree to  the aforementioned,                                                               
and therefore the  city had to rewrite the  petition and disprove                                                               
what  had  already  been  proven.   The  city  then  rewrote  the                                                               
petition  to  say  that  it  could  do  a  better  job  than  the                                                               
university.   The city  provides three  basic services,  of which                                                               
the primary service is public works.   The city can't provide any                                                               
public works to  the Fred Meyer subdivision.   The roads adjacent                                                               
to the subdivision  are maintained by the state and  there are no                                                               
internal roads.   With regard  to earlier questions why  the city                                                               
didn't  pursue  obtaining  the residential  area  south  of  Fred                                                               
Meyer, he opined that the residents  in that area aren't in favor                                                               
of  the annexation  and they  would be  entitled to  a vote.   He                                                               
characterized the  proposed annexation  as a "surgical  strike by                                                               
picking  out the  plum."   On the  matter of  fire and  ambulance                                                               
service, the LBC's preliminary  findings state, "Commerce refuted                                                               
many  of the  city's positions,  particularly the  assertion that                                                               
the  Fairbanks  Fire Department  could  provide  better fire  and                                                               
rescue squad  service than  could UFSA."   Furthermore,  a letter                                                               
received from  Mt. McKinley Bank during  public testimony related                                                               
its opposition to the Fred  Meyer subdivision annexation and that                                                               
it  would  result  in  a  reduction of  the  level  of  fire  and                                                               
emergency medical  services the area currently  receives from the                                                               
University  Fire  Department.    The  testimony  noted  that  Mt.                                                               
McKinley Bank  hasn't received any  additional city  services and                                                               
the  area receives  adequate police  protection  from the  Alaska                                                               
State Troopers, which  is located much closer to  the branch than                                                               
the   city  police   station.     In  conclusion,   Mr.  Cleworth                                                               
characterized this annexation as about money not service.                                                                       
9:52:52 AM                                                                                                                    
GLENN SHAW  related his  strong support  for HJR  39.   He opined                                                               
that the  city has  committed a form  of gerrymandering  in which                                                               
two dissimilar properties  have been attached.   The intent, with                                                               
this annexation,  is to catch a  revenue stream.  He  opined that                                                               
the proposed annexation should go to a vote of the people.                                                                      
9:53:38 AM                                                                                                                    
ASA DOWDY related  his belief that the  proposed annexation would                                                               
tax the citizens  of the borough.  He predicted  that as a result                                                               
of the annexation  sales taxes will be added on.   Therefore, Mr.                                                               
Dowdy supported HJR 39 and bringing the matter to a vote.                                                                       
9:54:07 AM                                                                                                                    
LADD MCBRIDE  related his  support for HJR  39 and  opposition to                                                               
the proposed annexation.                                                                                                        
9:54:29 AM                                                                                                                    
PATRICK COLE,  Chief of  Staff, City  of Fairbanks,  informed the                                                               
committee that  he has  been in government  since about  1972 and                                                               
has  worked for  the borough  and the  city.   In fact,  Mr. Cole                                                               
wrote the petition after a lot  of research and review of the law                                                               
and precedent.  He noted that  he has learned that the annexation                                                               
of  property may,  in the  short term,  cause local  controversy.                                                               
However, it may result in  long-term acceptances.  He pointed out                                                               
that the Fairbanks  North Star Borough was formed  without a vote                                                               
of  the  legislature.    Furthermore,  the  borough  has  annexed                                                               
territories  to  its fire  service  areas  without  a vote.    He                                                               
informed the committee that since  the incorporation of Fairbanks                                                               
in 1903,  it has  annexed territories  60 times.   Many  of those                                                               
annexations  were opposed,  but not  one has  ever been  detached                                                               
from the city.   In fact, Mr.  Cole said that he  couldn't find a                                                               
case in the state  in which a city had a  detached territory.  He                                                               
opined  that annexation  is a  forward effort  to address  future                                                               
growth.   He then told the  committee that the City  of Fairbanks                                                               
has a  very low  tax burden  per capita.   Any  time a  city does                                                               
annex territory  inside a  borough, there is  some impact  on the                                                               
borough.   However,  in this  case, the  borough's vast  size and                                                               
budget results in  a small, nearly invisible  impact.  Therefore,                                                               
the LBC  properly found the  effect to be  di minimus.   Mr. Cole                                                               
emphasized  that  the city  would've  never  proceeded with  this                                                               
annexation had its  physician said it wasn't doable.   No medical                                                               
physician   has   spoken   against  this   proposed   annexation.                                                               
Furthermore,  this  effort  is  supported  by  the  city  council                                                               
majority, police and fire chiefs,  and the employees that work in                                                               
public safety.   Mr.  Cole noted  that the city  did try  to work                                                               
with the  borough, but no  [consensus] could be reached  and thus                                                               
the city proceeded with the conventional manner.                                                                                
9:56:40 AM                                                                                                                    
LAREN ZAGER,  Chief of Police, Fairbanks  Police Department, City                                                               
of Fairbanks,  informed the committee  that although he  has only                                                               
been with  the Fairbanks  Police Department  for nine  months, he                                                               
has spent  six of  his twenty-five  year career  analyzing public                                                               
safety,  both domestically  and internationally.   He  then noted                                                               
his  agreement with  Senator  Paskvan that  the  entire issue  of                                                               
public   safety  is   important  and   the  police   department's                                                               
contribution  can include  several components.   He  reminded the                                                               
committee that  police officers are  first responders  to medical                                                               
issues.   Although police officers  aren't as trained  as medical                                                               
staff,  they do  have some  equipment, training,  experience, and                                                               
dispatch that  provides protocol for  many of the issues  it will                                                               
face.   At the end of  the day, the Fairbanks  Police Department,                                                               
he opined,  can respond  more quickly and  reliably to  the areas                                                               
proposed for annexation because they  are "already there."  Other                                                               
than heart  attacks, Mr. Zager questioned  consideration given to                                                               
situations such  as a bank robbery,  hostage situation, dangerous                                                               
drunk   drivers,  and   fights   in  progress.      All  of   the                                                               
aforementioned  are infinitely  more likely  and equally  as life                                                               
threatening when  compared to  a heart attack.   In  that regard,                                                               
city  law enforcement  is superior  to anything  the borough  can                                                               
9:59:09 AM                                                                                                                    
BEN  STEWART informed  the committee  that he  lives behind  Fred                                                               
Meyer West  subdivision and was one  of the lucky few  to testify                                                               
to the LBC, which  he likened to talking to a  wall.  Mr. Stewart                                                               
said  that although  he  thinks highly  of  Senator Paskvan,  the                                                               
people  in  the  area  to  be annexed  deserve  a  vote  in  this                                                               
situation.  Furthermore, he related  that he has seen more Alaska                                                               
State  Troopers,  university  fire  and  police  department,  and                                                               
airport  police  officers  than   responders  from  the  City  of                                                               
Fairbanks.   He told the  committee that currently [the  city has                                                               
applied for]  grants to  hire new  officers and  firefighters for                                                               
the city.  However, grants only  last for so long until residents                                                               
face increased  taxes to  cover the new  positions.   Mr. Stewart                                                               
characterized the  proposed annexation as  a "smash and  grab" by                                                               
the City of Fairbanks.  The  city doesn't provide any services to                                                               
Fred Meyer West  and nothing can be gained other  than taking tax                                                               
money  from  the borough  residents.    He highlighted  that  the                                                               
University  Fire station  is less  than 200  yards from  the Fred                                                               
Meyer west  subdivision whereas it's  7.3 miles to the  city fire                                                               
department.   In conclusion, Mr.  Stewart opined that  all public                                                               
service responders  work together when something  bad happens and                                                               
thus the city receives tax money without providing the services.                                                                
10:03:21 AM                                                                                                                   
ERNIE MISEWICZ, Assistant Fire  Chief, Fairbanks Fire Department,                                                               
City of Fairbanks,  informed the committee that he  has worked in                                                               
fire  service for  over  37 years  and has  worked  in both  fire                                                               
operations  and  prevention.    When  discussing  public  safety,                                                               
there's  more  to  consider  than  just  response  times.    When                                                               
reviewing the  entire fire protection concept,  one must consider                                                               
the  following  key points:    plan  reviews, which  ensure  that                                                               
buildings are  constructed properly  and meet code;  building and                                                               
fire inspections, which  is currently lacking in the  areas to be                                                               
annexed.   Inspection ensures that buildings  are constructed per                                                               
the  plan and  inspections continue  throughout the  life of  the                                                               
building  to  lessen  the  chances  of fire.    He  informed  the                                                               
committee  that  Fred  Meyer  West   had  no  inspections  during                                                               
construction and was  last inspected in 2002, Taco  Bell in 2003,                                                               
and the  bank has never been  inspected.  In contrast,  when Fred                                                               
Meyer  East   was  constructed  in   2004,  the   Fairbanks  Fire                                                               
Department conducted  17 inspections,  which doesn't  account for                                                               
the  inspections  performed  by  the  city  building  department.                                                               
Inspections  are  key  to  preventing  fires.    With  regard  to                                                               
emergency response,  Mr. Misewicz stated that  the Fairbanks Fire                                                               
Department response  time is well  within the  national standards                                                               
and  the vehicles  are  equipped with  systems  that capture  the                                                               
traffic  lights  to  allow  for  a  faster  response.    He  then                                                               
highlighted that the staff at  the Fairbanks Fire Department has,                                                               
on average,  17 years of experience,  10 years of which  has been                                                               
with  the  Fairbanks Fire  Department.    The department  has  17                                                               
paramedics with  an average of  8 years experience,  10 employees                                                               
are  university instructors.    Experience,  he opined,  improves                                                               
situational awareness  and thus responder safety,  while the lack                                                               
of experience significantly increases  risk to responders and the                                                               
public.  Currently,  there is no fire protection  for the enclave                                                               
lots and at  least two buildings in that area  have burned to the                                                               
ground.  He then turned to the  issue of mutual aid, which is aid                                                               
given  or  received  by emergency  service  organizations.    All                                                               
departments must rely on mutual  aid because no one department in                                                               
the state  or nation can  handle all  emergency calls.   In fact,                                                               
when one reviews the percentage of  calls for mutual aid over the                                                               
last  five  years  by  the  Fairbanks  Fire  Department  it's  no                                                               
different  than those  by  the University  Fire  Department.   In                                                               
summary, Mr. Misewicz said the  Fairbanks Fire Department and the                                                               
City of  Fairbanks has  the ability to  provide the  best service                                                               
for the areas to be annexed.                                                                                                    
10:05:53 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON clarified that  she has tried  to avoid                                                               
making  this an  issue between  the fire  departments and  police                                                               
departments.  However,  she pointed out that  the University Fire                                                               
Department has a  better ISO rating than the  city.  Furthermore,                                                               
the  University Fire  Department is  closer  [to the  area to  be                                                               
annexed].   This is about public  safety and if care  isn't taken                                                               
with this annexation, somebody is going  to die, she opined.  She                                                               
then clarified that  the Fairbanks North Star  Borough has always                                                               
opposed  annexation because  early on  it was  stated that  there                                                               
would be  a deal with  the University  Fire Service Area  and the                                                               
City of Fairbanks.   This $52,000 deal could've  resulted in [the                                                               
area  to  be  annexed]  receiving  EMS and  fire  service.    She                                                               
acknowledged that  Fred Meyer and  the enclave lots don't  sit in                                                               
her  district, but  her  constituents shop  there  and travel  on                                                               
state roads  to get there.   The  annexation won't result  in any                                                               
benefits to  the commercial  area and  the fire  department isn't                                                               
making  the  safety checks  it  says  it  is,  he charged.    She                                                               
concluded  by emphasizing  that this  resolution is  about public                                                               
safety and the legislature is the  last hope for the residents of                                                               
Fairbanks who didn't receive a vote.                                                                                            
10:07:23 AM                                                                                                                   
[HJR 39 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR39_Sponsor_Statement.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 - Fairbanks Annexation Summary.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 - Reso 4399.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 Fairbanks Annexation Information from City.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 Fairbanks Annexation FINAL Report 08-01.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 - FNSB Doc. Mayor Hopkins.opposes Annexation.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJJR 39 - FNSB Doc. UFSA and Fred Meyer Subdivision Exhibit to CRA.docx HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 - FNSB Doc.City boundaries.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 - FNSB Doc.Distance to FMS.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 - FNSB. Doc Lost Revenues.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR39_Packet_From_Sponsor.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR 39 - Testimony_Opposing_Annexation_Correspondence1.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR39-LEG-COU-2-19-10 Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39
HJR46-LEG-COU-2-19-10 Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 46
HJR 46 Sponsor Statement-FINAL.docx HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 46
History of LBC Recommendations to the Legislature 1960 - 2010.doc HCRA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HJR 39