OLR Research Report

March 25, 2011




By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Senior Legislative Attorney

You asked for a brief summary of bills the Environment Committee favorably reported to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

sSB 246, An Act Establishing a Date for the Submission of Personal Property Declarations and Property Tax Exemptions by Farmers.

This bill changes the date on which farmers have to submit personal property tax declarations and claims for exemption from 30 days after the assessment date to on or before November 1.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

sHB 5202, An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Bonds for Farmland Preservation.

This bill authorizes up to $20 million in state general obligation bonds and requires the Department of Agriculture (DoAG) to use the proceeds for purchasing development rights to agricultural lands. The bill also authorizes up to $2 million in state general obligation bonds and requires DoAG to use the proceeds for funding the Community Farms

Program. (Under the program, DoAG can acquire the development rights of farms that do not meet the Farmland Preservation Program's criteria but still contribute to the local economy.) The bonds are subject to standard statutory bond issuance procedures and repayment requirements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011

HB 6157, An Act Concerning State Forestry Programs.

By law, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner may harvest timber and sell it for at least $10 per cord when sold as fuel.

This bill establishes a “timber harvest revolving account.” Under the bill, proceeds from the harvest of timber must be deposited into the new account. The commissioner may use the account funds for (1) developing forest management plans and (2) reasonable expenses for administering and operating the plans. The bill authorizes the commissioner to accept, on behalf of DEP, any gifts, donations, or bequests for the account. The account cannot exceed $100,000. Any proceeds over that amount must be deposited to the General Fund.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

HB 6503, An Act Concerning Conservation District Funding

This bill establishes the Environmental Quality Fund and the “environmental quality account” within the fund. DEP must use the account for administering central office and environmental quality programs authorized by law. Any balance remaining in the account at the end of a fiscal year must carry forward to the next fiscal year.

By law, anyone, other than a municipality, that files a municipal planning, zoning, wetlands, or coastal management application must pay the municipality a $60 fee, in addition to any other required fee. The town retains $2 of the fee, and pays the remaining $58 to DEP. Under current law, DEP deposits the fee into the General Fund. Under the bill, DEP must deposit the fees into the Environmental Quality Fund. The bill requires DEP to use the fees to fund the Council on Soil and Water Conservation and the eight county soil and water conservation districts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011