Enabling a Local Option for Land Conservation and Stewardship Funding
The problem: With funding for open space acquisition and stewardship more imperiled than ever, Connecticut's cities and towns need a sustainable source of revenue for local conservation and stewardship efforts that would not impact the municipal mill rate or require additional bonding.
The solution: The Municipal Open Space Funding Option, is proposed legislation that would allow, but not require, certain towns and cities to establish a dedicated fund to acquire, preserve, and steward open space (including water resources) and farmland at the municipal level by enacting a conveyance fee of up to 1% paid by buyers of real property over $150,000 in value. This added source of funding would enable communities to fulfill match requirements for state or federal grant programs; cover the costly expenses associated with acquiring land (appraisals, surveys, environmental assessments, etc.); repay existing or future municipal bonds used for conservation purposes; and help cover the costs of stewardship of their town’s open space properties, water resources and farmland.
The proposed bill will only extend to municipalities that ask to be included. Moreover, those municipalities included in the enabling legislation are not obligated in any way to establish the program; it merely gives them the right to consider the funding option if they so choose.
Nearby states (MA, NY, RI, PA, WV) have allowed some municipalities to enact a buyers' conveyance fee, with the income dedicated to conserving and caring for local natural areas. These programs have proven remarkably successful, resulting in the protection of thousands of acres of open space, forests, meadows and farms. With your help we can provide Connecticut towns with an opportunity to replicate those successes in their own communities.
If you're interested in working with CLCC to include your municipality in the legislation so that it has the option to establish a local funding mechanism for land conservation and stewardship, please contact CLCC's Executive Director, Amy Blaymore Paterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-614-8537.
To learn more about the Municpal Open Space Funding Option, see the links below.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Draft Legislation- An Act Permitting Municipalities to Impose a Buyer's Fee on the Conveyance of Real Property
- Talking Points- Municipal Open Space Funding Bill
- Case Study- Jefferson County, West Virginia
- Case Study- New Shoreham, Rhode Island
- Case Study- Warwick, New York
- News Clip- A Decade of Success for Warwick