February 14, 2020
The Big Issues
EXTENSION OF WATER AND SEWER MAINS
- If a municipally-owned utility is extending sewer or water service to a new development, the developer typically pays the cost of the extension. HB 1131 requires municipally-owned utilities to comply with the IURC’s rules on water and sewer main extensions, so that if the utility is requiring larger mains in preparation for future growth than are necessary for the project at hand, then the utility must pay the difference in cost to install the larger main.
- Aim opposes this bill because the standards in set by statute in the bill largely removes the flexibility that non-regulated utilities have to craft their agreements with developers.
- HB 1131, authored by Representative Jim Pressel, will be heard in the Senate Utilities Committee next Thursday.
- SB 190 would exempt roads, streets, and bridges from the definition of a controlled project so that a road project would never trigger a referendum or the petition/remonstrance process.
- Aim supports this bill because we do not believe it was ever the intention of the controlled projects statute to include road projects, and we have seen instances of communities throughout the state coming up against these requirements as they grow and develop.
- SB 190, authored by Senator Travis Holdman, was heard in the House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday and was held for future amendment and vote.
- SB 23 would remove the ability of municipalities to initiate annexations. Only voluntary and super-voluntary annexations would be allowed were SB 23 to pass into law.
- Annexation is a valuable tool for growing communities. Removing the ability of municipalities to initiate an annexation would disrupt long term planning and the ability of cities and towns to grow. In light of the significant reform of the annexation statute in 2015, Aim opposes SB 23’s attempt to further limit our ability to grow and develop through annexation.
- SB 23, authored by Senator Phil Boots, was assigned to the House Local Government Committee. The Chairman has indicated to us that he does not intend to hear it in his committee, so we are hopeful the issue is dead for this session.
MUNICIPALLY OWNED UTILITIES
- HB 1165 would prohibit municipal utilities from ever holding property owners liable for the unpaid water, gas or electric utility bills of their tenants unless the property owner specifically requests to hold the utility bill in his/her name.
- Aim opposes this bill because it hamstrings the ability of municipal utilities to recover unpaid bills and undermines existing practice in many of the utilities around the state.
- HB 1165, authored by Representative Woody Burton, passed the House 64-31 and has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Utilities Committee on Thursday. If your legislator is on the Senate Utilities Committee, please contact them and ask them to oppose this harmful bill.
- HB 1147 would allow a city or a town with a population less than 3,500 to adopt an ordinance moving the municipal elections to an even-numbered year.
- Aim, on the recommendation of our Legislative Committee, opposes this bill because local issues should not be bundled up with national, partisan political issues during a midterm or presidential election cycle.
- HB 1147, authored by Representative Alan Morrison, will be heard in the Senate Elections committee on Monday.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“[House Bill] 1165 impacts municipal utilities and the ability of those utilities to hold a property owner accountable for a tenant’s unpaid water, gas, or electric bills. It did pass the House and is being heard Thursday in the Senate Utilities Committee. Communities that have a municipal owned utility and their policy structure in some way requires property owners to be held accountable, you’re directly impacted by this bill. We would encourage you to reach out to your Senator, particularly if your Senator is a member of the Senate Utilities Committee.”
– Lindsey Moss, Aim Chief Government Affairs Officer & Legislative Counsel
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