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Senator Sean Parnell Portrait of Senate Finance Co-Chair, Senator John Torgerson

Senator Sean Parnell
State Capitol, Room 518
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2995
Fax: (907) 465-6592
Send E-Mail

Senator John Torgerson
State Capitol, Room 516
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2828
Fax: (907) 465-4779
Send E-Mail

Senate Finance Bill Restructures Municipal Assistance Funding Program
Minimizes Impact and Funds Basic Services

For Immediate Release: April 15, 1999
Contact: Senator John Torgerson at (907) 465-2828 or
Senator Sean Parnell at (907) 465-2995

Juneau -- Recognizing the benefits the state municipal assistance and revenue sharing program provides to Alaska's communities, the Senate Finance Committee introduced legislation Thursday that restructures the current program to focus on funding basic services including roads and emergency medical services.

Senator John Torgerson (R-Kasilof), Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said this legislation reflects the Senate Majority's commitment to reduce state funding by making structural, cost saving changes to government. It also protects important transportation and safety services in local communities.

"Any time we reduce state spending, the cuts are felt by someone," said Senator Torgerson. "Our goal with this legislation was to minimize the impact of reductions to local communities. The intent is to direct between $18-22 million toward the most essential services funded under the previous municipal assistance and revenue sharing program."

Senate Bill 154 repeals the existing revenue sharing programs and establishes a new program that sets a minimum payment of $35,000 for all municipalities.

SB 154 provides payments for the following essential services:

  • ROADS: Municipalities that maintain gravel or paved roads will receive $1,200 per mile. Local road maintenance is a problem for both the local government official and the state elected official. Many local roads are driven by Alaskans from other areas, not just local residents. Complaints about potholes that swallow a whole truck are directed to state elected officials - not just members of the city council. Drivers facing winter's icy road conditions are not interested in which government entity provides maintenance - they just want it to be maintained for their safety. Local road maintenance is an issue for all of Alaska.
  • FIRE: Municipalities or communities that have a registered fire department will receive $5.00 per capita of the area served. Fire departments in Alaska provide services which range from urban, special-purpose activities like dismantling explosive devices, to more standardized services of responding to residential dwelling fires. Despite the range of services, they all provide a basic service to the residents of Alaska - safety. Across Alaska, people depend upon the men and women of these departments, many of whom are volunteers, to protect their family and their property from fire.
  • EMS: Municipalities or communities that have an organization certified to provide emergency medical services will receive $5.00 per capita of the area served. Emergency medical service organizations provide a critical human service to all Alaskans. They are the first responders to accidents in the home or to a vehicle collision on a state highway. These Alaskans, in many case volunteers, provide this service out of compassion for their fellow human beings and commitment to their communities. A basic service is provided to Alaskans, who depend on them for their very lives.

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Broadcasters note: Audio comments are available on the Majority Actuality line, 1-800-478-6540
= John Torgerson, 29 K

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