PHED ITEM #2
April 21, 2010
Worksession
MEMORANDUM
April 19, 2010
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee
Amanda Mihill, Legislative
Analyst~ritl\\
.
U
Worksession:
Expedited Bill 8-10; Finance - Public Facilities
Easements
Agricultural
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).
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
PH ED 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.
Council staff recommends approval of
Expedited Bill 8-10.
This packet contains:
Expedited Bill 8-1 0
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal Impact
Public Hearing Testimony
F:\LAw\B1LLS\\ 008 Finance Public Facilities· Ag Easements\PHED Memo,Doc
Circle
1
3
4
5
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
Expedited Bill No.
8-10
Conceming: Finance - Public Facilities­
Agricultural Easements
Revised:
3/1612010
Draft No.l
Introduced:
March
16,2010
Expires:
September
16, 2011
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: _N:..:.o:::.:n.:.;::e"-_ _ _ _ __
ChI _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee and Councilmember Leventhal
AN EXPEDITED ACT
to:
(1)
amend the definition ofpublic [[facility]] facilities to include the purchase of certain
agricultural easements; and
(2)
generally amend the county finance 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 unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
EXPEDITED BILL
No. 8-10
1
Sec. 1.
Section 20-14 is amended as follows:
2
20-14. Definition of "public facilities."
3
4
As used [herein, the term "public facilities" shall mean the following] in this
Chapter,
public/aGilities
means:
5
6
*
(g)
*
*
The planning, acquisition, construction, improvement, repalr.1 and
extension of water systems and facilities and sewerage systems and
facilities[.]; and
7
8
9
10
{b}
The purchase of agricultural easements as defined
Chapter 2B.
In
Article
J
of
11
12
Sec. 2.
Expedited Effective Date.
The Council declares that this legislation is 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:
13
14
Nancy Floreen, President, County Council
Approved:
Date
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
This
is
a correct copy o/Council action.
Date
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
-0
f:\law\bills\ 1008 finance - public facilities ag easements\bill 2.doc
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Expedited Bill 8-10,
Finance
DESCRIPTION:
Public Facilities
­
Agricultural Easements
Expedited Bill 8-10 amends the definition of public facilities in Chapter
20 to include the purchase of agricultural easements as defined in Article 2
of Chapter 2B.
Under the current interpretation of County law, the definition 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 Easemenls\LRR.DOC
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
N.AH
c..c
Sg~
L-L
A\-\.
OL..C
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT Al'ID BUDGET
Isiab Leggett
County Executive
MEMORANDUM
April 6, 2010
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Nancy Floreen,
Pre~ty
Council
Joseph Beach,
Direc~
'-.,.)
Joseph F. Beacb
Director
055690
.
Expedited BiH 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 defmed 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 of the 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 Chief Administrative Officer
Dee Gonzalez, Offices of the County Executive
Jeremy Criss, Department of Economic Development
Glenn Wyman, Department ofFinance
Jacqueline Carter, Office ofManagement and Budget
John Cuff, Office ofManagement and Budget
Office of the Director
101 Monroe Street, 14th Floor' Rockville, Maryland 20850 • 240-777-2800
www.montgomerycountymd.gov
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
AGRICULTURAL PRESERVATION ADVISORY BOARD
April 5,2010
The Honorable Nancy Floreen
Montgomery County Council President
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville Maryland, 20850
Dear Council President Floreen;
Please accept this letter on behalf ofthe Montgomery County Agricultural Preservation
Advisory Board (APAB) in support of Expedited Bill 8-10 Finance-Public Facilities-Agricultural
Easements.
The APAB thanks the County Council 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 council to approve it.
This bill goes a long way in demonstrating the County'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 county 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 understand the passage of Council Bill 8-10 will mean that funding ofG.O. Bonds
for Agricultural Land Preservation must compete with other County 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.
Agricultural Services Division
18410
Muncast~r
Road·
Derwood. Maryland :0855
.
301/590-:~823,
fAX 30\/590-:839
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
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
financial help to the agricultural community and the farmers 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,
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
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
Bi118~10 Finance~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 former 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 the accomplishment of this milestone at Sunny Ridge Farm one year ahead of
schedule.
~
This outcome aild 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.
------~~--~~~~~--~~~~~~~------~rv
Department of Economic Development·Agricultural Services Division
'-.!J
18410 Muncaster Road . Derwood, Maryland 20855 . 301/590·2823, FAX 3011590-2839
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
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 Montgomery 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