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Meeting Date: April 10, 2007

Subject/Title: Approve a recommendation from the Agricultural Enterprise Committee to discontinue the ongoing administrative funding for the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust.

Prepared by: Linda Maurer, Economic Development Manager

Submitted by: Bob Brockman, Vice Mayor
Erick Stonebarger, Councilmember

Approve a recommendation from the Agricultural Enterprise Committee to discontinue the ongoing administrative funding for the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust.

On January 24, 2006, the City Council adopted Resolution 2006-10, authorizing work to begin with Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS), a consultancy firm that specializes in, among other things, agricultural enterprise programs, to review and update the City’s Agricultural Enterprise Program and its corresponding ordinance.

On January 23, 2007, the City Council received a presentation from EPS, providing a five year review of the program, including a history on the program’s establishment, program funding and expenditures, accomplishments, as well as future projections, program challenges and providing policy options to the City Council for consideration and discussion. At that meeting, the City Council referred the matter to the Agricultural Enterprise Committee for further discussion and recommendations.

On February 20, 2007, the City Council’s newly-formed Agricultural Enterprise Committee convened to discuss a number of items, including the possible updates and changes to the City’s Agricultural Enterprise Program.

The Agricultural Enterprise Committee, consisting of Vice Mayor Bob Brockman and Councilmember Erick Stonebarger, discussed a number of potential changes to the Agricultural Land Conservation ordinance that they believe would enhance the City’s Agricultural Enterprise Program. These recommended modifications will be brought back to the full City Council for further discussion at a future meeting.

The recommended action in this staff report deals with the administrative funding for the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust (BALT). Since 2002 when BALT was established, the City has contributed approximately $600,000 to fund BALT’s administration for the purpose of acquiring conservation easements for the City. This funding has covered, in essence, all of BALT’s administrative operations since its inception. To date, BALT has achieved one easement transaction in the amount of $305,000 and has been involved in two Transferable Agricultural Credit transactions that have yielded two additional easements.

Over the last two-year Fiscal Year budget cycle, the City has expended approximately $320,000 to fund BALT’s operations. The Agricultural Enterprise Committee believes that the cost to fully fund the operation of BALT over the past several years has not been offset by the easement transactions, in terms of the City’s monetary contribution, nor the acreage conserved.

In terms of available funds, there is an approximate balance of $1 million in the administrative portion of the fees collected by the City, which is used for a couple of administrative purposes, including the annual allocations to fund BALT. At the current rate of administrative spending, there is less than three years of funds remaining to keep BALT operating at its current level. Therefore, given the above described reasons, it is the recommendation of the Agricultural Enterprise Committee that the City Council discontinue future ongoing administrative funding for BALT.

The City and BALT always envisioned the City’s contribution as seed money for the non-profit organization and that BALT intended to become financially self-sufficient over time. The Agricultural Enterprise Committee believes that under the current ordinance, BALT could continue to receive funding under a transaction-based program, as BALT could receive compensation for bringing forward qualified easements approved by the City Council.

There is no fiscal impact to the General Fund associated with these recommendations. There is likely a positive impact of discontinuing BALT’s ongoing administrative funding on the City’s Agricultural Administrative Fund 262.

City Administration
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