Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 284

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 338

Senate, April 5, 2018

The Committee on Environment reported through SEN. KENNEDY of the 12th Dist. and SEN. MINER of the 30th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF COMMUNITY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT FUNDS FOR COMBATTING INVASIVE SPECIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 4-66aa of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) There is established, within the General Fund, a separate, nonlapsing account to be known as the "community investment account". The account shall contain any moneys required by law to be deposited in the account. The funds in the account shall be distributed every three months as follows: (1) Ten dollars of each fee credited to said account shall be deposited into the agriculture sustainability account established pursuant to section 4-66cc and, then, of the remaining funds, (2) twenty-five per cent to the Department of Economic and Community Development to use as follows: (A) Three hundred eighty thousand dollars, annually, to supplement the technical assistance and preservation activities of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, established pursuant to special act 75-93, and (B) the remainder to supplement historic preservation activities as provided in sections 10-409 to 10-415, inclusive; (3) twenty-five per cent to the Department of Housing to supplement new or existing affordable housing programs; (4) twenty-five per cent to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for municipal open space grants and grants to lake authorities or associations for the control of invasive species, provided: (A) Any such grant to a lake authority or association for such purposes shall not exceed one-third of the reasonable costs for such control measures or project, (B) any such grant shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars, and (C) any such lake shall provide for access by members of the general public; and (5) twenty-five per cent to the Department of Agriculture to use as follows: (A) Five hundred thousand dollars annually for the agricultural viability grant program established pursuant to section 22-26j; (B) five hundred thousand dollars annually for the farm transition program established pursuant to section 22-26k; (C) one hundred thousand dollars annually to encourage the sale of Connecticut-grown food to schools, restaurants, retailers and other institutions and businesses in the state; (D) seventy-five thousand dollars annually for the Connecticut farm link program established pursuant to section 22-26l; (E) forty-seven thousand five hundred dollars annually for the Seafood Advisory Council established pursuant to section 22-455; (F) forty-seven thousand five hundred dollars annually for the Connecticut Farm Wine Development Council established pursuant to section 22-26c; (G) twenty-five thousand dollars annually to the Connecticut Food Policy Council established pursuant to section 22-456; and (H) the remainder for farmland preservation programs pursuant to chapter 422. Each agency receiving funds under this section may use not more than ten per cent of such funds for administration of the programs for which the funds were provided.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, fifty per cent of the moneys deposited in the community investment account from January 1, 2016, until June 30, 2017, shall be credited every three months to the resources of the General Fund, provided the funds remaining in the account shall be distributed as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Prior to the distribution of any funds to a lake authority or association pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Auditors of Public Accounts shall, within available resources, conduct a forensic accounting of the expenditure of funds from the community investment account for the two preceding fiscal years and provide a report to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to budgetary appropriations and the environment not later than January 1, 2019.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2018

4-66aa

ENV

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Auditors

GF - Cost

69,460

69,460

State Comptroller - Fringe Benefits1

GF - Cost

23,418

23,418

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Various Municipalities

Potential Revenue Loss

See Below

See Below

Explanation

The bill requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to provide Community Investment Act (CIA) grant funding to lake authorities or associations for controlling invasive species.2 Currently, DEEP uses its portion of CIA funds for grants to municipalities to purchase open space.

The bill results in a potential revenue loss to municipalities as it expands the pool of CIA grant recipients. The revenue loss is dependent upon the grant funding received by lake authorities that otherwise would have gone to municipalities to purchase open space.

The available cash balance in DEEP's subaccount of the CIA, is $4,360,832.

The bill also requires the Auditors of Public Accounts to conduct a forensic accounting of CIA expenditures for the last two fiscal years before DEEP can distribute funds to a lake authority or association. The Auditors would need to hire an Auditor 2 position at $64,460 plus fringes of $23,418 and $5,000 for training expenses to conduct the audit and issue a report by January 1, 2019.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation and the resources of the CIA.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 338

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF COMMUNITY INVESTMENT ACCOUNT FUNDS FOR COMBATTING INVASIVE SPECIES.

SUMMARY

This bill requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to use some of its community investment account (CIA) funds to provide grants to certain lake authorities or associations to control invasive species. Current law requires DEEP to use all of its CIA funds for grants to municipalities to purchase open space. Under the bill, DEEP must use the funds for both municipal open space grants and lake authority or association invasive species grants.

Under the bill, a lake authority or association grant cannot exceed (1) one-third of the reasonable costs for the authority's or association's invasive species control measures or project and (2) $25,000. In order to be eligible for a grant, the lake must be accessible to the general public.

Before DEEP can distribute funds to a lake authority or association, the bill requires the auditors of public accounts, within available resources, to conduct a forensic accounting of CIA expenditures for the last two fiscal years. The auditors must report, by January 1, 2019, to the Appropriations and Environment committees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

BACKGROUND

Community Investment Account

By law, the CIA is a separate, non-lapsing General Fund account that provides funding for open space, farmland preservation, historic preservation, affordable housing, and promoting agriculture.

Funds are divided between DEEP, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Housing, and the Department of Agriculture. The account is capitalized through a $40 land recording fee (CGS 7-34a(e)).

Related Law

By law, DEEP administers an aquatic invasive species management grant program, through which DEEP may make grants to a municipality for up to:

Related Bill

HB 5129 (File 2), reported favorably by the Environment Committee, requires the motor vehicles commissioner, beginning January 1, 2020, to issue “Save Our Lakes” commemorative license plates. It creates a Connecticut lakes and ponds preservation account that DEEP must use, among other things, to restore and rehabilitate state lakes and ponds and on programs to eradicate aquatic invasive species.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

16

Nay

14

(03/22/2018)

TOP

1 The fringe benefit costs for most state employees are budgeted centrally in accounts administered by the Comptroller. The estimated active employee fringe benefit cost associated with most personnel changes is 36.33% of payroll in FY 19 and FY 20.

2 Under the bill, grants to lake authorities from CIA funds cannot exceed one-third, and $25,000 of the reasonable costs for the authority's or association's invasive species control measures or project.