State Revenue Sharing, Education, Local Involvement Top Priorities for AML

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

State revenue sharing, education and local involvement in regulatory and development decisions are among the Alaska Municipal League’s top priorities for 2011.

The AML Board of Directors held its annual meeting Friday in Juneau as part of the group’s Local Government Conference.

President Hal Smalley says AML will ask the legislature for a one-time increase in revenue sharing. The program divvies up state oil tax money for communities. But for the last couple years funding has been flat.

Smalley is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. He says many municipalities rely on revenue sharing to balance their budgets.

The board also passed nearly 20 resolutions taking positions on state and federal issues, mostly aligned with AML’s priorities. One resolution called for changes to the Alaska Coastal Management Program. Former Governor Frank Murkowski did away with the program’s Coastal Policy Board, which gave citizens a voice in development decisions on Alaska’s coastline. North Slope Borough Assemblywoman Adeline Hopson says that hurt local communities.

AML wants the legislature to re-establish the board. Two bills introduced last session would’ve done that, but failed to get much traction. The Parnell administration is content to go without the board as well.

The municipal league represents more than 140 Alaska communities, covering about 97 percent of state residents.

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