senate Bill S4299

Signed by Governor Amended

Relates to soil and water conservation district program improvements

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed by Governor
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actions

  • 20 / Mar / 2013
    • REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE
  • 23 / Apr / 2013
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.406
  • 24 / Apr / 2013
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 29 / Apr / 2013
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 29 / May / 2013
    • AMENDED ON THIRD READING 4299A
  • 03 / Jun / 2013
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 03 / Jun / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 03 / Jun / 2013
    • REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE
  • 17 / Jun / 2013
    • SUBSTITUTED FOR A7555
  • 17 / Jun / 2013
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING RULES CAL.268
  • 17 / Jun / 2013
    • PASSED ASSEMBLY
  • 17 / Jun / 2013
    • RETURNED TO SENATE
  • 02 / Jul / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
  • 12 / Jul / 2013
    • SIGNED CHAP.150

Summary

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

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Bill Details

Versions:
S4299
S4299A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Agriculture and Markets Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§322, 323 & 325, Ag & Mkts L; amd §119-n, Gen Muni L

Votes

10
0
10
Aye
0
Nay
0
aye with reservations
1
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
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Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4299

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-n(a) to include SWCDs within the
definition of "municipal corporation."

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-n(a) to authorize SWCDs to enter
into inter-municipal agreements (IMAs) to provide services delineated
under GML Article 5-G. Soil and Water Conservation Districts were
added to General Municipal Law (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-n would allow SWCDs to also
enter into IMAs with counties 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

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4299

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 20, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. RITCHIE -- (at request of the Department of Agricul-
  ture and Markets) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when  printed
  to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture

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;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD08970-01-3

S. 4299                             2

  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

S. 4299                             3

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 a of section 119-n of the general municipal law, as
amended by chapter 413 of the laws  of  1991,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  a. The term "municipal corporation" means a county outside the city of
New  York, a city, a town, a village, a board of cooperative educational
services, fire district or a  school  district.    THE  TERM  "MUNICIPAL
CORPORATION"  SHALL  ALSO MEAN A SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT AS
DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF  SECTION  THREE  OF  THE  SOIL  AND  WATER
CONSERVATION  DISTRICTS LAW; 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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