Promote strong communities and healthy economies.
- Local Government Assistance - Training and technical assistance to develop and maintain local capacities for administering essential government services
- Rural Utility Business Advisor (RUBA) - Increase the managerial and financial capacities of rural water and wastewater utilities
- Land Management Assistance - Assist and train communities on regional and local basis to address and resolve land and planning issues
- Financial Assistance - Administer multiple grant and funding distribution programs
- Information Resources - Collect, analyze and publish local government and economic development information
- Local Boundary Commission staff - Prepare and distribute information and reports on incorporation, dissolution, annexation, or consolidation
- State Assessor - Technical assistance to municipal assessors on property value assessments to promote equity in the distribution of education funding and other shared revenue programs
- Serve Alaska - Provide National Service and volunteerism opportunities within Alaska
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|A: Result - Local governments provide essential services and operate in a sustainable manner.|
Target #2: Reduce the number of communities (public entities) that are noncompliant with management sustainability indicators by five percent each year.
Analysis of results and challenges: Public services are critical to the health and long-term viability of communities. A local government’s ability to provide adequate and sustainable public services can be accurately predicted by examining essential management indicators. DCRA gathers public entity data used by staff to conduct service assessments necessary to understand the existing level of governance and to provide any assistance necessary to them. In FY2009, the division began measuring compliance of a set number of entities using a standardized set of indicators. These indicators and compliance standards are:
1. Workers’ Compensation policy – If an entity has an active policy or not.
2. Municipal elections – If the required election was properly held and certified.
3. Financial Audits – If the required state or federal financial audits have been completed and filed.
4. Liens - If liens or judgments are filed against the entity.
5. PERS Debt - If an entity is current on their PERS payments.
6. Fuel Loans - If an entity borrowed loans for purchase of fuel and is current on its payment; and
7. Financial Documents (budgets, audits/certified financial statements) – if an entity has completed and filed these documents.
The number of non-compliant entities has increased in FY2018. Reduced resources to work with communities, accuracy of data, timeliness of information reported by agencies, community resources, and commitment to issue resolution continue to be challenges. Most indicators will require the entity to make a change in procedures, policies, and or staffing to rectify issues.
Target #3: 100 percent of municipal governments provide essential public services (i.e. elections, legal, health, financial/contracting, fuel).
Analysis of results and challenges: DCRA attempts to identify and help all local governments requiring assistance to meet the minimum criteria for becoming a city, e.g. holding required public meetings and elections, providing adequate financial disclosure of public finances, and codifying municipal ordinances. Some municipalities struggle with providing these basic public services and lack the administrative capacity to manage the finances of the city. However, with DCRA’s assistance, most cities ultimately meet these minimum criteria. Despite the assistance available through DCRA, some municipalities are unable to meet the basic requirements to sustain a city.
The challenge is a lack of standards by which to verify the accuracy of submitted reports and financial disclosure of public finances. No requirements exist for municipalities to report inadequate or poor delivery of public services. Municipalities are only obligated to submit reports required under AS 29.20.640 and to certify that they have met the minimum statutory requirements of a municipality as a prerequisite to receiving Community Assistance Program (CAP, formerly Community Revenue Sharing) funding. Information for this performance measure is collected as part of the Community Revenue Sharing application process, and is spot checked by Local Government Specialist staff during routine interactions with their assigned communities.
|A1: Core Service - Local Government Assistance - Training and technical assistance to develop and maintain local capacities for administering essential government services|
Target #1: The number of interventions required by staff to prevent disruptions of essential public services is reduced each year.
Analysis of results and challenges: Continuous monitoring and proactive interactions with Alaskan communities provides DCRA staff with an opportunity to intercede and avert a possible community crisis before it happens. There were 118 interventions in FY2018, including providing fuel loans to communities ineligible for bank loans and coordination of fuel deliveries to avoid critical shortages; assistance with delinquent Power Cost Equalization (PCE) reports to facilitate payments before they expire; assistance meeting minimum requirements to receive Community Assistance Program payments; assistance with QuickBooks accounting issues, resolving IRS matters; and assistance with utility management to avoid loss of essential public sanitation services.
|A2: Core Service - Rural Utility Business Advisor (RUBA) - Increase the managerial and financial capacities of rural water and wastewater utilities|
Target #1: Increase the number of users trained on the Utility Management training courses.
Analysis of results and challenges: Eight 32-hour utility management courses were developed to build local capacity for operations and maintenance of local infrastructure. These courses are approved by the University of Alaska for credit and often are presented in conjunction with regional health corporations and other regional entities. In FY2017, Rural Utility Business Advisor (RUBA) staff presented nine classes in four different regional hubs and trained 153 utility management managers and staff. Challenges to providing more training include difficulty in scheduling more classes when sufficient numbers of participants can attend and reduced available funding for training venues and participant travel.
|A3: Core Service - Land Management Assistance - Assist and train communities on regional and local basis to address and resolve land and planning issues|
Target #1: Provide appropriate site control for all identified uses of Municipal Lands Trust land.
Analysis of results and challenges: The Municipal Lands Trustee (MLT) Program was created in 1975 to carry out Section 14(c)(3) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which requires every village corporation to reconvey title to "the remaining improved land on which the Native village is located, and as much additional land as is necessary for community expansion, and appropriate rights-of-way for public use, and land for other foreseeable community needs." These lands are transferred to the appropriate municipal corporation (a first or second class city) where one exists, or otherwise to the "State in trust for any municipal corporation established in the Native village in the future."
Land settlements have been completed for 38 of the 93 communities served by the program, with approximately 11,500 acres currently held in trust by the state. Lands held in trust are used for airports, landfills, schools, other community development, and future community expansion.
Frequently, a site visit results in identifying land uses in need of site control. Much work remains to be updated or completed. Staff have completed 18 site visits since FY2014 resulting in an increase of identified land uses not yet under site control.
Target #2: Negotiate one ANCSA 14(c) final settlement agreement each year.
Analysis of results and challenges: DCRA provides community mapping and land management assistance to municipalities, unincorporated communities, and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) village corporations so that they may carry out the process of identifying and conveying ANCSA 14(c) land to qualified applicants. The settlement of the ANCSA 14 (c) land claim is an essential step in clearing land title in the community and providing a base of land for private and public development.
Of 115 communities with potential ANCSA 14(c)(3) lands, 70 communities have completed their 14(c) negotiations, or roughly 60 percent of municipalities with ANCSA entitlements. For those 60 percent completed with agreements and surveys, more land management responsibility is expected of rural municipalities but a scarcity of assistance has been persistently lacking. Over the past year, at least five communities who considered their process complete either lacked a filed map of boundaries with BLM or lacked the final deeds needed to transfer property from the corporation to the cities.
Although two ANCSA agreements were signed in FY2018, (Shageluk and Upper Kalskag) settlements were not complete, as the communities are still working on maps of boundaries. In 2018, research was conducted on the status of the ANCSA 14(c)(3) process for 11 communities, in response to requests from 4 organizations, ANCSA assistance was provided to 10 communities directly and to 5 communities as part of a BLM ANCSA workshop in March 2018. Staff presented and provided technical assistance at the two-day ANCSA workshop held in Anchorage. Lack of travel funds and city staff turnover impacts the ability to gain momentum on the ANCSA process.
Land management assistance was provided to 21 communities to resolve issues related to access management, enforcing reversion of property interest, residential and commercial lot disposals, review and updates of real property code ordinances, inventory and audits of city-owned title and existing buildings and land uses, residential encroachments on city land or rights of way, residential trespass, developing land management policies in newly annexed areas, and site control requests before release of grant funds related to a Chignik trail upgrade, Huslia multipurpose building, and Ouzinkie hydroelectric upgrades.
|A4: Core Service - Financial Assistance - Administer multiple grant and funding distribution programs|
Target #1: Percentage of grant appropriations fully expended within the award period.
Analysis of results and challenges: Grant administrators have a primary responsibility to assure grant agreements are prepared within statutory deadlines. Once a grantee is under agreement, the grant administrators have a responsibility to work closely with each of them to provide technical assistance and training so they are able to successfully complete their project within the award period.
A review of the grants awarded for the five-year grant period ending in 2018 indicated 72% of grants awarded were successfully completed in that period.
Target #2: All grantees are notified of funding appropriation within 30 days of capital bill being signed into law.
Analysis of results and challenges: Statutes authorizing the majority of the funding awarded by the Division require notification of the grantee within a 45- or 60-day period. It is the goal of the Division to notify all recipients within 30 days of the effective date of the funding. This goal applies to grants as well as allocations made through the Community Assistance Program (CAP, formerly Community Revenue Sharing), Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or shared fisheries business tax allocations.
|A5: Core Service - Information Resources - Collect, analyze and publish local government and economic development information|
Target #1: 75% of entities compliant with all managerial capacity indicators in communities with a population base of less than 2,500.
Analysis of results and challenges: The Community Status Report (CSR) identifies possible managerial problems and provides selected information about a community’s managerial capacity. The indicators measured address public performance issues and reveal a community’s financial management results as displayed in the respective fiscal years’ operating revenues and operating expenditures. Data collected and analyzed include: financial records; elections (required by statute); liens; workers compensation; delinquent Audits; fuel loans per entity; and PERS debt.
The overall performance of entities in 245 communities remained the same between 2017 and 2018 at 70 percent. The resources to work with communities, and timeliness of information reported by agencies continues to be ongoing challenges.
|A6: Core Service - Local Boundary Commission staff - Prepare and distribute information and reports on incorporation, dissolution, annexation, or consolidation|
Target #1: All required reports are produced within regulatory deadlines.
Analysis of results and challenges: Statutory requirements are met on every petition. The number of required reports produced by the Local Boundary Commission (LBC) or its staff can vary from year to year, depending on how many petitions are submitted. The LBC staff has many obligations such as assisting the public and communities with questions, administrative functions, coordinating and scheduling LBC meetings, public records requests, quarterly ethics reports, and traveling to communities.
In FY2018 no new petitions were accepted for filing and no reports were required.
Target #2: Local Boundary Commission staff determines that all submitted petitions have met the statutory and regulatory requirements.
Analysis of results and challenges: The Local Boundary Commission (LBC) was created by the Constitution of the State of Alaska to ensure that arguments for and against proposals to create or alter municipal governments are analyzed objectively, and take area-wide and state-wide needs into consideration. LBC staff must respond to petitions when and as submitted. While several petitions may arrive in a year’s time, not all will meet the statutory and regulatory requirements to move forward to consideration by the LBC.
In FY2018 no new petitions were filed.
|A7: Core Service - State Assessor - Technical assistance to municipal assessors on property value assessments to promote equity in the distribution of education funding and other shared revenue programs|
Target #1: All statutorily required determinations completed.
Analysis of results and challenges: Full value equalization must occur for each city or borough that is a school district or that levies real property taxes. There are currently 25 municipalities that levy a property tax. The Office of the State Assessor also visits these communities to provide training to staff, Boards of Equalization, or when other technical needs arise. The details of each city and borough’s tax policies and assessment procedure vary widely making the on-site audits and assistance unique to each municipality. The remoteness of some jurisdictions also requires substantial travel time and expense. Data for prior fiscal years was corrected to represent the valid statutory requirement. These determinations require on-site visits to make adequate, defendable determinations. If these values are not correct, inequities in funding distribution will occur. The Office of the State Assessor also defends Full Value Determinations when and if appeals of the Full Value Determination occur.
Target #2: 100 percent of taxing municipalities are audited once every five years.
Analysis of results and challenges: Currently 25 municipalities levy a property tax. State statutes require that each municipality have an audit of practices completed every five years. The Office of the State Assessor (OSA) also visits these communities to provide training to staff, Boards of Equalization or when other technical needs arise. The details of each city and borough’s tax policy and assessment procedure varies widely, making on-site audits and assistance unique to each municipality. The remoteness of some jurisdictions also requires substantial travel time and expense. We have completed two detailed audits: the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the North Slope Borough. In FY2018, the OSA has conducted a statewide audit of property tax systems and technology that includes reporting and reviewing all property taxing jurisdictions’ systems and technology to ensure adequate systems exist and that tax rolls are equitable. This is a generalized audit of all jurisdictions rather than a detailed audit of a single jurisdiction. Future audits will return to audits of individual jurisdictions.
|B: Result - Services and volunteerism in Alaska exceeds the national average ranking (among the 50 States)|
Target #1: The number of volunteer hours generated by AmeriCorps recruited volunteers will increase by 10% annually.
Analysis of results and challenges: Prior to 2011, data collected and represented were based from the number of volunteers recruited not necessarily the number of hours volunteered. Currently, program data is represented by the number of hours and the number of volunteers. In 2014, two new programs participated in the AmeriCorps program, which resulted in an increase in hours served. Over the 2014-2016 timeframe, fewer organizations used AmeriCorps volunteers, resulting in lower hours served. 2017 numbers only include two programs. 2018 numbers will include the new programs in the Serve Alaska portfolio as the reporting period does not occur until October.
|B1: Core Service - Serve Alaska - Provide National Service and volunteerism opportunities within Alaska|
Target #1: The number of beneficiaries being served by AmeriCorps members and recruited volunteers will increase annually.
Analysis of results and challenges: Serve Alaska is responsible for recruitment and placement of volunteers in programs that receive assistance under the national service laws and ensure outreach to diverse community-based agencies that serve underrepresented populations. Starting in 2012, Serve Alaska contracted with a web-based reporting system called OnCorps that counted overall attendees instead of individual beneficiaries. This system was specifically designed to comply with Federal AmeriCorps programmatic and fiscal management. The system tracks and calculates required Federal and Alaskan demographics including the number Alaskan beneficiaries served. The significant decrease in beneficiaries served in 2016 is due to a loss of three programs. Over the 2014-2016 timeframe, Serve Alaska’s funded portfolio decreased by over half. 2017 numbers include information from only two programs. 2018 numbers will include the new programs in the Serve Alaska portfolio as the reporting period does not occur until October.
Target #2: The number of volunteers recruited by AmeriCorps members in Alaska will increase annually.
Analysis of results and challenges: Through outreach efforts and coordination with the Corporation for National and Service, Serve Alaska helps Alaskan secure valuable work skills and experience while reaping the benefits of responsible citizenship and community service. The commission has helped to recruit, train, and deploy 2,500 volunteers across Alaska to address needs in education, homeland security, the environmental arena and public safety.
Starting in 2013, Serve Alaska required all Alaska AmeriCorps programs to report on a federal performance measure. The performance measure has three outputs: number of Volunteer Opportunities created, number of Volunteers recruited (for these opportunities) and number of hours those volunteers served. All reporting is now completed in a web based reporting system called OnCorps. Now all of the Alaska AmeriCorps programs are reporting on the same effort, and within the same system, Serve Alaska’s numbers are higher and more accurate in comparison to the national level.
In 2014 and 2015, two AmeriCorps programs chose not to reapply for funding, resulting in the significant reduction of the number of members serving the state.
In 2016-2017, Serve Alaska brought on four new programs which has increased the number of AmeriCorps members serving.
Current as of November 27, 2019