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S.F. No. 1158 - Funding Soil and Water Conservation Districts (First Engrossment)
Author: Senator Dan Sparks
Prepared By: Greg Knopff, Senate Analyst (651/296-9399)
Date: March 24, 2015


Section 1 [County levy authority; SWCD] provides counties with the option to fund soil and water conservation district (SWCD) operations by special levy.  The special taxing district option is the same process that is used for county funding of watershed management organizations (WMOs) in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Sections 2 and 3 [Special taxing districts] add the optional 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 $11 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 $40,000 per year.  Money remaining would be available for matching grants of up to $50,000 per year to an SWCD and matched at a rate of $1.25 for each $1 of county allocation.  After the previous matching grants are allocated, the remaining money would be available for match at a rate of 65 cents for each $1 of county allocation.  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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