The Big Issues
- When IACT became Aim one of our goals was to take a longer-term view and pursue aggressive legislative changes that would foster innovation and incentivize greater collaboration among municipalities.
- Earlier this week a major milestone was reached. Our Investment Hubs proposal was amended into HB 565 by Rep. Todd Huston, the House sponsor of the bill and the Co-Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee.
- Investment Hubs are formed by neighboring cities, towns and counties who create a regional governance body and commit to implementing a local income tax or food and beverage tax for the purpose of funding capital projects within the Hub. Each member city, town or county must contribute half of the revenue raised to the regional pot to fund transformational capital projects. Members will keep the other half in their general funds for any authorized governmental purpose. Read this one-pager for more information on Investment Hubs.
PROPERTY UTILITY BILLING
- HB 1347, a Rep. Woody Burton bill being carried in the Senate by Sen. Jack Sandlin, will make it more difficult for municipal utilities to pursue unpaid utility bills from rental property owners.
- The bill, as it left the House, required a municipality to provide notice to other lien holders when a sewer bill is 60 days delinquent. It stated that if municipalities did not provide such notice within 20 days units could not place a lien on the rental property. Aim objected that the process was unworkable due to the cost and time it takes to complete a full title search. Our efforts to remove the lien notification language on the bill’s second reading in the Senate were successful.
- Aim also proposed amendment language that provided complete clarity that municipalities could keep rental property owners responsible for their utility bills. However, that language was not adopted. When asked if this bill allows a municipal utility to include the property owner and tenant on a utility contract, Senator Sandlin said “yes”.
- Rep. Ed Clere authored HB 1625, which places extremely onerous requirements on cities and towns regarding the preparation of various fiscal analyses and housing fee reports.
- The bill requires that a community prepare a fiscal analysis if a unit’s proposed ordinance or regulation may directly or indirectly increase or decrease the cost of housing in the municipality. Further, it requires every municipality to annually prepare a housing fee report to be posted on the municipality’s web site and provides that a municipality may not impose any housing related fee that is not: (1) included in the fee report; or (2) posted on the municipality’s web site.
- Sen. Mark Messmer, the Senate sponsor of HB 1625 worked with stakeholders to reach a compromise. When it became clear that a compromise wasn’t likely, Senator Messmer told us and other stakeholders that the bill would not continue to move. While the language from HB 1625 can emerge during the conference committee process, it is clear significant amendments would be necessary to garner enough support.
- SB 535 regarding extraterritorial jurisdiction, cleared the Senate in the first half of the legislative session.
- The bill initially eliminated nearly all municipal rights to regulate or exercise authority within the 2 mile fringe area around a city or town’s corporate boundary. Under the current version of the bill, municipalities exercising their 2-mile ETJ before July 1, 2019 may continue to do so unless the county takes action to terminate and assume that exercise of jurisdiction. Municipalities in counties without zoning, however, do not need any commissioner approvals to exercise fringe jurisdiction, so long as they are providing services in the fringe area. Any municipality that wants to exercise ETJ in the fringe for the first time must receive approval from the county commissioners (this already applies to municipalities in counties with more than 95,000 pop – this bill makes that requirement standard across the board).
- Municipal extraterritorial eminent domain authority (without express statutory authorization) is prohibited. Under current law, municipalities may adopt an ordinance to regulate conduct or property use that endangers public health, safety, and welfare up to 4 miles outside of its corporate boundaries. Such ordinances adopted prior to January 1, 2019 are grandfathered but that authorizing statute is repealed in SB 535.
- The bill is authored by Sen. Phil Boots and is sponsored in the House by Rep. Steve Davisson and Rep. Doug Gutwein. The bill passed committee this week and is currently pending on 2nd reading in the House.
- Aim’s government efficiency bill, authored by Rep. Mike Karickhoff of Kokomo, cleared the House unanimously. Sen. John Ruckelshaus worked hard to address any concerns and shepherd the bill through Sen. Jim Buck’s Senate Local Government Committee. The bill passed out of committee 8-0.
- HB 1116 is Aim’s annual legislative effort to find efficiencies and eliminate red tape. The bill was amended in the House to clarify that in addition to the purchase of property, selling and leasing property can also be discussed in executive session of the council. In addition to the language regarding executive sessions, there are provisions to remove partisan affiliation requirements on local boards and commissions, eliminate residency requirements for city attorneys in certain circumstances, allow locals to use electronic bidding processes, allow more flexibility in determining note repayment dates, and allow fiscal officers to appropriate funds received for damaged property.
- Aim proposed an amendment in the Senate Local Government Committee to eliminate corporation counsel residency requirements only in cities and towns with a population of 25,000 or less, however, the amendment was not accepted. We will continue to advocate for this provision as the bill moves to second reading in the Senate.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“Our Investment Hubs language, minus the sales tax component was amended into Senate Bill 565. Score one for the good guys… We’re excited that the conversation is going to move on and continue. As you recall, this is the language that deals with regional investments in quality of place and transformational quality of place type projects where regions can work together to make significant investments like never before.”
– Aim CEO Matt Greller
Our Legislative Summary Sponsors
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