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Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

 

Action

Consideration by Council of staff recommendations regarding any unspent balance in the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Fund.

April 25, 2016

TFRLCP staff, partners and applicants have considerable experience working through the negotiation and closing of conservation easements on private working lands. It is not uncommon for unforeseen delays, changes in landowner plans, or inability to work out easement details, to result in extensive delays in closing or failure of a project to close altogether. In such cases it would not be possible to spend or appropriately encumber the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Fund (TFRLCF) awards within the current biennium. Funds not spent or appropriately encumbered by September 1, 2017 will revert to the state's general revenue fund.

A number of worthwhile projects have been submitted and ranked for which there is currently insufficient TFRLCP funding. Staff recommends that should a successful applicant withdraw their project, or if staff determine a project cannot be closed in time to take advantage of an award, the funds related to that award be offered to the next highest ranking project applicant, up to the amount requested in their application. In the event the applicant is unable to close the project with the available TFRLCP funds, or if the funds cannot be appropriately encumbered by August 31, 2017, the available funds would be offered to the next highest ranking applicant, until all available funds can be used to fund submitted project proposals.

Recommendation:
“In the event a project authorized for funding by the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council is withdrawn or is unable to make use of the grant award, the Council authorizes staff to negotiate a funding contract with the next highest ranking project or projects that can be closed within the necessary time frame using available funds.”