Bill S4299A-2013

Relates to soil and water conservation district program improvements

Relates to soil and water conservation district program improvements; includes soil and water conservation districts in the state agricultural and farmland protection program.

Details

Actions

  • Jul 12, 2013: SIGNED CHAP.150
  • Jul 2, 2013: DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
  • Jun 17, 2013: returned to senate
  • Jun 17, 2013: passed assembly
  • Jun 17, 2013: ordered to third reading rules cal.268
  • Jun 17, 2013: substituted for a7555
  • Jun 3, 2013: referred to agriculture
  • Jun 3, 2013: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jun 3, 2013: PASSED SENATE
  • May 29, 2013: AMENDED ON THIRD READING 4299A
  • Apr 29, 2013: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Apr 24, 2013: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Apr 23, 2013: 1ST REPORT CAL.406
  • Mar 20, 2013: REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE

Votes

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4299A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law and the general municipal law, in relation to soil and water conservation district program improvements

Purpose of Bill:

The bill would (i) amend the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML) to add Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to the list of entities eligible for participating in farmland protection implementation activities funded through the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Program (AFPP) under AML Article 25-AAA, and (ii) amend the General Municipal Law (GML) to authorize SWCDs to cooperate with municipalities through inter-municipal agreements to provide services under GML Article 5-G.

Summary of Provisions:

Section 1 of the bill would amend AML § 322 to add a definition for "soil and water conservation district."

Section 2 of the bill would amend AML § 323 to include SWCDs in the list of AFPP activities to be conducted by the Commissioner.

Section 3 of the bill would amend AML § 325(1) to clarify that agricultural and farmland protection activities are locally-led and not just conducted by counties and municipalities.

Section 4 of the bill would add a new paragraph (c) to AML § 325(2) to make SWCDs eligible to apply for agricultural protection State assistance payments to implement a county or municipal agricultural and farmland protection plan approved by the Commissioner.

Section 5 would amend GML § 119-o to authorize municipal corporations to cooperate with SWCDs through inter-municipal agreements.

Section 6 provides for an immediate effective date.

Existing Law:

AML § 322 defines terms used in AML Article 25-AAA. AML § 323 lists the AFPP-related activities to be conducted by the Commissioner. AML 325 establishes a program of State assistance payments associated with county and municipal AFPP activities and includes eligibility criteria to apply for such payments. GML § 119-n provides the definitions of certain terms used in GML Article 5-G.

Statement in Support:

SWCDs are charged with preserving soil and water resources. SWCDs already participate in many planning and implementation activities funded through the AFPP, and have substantial experience in both application and implementation of State grant programs for a variety of natural resource protection and enhancement projects. Each SWCD also participates as a member of county agricultural and farmland protection boards.

SWCDs were recently authorized to hold conservation easements under the Environmental Conservation Law (Chapter 201 of the Laws of 2011). These easements often include a conservation plan and SWCDs are well-suited to monitor and ensure compliance with the easement and plan due to their experience in working with public and private landowners. To enhance this authority, the bill would amend AML 322, 323 and 325 to make SWCDs eligible for obtaining funding through the AFPP to participate in farmland protection activities. SWCDs work with agricultural landowners on a daily basis; have a reliable 70 year track record; and are particularly suited to administer and monitor conservation easements on working lands such as farm operations. SWCDs are equipped to provide a variety of technical assistance resources that would logically complement the core purpose of such conservation easements. The further development of conservation and recreational plans that would be facilitated through additional funding would provide significant complementary attributes that evolve with the easement.

The bill would also amend GML § 119-o to authorize municipal corporations and districts to enter into inter-municipal agreements (IMAs) with SWCDs to provide services under GML Article 5-G. Soil and Water Conservation Districts were added to GML § 99-r in 2001 (Chapter 485 of the Laws of 2001), which allows the governing board of any municipal corporation to contract for services with any state agency, public benefit corporation, public authority, a SWCD or SUNY to provide or receive, among, other things, fuel, equipment and supplies and any services of government. Amending GML § 119-o would allow municipal corporations and districts to enter into IMAs with SWCDs to efficiently and effectively carryout joint services to benefit conservation of soil and water resources.

Legislative History:

This is a new proposal.

Budget Implications:

None.

Effective Date:

The bill would take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4299--A Cal. No. 406 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 20, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. RITCHIE, GIPSON -- (at request of the Department of Agriculture and Markets) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture -- reported favorably from said committee, ordered to first and second report, ordered to a third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of third reading AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law and the general munici- pal law, in relation to soil and water conservation district program improvements THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 322 of the agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new subdivision 5 to read as follows: 5. "SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT" MEANS AN ENTITY AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION THREE OF THE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS LAW. S 2. Section 323 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 268 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: S 323. State agricultural and farmland protection program. The commis- sioner shall initiate and maintain a state agricultural and farmland protection program to provide financial and technical assistance, within funds available, to counties, municipalities, SOIL AND WATER CONSERVA- TION DISTRICTS, and not-for-profit conservation organizations for their agricultural and farmland protection efforts. Activities to be conducted by the commissioner shall include, but not be limited to: 1. developing guidelines for the creation by counties and munici- palities of agricultural and farmland protection plans; 2. providing technical assistance to county agricultural and farmland protection boards, as established in article twenty-five-AA of this chapter, and municipalities;
3. administering state assistance payments to county agricultural and farmland protection boards [and], municipalities AND SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS; 4. disseminating information to county and municipal governments, SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS, owners of agricultural lands and other agricultural interests about the state agricultural and farmland protection program established pursuant to this article; 5. administering state assistance payments to not-for-profit conserva- tion organizations; and 6. reporting biennially to the governor and the legislature regarding the activities of the commissioner, the types of technical assistance rendered to county agricultural and farmland protection boards, munici- palities, SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS and not-for-profit conservation organizations, and the need to protect the state's agricul- tural economy and land resources. S 3. Subdivision 1 of section 325 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 234 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: 1. Subject to the availability of funds, a program is hereby estab- lished to finance through state assistance payments the state share of the costs of [county and municipal] LOCALLY-LED agricultural and farm- land protection activities. State assistance payments for planning activities shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars to each county agri- cultural and farmland protection board or one hundred thousand dollars to two such boards applying jointly, and shall not exceed fifty percent of the cost of preparing an agricultural and farmland protection plan. State assistance payments for planning activities shall not exceed twen- ty-five thousand dollars to each municipality other than a county or fifty thousand dollars to two such municipalities applying jointly, and shall not exceed seventy-five percent of the cost of preparing an agri- cultural and farmland protection plan. A county which has an approved farmland protection plan may after one hundred twenty months from the date of such approval by the commissioner apply for additional state assistance payments for planning activities related to the updating of their current plan or development of a new farmland protection plan. Such additional state assistance payments shall not exceed fifty thou- sand dollars to each county agricultural and farmland protection board or one hundred thousand dollars to two such boards applying jointly, and shall not exceed fifty percent of the cost of preparing an agricultural and farmland protection plan. State assistance payments for implementa- tion of approved agricultural and farmland protection plans may fund up to seventy-five percent of the cost of implementing the county plan or portion of the plan for which state assistance payments are requested. State assistance payments to such counties shall not exceed seventy-five percent of the cost of implementing the local plan or portion of the plan for which state assistance has been requested. Such maximum shall be increased by a percentage equal to the percentage of the total eligi- ble costs for such specified projects that are contributed by the owner of the agricultural land for which the project is being funded, provided, however, that in no event shall the total of such state assistance payments exceed eighty-seven and one-half percent of such eligible costs for any specified project. S 4. Paragraphs (c) and (d) of subdivision 2 of section 325 of the agriculture and markets law are relettered paragraphs (d) and (e) and a new paragraph (c) is added to read as follows:
(C) A SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT MAY APPLY AND SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR AGRICULTURAL PROTECTION STATE ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS TO IMPLE- MENT A COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL AGRICULTURAL AND FARMLAND PROTECTION PLAN APPROVED BY THE COMMISSIONER PROVIDED THAT THE PROPOSED PROJECT IS ENDORSED FOR FUNDING BY THE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND FARMLAND PROTECTION BOARD FOR THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE PROPOSED PROJECT IS LOCATED. A SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT, TWO SUCH SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS ACTING JOINTLY, A SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT AND A MUNICIPALITY ACTING JOINTLY, OR A SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT AND A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION ACTING JOINTLY SHALL MAKE APPLICATION TO THE COMMISSIONER IN SUCH MANNER AS THE COMMISSIONER MAY PRESCRIBE. THE PROPOSED PROJECT MUST ALSO BE ENDORSED FOR FUNDING BY THE MUNICIPALITY IN WHICH THE PROPOSED PROJECT IS LOCATED IF THE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT IS SEEKING AGRICULTURAL PROTECTION STATE ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS TO IMPLEMENT AN APPROVED MUNICIPAL AGRICULTURAL AND FARMLAND PROTECTION PLAN. STATE ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS TO SUCH SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS SHALL NOT EXCEED SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE COST OF IMPLEMENTING THE LOCAL PLAN OR PORTION OF THE PLAN FOR WHICH STATE ASSISTANCE HAS BEEN REQUESTED. SUCH MAXIMUM SHALL BE INCREASED BY A PERCENTAGE EQUAL TO THE PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL ELIGIBLE COSTS FOR SUCH SPECIFIED PROJECTS THAT ARE CONTRIBUTED BY THE OWNER OF THE AGRI- CULTURAL LAND FOR WHICH THE PROJECT IS BEING FUNDED; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT IN NO EVENT SHALL THE TOTAL OF SUCH STATE ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS EXCEED EIGHTY-SEVEN AND ONE-HALF PERCENT OF SUCH ELIGIBLE COSTS FOR ANY SPECIFIED PROJECT. THE COMMISSIONER MAY REQUIRE SUCH INFORMATION OR ADDITIONAL PLANNING AS HE OR SHE DEEMS NECESSARY TO EVALUATE SUCH A REQUEST FOR STATE ASSISTANCE. S 5. Subdivision 1 of section 119-o of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 623 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows: 1. In addition to any other general or special powers vested in munic- ipal corporations and districts for the performance of their respective functions, powers or duties on an individual, cooperative, joint or contract basis, municipal corporations and districts shall have power to enter into, amend, cancel and terminate agreements for the performance among themselves or one for the other of their respective functions, powers and duties on a cooperative or contract basis or for the provision of a joint service or a joint water, sewage or drainage project. Notwithstanding the foregoing grant of authority, the temporary investment of moneys by more than one municipal corporation or district pursuant to a municipal cooperation agreement which meets the definition of "cooperative investment agreement" as set forth in article three-A of this chapter shall be in compliance with all of the requirements of that article. Any agreement entered into hereunder shall be approved by each participating municipal corporation or district by a majority vote of the voting strength of its governing body. Where the authority of any municipal corporation or district to perform by itself any function, power and duty or to provide by itself any facility, service, activity, project or undertaking or the financing thereof is, by any other general or special law, subject to a public hearing, a mandatory or permissive referendum, consents of governmental agencies, or other requirements applicable to the making of contracts, then its right to participate in an agreement hereunder shall be similarly conditioned. MUNICIPAL CORPO- RATIONS AND DISTRICTS SHALL ALSO HAVE THE POWER TO ENTER INTO, AMEND, CANCEL AND TERMINATE AGREEMENTS WITH A SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT ESTABLISHED UNDER THE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS LAW
FOR THE PERFORMANCE AMONG THEMSELVES OR ONE FOR THE OTHER OF THEIR RESPECTIVE FUNCTIONS, POWERS AND DUTIES ON A COOPERATIVE OR CONTRACT BASIS OR FOR THE PROVISION OF A JOINT SERVICE OR A JOINT PROJECT; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE EXERCISE OF ANY POWERS AND DUTIES UNDER THIS ARTICLE BY A SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE POWERS, DUTIES AND LIMITATIONS IN SECTION NINE OF THE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS LAW. S 6. This act shall take effect immediately.

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