Action Alert! Public Hearing is MONDAY (2/26) on Municipal Open Space Funding Option Bill
February 22, 2018
Yesterday afternoon, we received notice that SB 181- AN ACT ESTABLISHING A PILOT PROGRAM FOR THE PRESERVATION OF OPEN SPACE was referred to the Planning & Development Committee and a public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Monday, February 26, at 10am at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
We would greatly appreciate it if you would submit testimony in favor of the bill (with modification, as detailed below); better yet, join us at the public hearing.
Background on SB 181
As many of you know, CLCC has taken on this long-standing initiative this year, asking legislators to consider approving legislation that would allow, but not require, select municipalities to establish up to a 1% buyer's conveyance fee on real estate conveyances greater than $150,000 to fund local land conservation and stewardship efforts (including farmland and water resources).
However, unlike previous iterations of the bill, which sought statewide application, SB 181 would extend only to towns whose municipal CEOs have expressly asked to be included in the bill.
Based upon our outreach to-date:
- Four municipalities are in the bill: Bethany, Bolton, Lyme and New London
- Four towns have officially requested to be added to the bill: Colchester, Bozrah, N. Stonington, and Coventry
- At least four more towns are in the process of deciding whether to ask to be included in the bill: Mansfield, Suffield, Bloomfield and Ridgefield
In keeping with the “pilot” nature of the program, we have purposely limited our outreach. We’re hopeful that if we can get the bill passed, and the programs are adopted and successful, more towns will ask to be included in the enabling legislation in the future.
For purposes of your testimony, please note the following:
- Good news: The bill (also attached below) is essentially the same as the draft that we submitted to the P&D Committee. It permits the towns of Bethany, Bolton, Lyme and the city of New London to impose a buyer's fee on the conveyance of certain real property sales to generate funds for the purchase, preservation or stewardship of open space (including farmland and water resources).
- Of concern: The bill that was referred to the P&D Committee contains language that appears to state that the program, if adopted by your town, is only enabled for two years. We oppose this change and will try to speak with the leadership of the P&D in advance of the public hearing to determine their intent in including this extremely short timeframe for adoption and implementation of the program.
1. Submit Testimony
- Submit your testimony in support of SB181 with a request that section 1 (a) be amended by deleting “for a two-year period beginning July 1, 2018”.
- Email your testimony with “SUPPORT of SB 181, with modification” in subject line to PDtestimony@cga.ct.gov. Include your name and town, cc your legislators (important!) and bcc CLCC.
- You may use the attached template letter of support to help you craft your testimony as well as the talking points on our website to help you craft your testimony.
Full instructions are as follows:
The Planning and Development Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. in Hearing Room 2B of the LOB. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 9:00 A.M. in Room 2100 of the LOB. The Committee encourages witnesses to submit a written statement and to orally summarize their testimony for no longer than three minutes. Public speaking order will be determined by a lottery system. Please submit 2 copies of written testimony to the Committee staff in Room 2100 of the LOB between 9:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. Testimony received after the designated time may not be uploaded until after the hearing. Please email written testimony in Word or PDF format to PDtestimony@cga.ct.gov. Testimony should clearly state the testifier's name and related bills. The Committee requests that testimony be limited to matters related to items on the Agenda. The first hour will be reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials. Unofficial sign-up sheets have no standing with the Committee. All public hearing testimony, written and spoken, is public information. As such, it will be made available on the CGA website and indexed by internet search engines.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thank you in advance for your support.
(860) 614-8537 or firstname.lastname@example.org