Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Act Modernizing Connecticut Fertilizer Law

Passed 35 to 0 in the Senate, 133 to 16 in the House in the January to June 2009 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly

Only the last section of the legislation pertains to smart growth.

The final sections increase the document recording fee collected by town clerks to $40 beginning July 1, 2011. Town clerks may retain one dollar for the purposes of their offices, four dollars are payable to the municipality for local capital improvement projects, and the town clerks will remit $36 to the State Treasurer.

The “Land Protection, Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation Account” in the state’s General Fund will be renamed the “Community Investment Account”. The $36 balance of the recording fee will be deposited into that fund and disbursed as follows: 20 percent to the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism for historic preservation and historic preservation technical assistance; 20 percent to the Department of Environmental Protection’s Municipal Open Space Grant Program; 20 percent to the Connect Housing Finance Authority for affordable housing programs; and 40 percent to the Department of Agriculture for agricultural viability grants, the farm transition program, to encourage schools and restaurants to buy CT grown products, farmland preservation and a new agricultural sustainability account.

The agricultural sustainability account will aggregate funds for grants to subsidize dairy farmers for each month the federal price for milk falls below the monthly cost of production.
The legislation also expands the eligibility of farm viability matching grants to include agricultural nonprofits and makes the development of new marketing programs an eligible activity for grant funds.

Much of Connecticut’s open land belongs to dairy farmers who are experiencing a large gap between the price to produce milk and the amount they receive for the milk. Sustaining these farms protects our local food supply and maintains valuable open land. At the same time, this legislation is likely to protect the Community Investment Act from state budget gap-closing raids.

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