22nd Alaska State Legislature
Sponsor Statement for CSSSHB 16
An Act relating to villages; and providing for an effective date.
House Bill 16 allows an existing Second Class City, or unincorporated area, to form a "Home Rule Community" government structure under state law. The city or area would be allowed, through the charter system, to flexibly define its scope of governing powers and services to meet specific area needs.
For instance, a community charter may be drafted to provide for police or fire protection services while leaving transportation issues in the state purview. Under the provision of their charter, a local government may assume any of a wide range of powers, from alcohol and animal control to airport and public works management.
Currently, all home rule governments are required to meet strict financial auditing requirements, provide land-use, zoning and platting services and constitute their own school district. House Bill 16 removes these requirements* allowing smaller communities to share in the strength and flexibility of the charter system while avoiding some the thickest mazes of red tape. The goal: greater self-determination and a more locally relevant government structure.
A new charter-base Home Rule Community may be the best option for unincorporated areas that would not be viable under the second class city model. Existing second class cities that are strained by general law requirements may find relief in a more narrowly crafted charter that allows them to forego services beyond their capability, while accepting responsibility for local needs that can be met with local resources.
CSSSHB 16 requires a conforming bill to be passed before becoming law. The conforming bill directs Legislative Legal Services to prepare a technical clean-up bill that adjusts language referring to municipalities outside of this act to treat Home Rule Communities like Second Class Cities. This conforming bill is set up to be the "trigger" to enact HB 16.
Please feel free to contact my office with questions or concerns.
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* Financial statements are required in lieu of a full audit. Land use, zoning and platting may be done, but are not required. A home rule community would not constitute a school district.