More information on SB 887, An Act Authorizing And Adjusting Bonds Of The State For Capital Improvements, Transportation And Other Purposes.
On Wednesday (3/24), the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee is holding a public hearing on SB 887 – a bill to implement the Governor’s FY 2022 – 2023 Budget, which includes bond authorizations for open space, trails and state parks.
While CLCC supports the bond package we are concerned that the level of proposed bond authorizations is insufficient to meet the robust demand for land conservation funding and meaningfully support the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) recommendations for investing in land, water, and other natural resources (natural climate solutions) as part of Connecticut’s climate action plan.
Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program (OSWA)
- What it does: Matching grants for land trusts, municipalities and water companies to acquire land for open space and watershed protection.
- SB 887: Authorizes $5M per year.
- Our request: We ask the Committee to increase bonding to support DEEP’s request of $10M per year.
- Why bonding is needed: Demand for OSWA funding consistently far exceeds available funding which has created disruptions in the scheduling of annual grant rounds and resulted in significant decreases in the level of funding for applicants. For the 2020 grant round, which saw the largest number of applications in program history, awards were capped at $400,000 per project. The 2021 grant round has yet to be announced due to concerns over availability of funding. The GC3 Forests Sub-Group recommended $25 Million per year for OSWA. (See Report pages 30 and 47)
The Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program (RNHT)
- What it does: DEEP’s primary program for acquiring land to expand the state’s system of parks, forests, wildlife, and other natural open spaces.
- SB887: Authorizes $0 per year.
- Our request: We ask the Committee to increase bonding to support DEEP’s request of $10M per year
- Why bonding is needed: DEEP has many high quality properties in the queue for consideration, which will require additional bond funding for protection by the state. The GC3 Forests Sub-Group recommended $25 Million per year for OSWA.
CT Recreational Trails Program
- What it does: Provides matching funds to municipalities, nonprofits and others for construction of new trails, maintenance and restoration of existing trails, purchase or lease of equipment, acquisition of trail easements, and developing trail access for people with disabilities.
- SB887: Authorizes $3M per year.
- Our request: We ask the committee to support DEEP’s request of $3M per year.
- Why bonding is needed: View the one-pager on the CT RTP prepared by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association here.
For more information, please contact CLCC Executive Director Amy Blaymore Paterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.