AGENDA ITEM #11
May 4,2010
Action
MEMORANDUM
April 30,2010
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
Amanda Mihill, Legislative
AnalYs~
Action:
Expedited Bill 8-10,Finance
Public Facilities
Agricultural Easements
Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee recommendation:
enact Bill 8-10.
Expedited Bill 8-10, Finance Public Facilities - Agricultural Easements, sponsored by the
Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee and Councilmember Leventhal, was
introduced on March 16, 2010. A public hearing was held on April 6 at which 3 speakers
testified in support of Bill 8-10 (see testimony beginning on ©5). A Planning, Housing, and
Economic Development Committee worksession was held on April 21.
Bill 8-10 would amend the definition of public facility to explicitly include the purchase of
agricultural easements as defined in Article 3 of Chapter 2B (the County Agricultural Easement
Program (AEP)). Under current practice, the AEP is funded by Agricultural Transfer Taxes. At
its March 4 worksession on the Agricultural Land Preservation Easements project in the CIP, the
PHED Committee expressed an interest in allowing general obligation bonds to be used to
purchase agricultural easements. However, the Committee was advised by the Department of
Finance that G.O. bonds could not be used to purchase easements because in the Department's
view, easements were not included in the definition of "public facilities" in Chapter 20. Bill
8-10 would not create a new easement program, but enable the use of a different type of funding
in addition to the Agricultural Transfer Taxes for an easement program that is already in
operation. Bill 8-10 does not appropriate any funding; the decision regarding whether or not to
use G.O. bonds to fund the AEP would be made as part of the budget process.
The Council received testimony from several members of the agricultural community supporting
Bill 8-10; the County Executive supports Bill 8-10.
The Committee recommended approval
of Bill 8-10.
This packet contains:
Expedited Bill 8-10
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal Impact
Public Hearing Testimony
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Expedited Bill No.
8-10
Concerning: Finance - Public Facilities ­
Agricultural Easements
Draft No.
L
Revised:
3/16/2010
Introduced:
March 16, 2010
Expires:
September16,2011
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _
~
_ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
_N!.!:o~n.!!::e:..____::--
_ _ _-
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont.
Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee and COlUlcilmember Leventhal
AN EXPEDITED ACT
to:
(l)
amend the definition of public [[facility]] facilities to include the purchase of certain
agricultural easements; and
(2)
generally amend the county fmance law.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 20, Finance
Section 20-14
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface bracketsD
.
. .
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unciffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act.'
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ExPEDITED BILL
No.
8~
10
1
Sec.
1.
Section 20-14 is amended as follows:
2
·20-14. Definition
of
"puhlic
facilities."
3
4
As used [herein, the term "public facilities
ll
shall mean the following]
in
this
Chapter,publicfacilities
means:
5
6
7
*
(g)
*
*
The planning, acquisition, construction, improvement, repmrJ. and
extension of water systems and facilities and sewerage systems and
facilities[.]; and
.8
9
10
11
12
13
(hl
The purchase of agricultural easements as defined
Chapter2B.
ill
Article
J
of
Sec. 2.
Expedited Effective Date.
IS
The Council declares that this legislation
necessary for the immediate
protection of the public interest. Section 20-14(h), as amended by Section 1 of this
Act, takes effect on the date on which it becomes law.
Approved:
14
Nancy Floreen, President, County Council
Approved:
Date
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
This
is
a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Date
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
@
f:\law\bills\1008 finance - public facilities - ag easements\bill 2.doc
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LEGISLATIVE REQtEST REPORT
Expedited Bill 8-10,
Finance
­
Public Facilities Agricultural Easements
DESCRIPTION:
Expedited Bill 8-10 amends the definition of public facilities in Chapter
20 to include the purchase of agricultural easements as defmed in Article 2
of Chapter 2B.
Under the current interpretation of County law, the defmition of public
facilities in Section 20-14 precludes the County from issuing general
obligation bonds to purchase agricultural easements.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
To clarify County law such that the use of general obligations bonds can
be used to purchase agricultural easements.
COORDINATION:
Departments of Finance and Economic Development
FISCAL IMPACT:
To be requested.
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
To be requested
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
Amanda Mihill, Legislative Analyst, 240-777-7815
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
To be researched.
PENALTIES:
None.
F:\LAW\BILLS\l008 Finance - Public Facilities - Ag Easements\LRR.DOC
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N,AH
C-C
Sg.~
L-L
A\-\.
OL..t>
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
MEMORANDUM
Apri16,2010
Joseph F. Beach
Director
055690
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Nancy Floreen,
pr~ty
Council
Joseph Beach,
Dire~ ~
Expedited Bi11 8-10, Finance - Public Facilities - Agricultural Easements
The purpose of
this
memorandum
is
to transmit a fiscal impact statement to the Council
on the subject legislation.
'
LEGISLATION SUMMARY
,
The proposed legislation amends the definition of public facilities
in
Chapter 20 to
include the purchase of agricultural easements as defIned in Article
2
of Chapter 2B.
FISCAL SUMMARY
The proposed legislation expands the circumstances when General Obligation Bonds can
be
issued. Provided that overall debt issues remain within budgeted and planned limits, this legislation
would not result in
an
overall increase in debt service costs. Agricultural easements are currently paid
for through the proceeds ofthe Agricultural Transfer Tax. and interest
earned
on the investment of these
tax
revenues.
If
General Obligation Bonds were used to finance these purchases than the cost of the
easements acquired would increase by the outstanding interest due on the amount of General Obligation
Bonds used for the purchases.
ECONONUC~ACTSTATEMENT
This
bill has no quantifiable economic impact, though
it
may create opportunities for the
County to protect farmland from future development within the Agricultural Reserve.
The following contributed to and concurred with
this
analysis: Bryan Hunt, Office of
Management
and
Budget, Jennifer Barrett and Glenn Wyman, Department ofFinance.
JFB:bh
c: Kathleen Boucher, Assistant ChiefAdministrative Officer
Dee Gonzalez, Offices of the County Executive
Jeremy Criss, Department of Economic Development
Glenn Wyman, Department of Finance
Jacqueline Carter, Office ofManagement and Budget
John Cuff, Office of Management and Budget
Office of the Director
101 Monroe Street, 14th Floor •
Rockvil-le-,~M-a-ry-la-n-d-2-08-5-0-.-24-0--7-7-7--2-80-o---------:;@5"""'·..j
WW\V.moutgomerycountymd.gov
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AGRICULTURAL PRESERVATION ADVISORY BOARD
April 5,2010
The Honorable Nancy Floreen
Montgomery COlUlty COlUlcil President
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville Maryland, 20850
Dear COlUlcil President Floreen;
Please accept this letter on behalf of the Montgomery COlUlty Agricultural Preservation
Advisory Board (APAB) in support of Expedited
Bill8~10
Finance-Public Facilities-Agricultural
Easements.
The APAB thanks the COlUlty COlUlcil for the opportunity to provide comments on this
bill.
The APAB is very appreciative to the members of the Planning Housing and Economic
DeVelopment committee for proposing this bill and we encourage the full cOlUlcil to approve
it.
This bill goes a long way in demonstrating the COlUlty'S commitment to farmers and the
Agricultural Reserve because it will authorize the use of General Obligation Bonds for the
purchase of agricultural preservation easements.
This outcome will enable the COlUlty to further protect farmland in the Agricultural
Reserve at a time when the Great Recession has lowered the price of farmland, making farms
more affordable for farmers to purchase and enroll
in
preservation programs.
We lUlderstand the passage ofColUlcil
Bill8~10
will mean that funding ofG.O. Bonds
for Agricultural Land Preservation must compete with other COlUlty projects.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that the opportunities which exist today in the real
estate market will not last forever and once the real estate market starts to improve it may be too
late to appropriate GO bonds.
on
18-11 0
Mt,n~aster
Road
30l/590·:823, FAX
,/590·2839
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The Honorable Nancy Floreen
April 5,2010
Page 2.
The approval of this Expedited bill 8-10 will go a long way in providing additional
fmandal help to the agricultural community and the fanners as they make important decisions
that will impact both their businesses and the future of agriculture in Montgomery County.
Thank. you for this opportunity to provide these comments on Expedited Bill 8-10.
~t;~~d(
Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board.
Sincerely,
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AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY COMJ.\lIITTEE
April 6, 2010
The Honorable Nancy Floreen
Montgomery County Council President
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville Maryland, 20850
Dear Council President Floreen,
Please accept this letter on behalf of the Montgomery County Agricultural Advisory Committee
(AAC) in support of Expedited Bill 8-10
Finan~e-Public
Facilities-Agricultural Easements.
The AAC appreciates the opportunity to provide these comments on this bill.
The AAC supports the views of the AP AB and we want to acknowledge the leadership ofthe
County Council in recommending this legislation.
.
The authorization to use General Obligation Bonds for the purchase of agricultUral preservation
easements represents a tremendous step forward for the County Government and it provides
another tool for both funding and fulfilling our public policy to protect the agricultural reserve.
As a fonner member of the APAB, I endorsed the 1989 Farmland Preservation Goal of
protecting 70,000 acres of farmland by the year 2010. Last January 2009, the County Executive
announced
th~
accomplishment of this milestone at Sunny Ridge Farm one year ahead of
schedule.
.
­
This outcome and recognition of achieving the goal early was due partly to the economic down
turn
that started in 2007. Enrollment into farmland preservation programs reveals an increasing
trend during periods of economic recession and this is occurring today here
in
Montgomery .
County.
Up until 2008, Montgomery County was the leading county in the nation for total acres protected
by easements. While we always knew that some day other counties with more acres in farming
like Lancaster County P A, would pass us, it is important to mention that Bond funding approved
by their voters represented the means for Lancaster County to acquire agricultural easements and
surpass Montgomery County.
--------~----~--~~~--~~~----~~------~~
Department of Economic Development.Agricultural Services Division
'-..V
18410 Muncaster Road • Derwood, Maryland 20855 .
301/590.2823,
FAX 3011590-2839
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3
Kelsey Stabler's Testimony
Montgomery County Council
April 6,2010
- My name is Kelsey Stabler, I live at 5900 Damascus Road in Laytonsville.
I'm a senior at Damascus High School, graduating this spring ,with plans to attend Mt. Saint
Mary's in Emmittsburg, Md.
-Our farming operation (known as Pleasant Valley Farm) is a partnership owned by my grand
parents, Robert and Betsy Stabler and my dad, Randy Stabler. Our operation consists of
approximately 2600 acres of traditional grain crops and a herd of beef cattle.
-I'm here today to testify on
M~ntgomery
County's support of sustainable agriculture.
Specifically I'd like to ask the Council's support of the use of General Obligation Bonds (G.O.
Bonds) as part of the Capital Budget, to be used as a funding resource for Ag Land Preservation.
-As
I
sit here before you today,
I
do not claim, at my age, to fully understand Montgomery
County's Capital Budget. My Grandfather and Dad encouraged me to represent our farming
operation today and explained there thoughts as to the importance of Ag Land Preservation to the
future ofviable agriculture in Montgomery County. They explained to me, by Montgomery
County investing public resources in Ag Land Preservation, it would insure that agriculture
remains a viable resource in the economic landscape of our county.
-In
closing please approve the use ofG.O. Bonds to help fund the County's Capital Budget, and
specifically the needs of the county's Land Preservation Programs. By doing so you
will
help to
ensure viable agriculture today and for future generations to come.
Thanks,
Kelsey Stabler