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S.F. No. 896 - Funding Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Author: Senator Rod Skoe
Prepared By: Greg Knopff, Senate Analyst (651/296-9399)
Date: February 26, 2015


Section 1 [County levy authority; SWCD] provides that a county levy for the soil and water conservation district (SWCD) operations must be certified as a special levy. This is the same process that is used for watershed management organizations (WMOs) in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area under section 103B.253.

Sections 2 and 3 [Special taxing districts] add the certification of county levies for SWCDs under the special taxing district laws.  The changes add the SWCD provisions to the references for the watershed management organizations (WMOs) in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.

Section 4 [Appropriation] appropriates $5.1 million each year in the next biennium to the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) for increased general purpose grants to SWCDs.  Each SWCD in the state would receive an increase of $20,000 per year.  Money remaining would be available for matching grants of up to $40,000 per year to an SWCD.  The money would need to be matched at a rate of $1.25 for each $1 of district match.  BWSR is given the authority to reduce a county’s natural resources block grant if BWSR determines that a county disproportionately reduces funding to an SWCD.

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