senate Bill S4299A

Signed by Governor

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

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7555
Versions:
S4299
S4299A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Agriculture and Markets Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§322, 323 & 325, Ag & Mkts L; amd §119-o, Gen Muni L

Sponsor 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.

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

                                 4299--A
    Cal. No. 406

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             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;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD08970-02-3

S. 4299--A                          2

  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:

S. 4299--A                          3

  (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

S. 4299--A                          4

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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