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SB-435 Williamson Act: payments to local governments.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/15/2017 09:00 PM
SB435:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 435


Introduced by Senator Dodd

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Sections 16142 and 16142.1 of, and to repeal and add Section 16142.5 of, the Government Code, relating to agricultural land, and making an appropriation therefor.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 435, as introduced, Dodd. Williamson Act: payments to local governments.
The Williamson Act, also known as the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, authorizes a city or county to enter into contracts with owners of land devoted to agricultural use, whereby the owners agree to continue using the property for that purpose, and the city or county agrees to value the land accordingly for purposes of property taxation. Existing law sets forth procedures for reimbursing cities and counties for property tax revenues not received as a result of these contracts and continuously appropriates General Fund moneys for that purpose. Existing law requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to direct the Controller to make annual payments out of these moneys to an eligible city, county, or city and county for each acre of land that is within its regulatory jurisdiction and assessed under specified provisions of the Revenue and Taxation Code. The amount of payment is $5 per acre of prime agricultural land and $1 per acre of all other land devoted to open-space uses of statewide significance, as defined, or, in counties which have adopted farmland security zones, as provided, $8 per acre of land that is within, or within 3 miles of the sphere of influence of, each incorporated city.
This bill would reduce the amount per acre paid to a city, county, or city and county under these provisions to $2.50 for prime agricultural land, $0.50 for all other land devoted to open-space uses of statewide significance, and, for counties that have adopted farmland security zones, $4 for land that is within, or within 3 miles of the sphere of influence of, each incorporated city. This bill, commencing July 1, 2017, would require the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to direct the Controller to pay an additional subvention of funds to a county, city, or city and county that meets specified criteria upon determination by the Strategic Growth Council that the county, city, or city and county has adopted measures to protect and conserve resource lands and farmland that further the implementation of the applicable regional sustainable communities strategy, as provided. The bill would provide that the amount of the additional subventions would be $2.50 for prime agricultural land, $0.50 for all other land devoted to open-space uses of statewide significance, and $4 for land enrolled in a farmland security zone that is within, or within 3 miles of the sphere of influence of, each incorporated city.
Existing law, for the 2008–09 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, requires the Controller to reduce the amount paid to a city, county, or city and county by 10%.
This bill would delete that requirement. The bill would also require a county, city, or city and county, in order to be eligible to receive subvention payments from the Controller, to adopt procedures to accept new contract applications and to consider proposed rescission of contracts for parcels eligible for a solar-use easement pursuant to specified law.
Existing law prohibits an increase or reduction in the amount paid to a city or county which was paid in the prior fiscal year, beginning with the 1977–78 fiscal year, as provided, in excess of an amount which is equal to the property tax derived from a levy at the rate of $0.03 per hundred dollars of assessed value for the fiscal year, except as affected by an increase or a reduction in the acreage assessed under specified provisions of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
This bill would repeal this prohibition.
By increasing the amount of continuously appropriated general fund moneys authorized to be used for subvention payments, this bill would make an appropriation.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 16142 of the Government Code is amended to read:

16142.
 (a) The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency shall direct the Controller to pay annually out of the funds appropriated by Section 16140, to each eligible county, city, or city and county, the following amounts for each acre of land within its regulatory jurisdiction that is assessed pursuant to Section 423, 423.3, 423.4, or 423.5, or Section 426 if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4, of the Revenue and Taxation Code:
(1) Five dollars ($5) Two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) for prime agricultural land, as defined in Section 51201.
(2) One dollar ($1) Fifty cents ($0.50) for all land, other than prime agricultural land, which is devoted to open-space uses of statewide significance, as defined in Section 16143.
(b) The amount per acre in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) may be increased by the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to a figure which would offset any savings due to a more restrictive determination by the secretary as to what land is devoted to open-space use of statewide significance.
(c) The amount per acre in subdivision (a) shall only be paid for 10 years from the date that the land was first assessed pursuant to Section 426 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4 of that code.

(d)Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for the 2008–09 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, the Controller shall reduce, by 10 percent, any payment made pursuant to this section.

(d) In order to be eligible for subvention payments from the Controller, a county, city, or city and county shall adopt procedures to accept new contract applications and to consider proposed rescission of contracts for parcels eligible for a solar-use easement pursuant to Section 51255.1 and Chapter 6.9 (commencing with Section 51191) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5.
(e) Effective January 1, 2011, if the payment pursuant to this section for the previous fiscal year is less than one-half of the participating county’s actual foregone general fund property tax revenue, the county may make a determination to implement subdivision (b) of Section 51244 and Section 51244.3. The implementation of these sections shall be suspended for any subsequent fiscal year in which the payment for the previous fiscal year exceeds one-half of the foregone general fund property tax revenue.
For purposes of this subdivision, a county’s actual foregone property tax revenue shall be based on the county’s respective share of the general property tax dollars as reflected in the most recent annual report issued by the State Board of Equalization or 20 percent, whichever is higher.

SEC. 2.

 Section 16142.1 of the Government Code is amended to read:

16142.1.
 (a) In lieu of the payments made pursuant to Section 16142, in a county that has adopted farmland security zones pursuant to Section 51296, the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency shall direct the Controller to pay annually out of the funds appropriated by Section 16140, to each eligible county, city, or city and county, the following amount for each acre of land within its regulatory jurisdiction that is assessed pursuant to Section 423.4 or 426 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4 of that code: the Revenue and Taxation Code:

Eight dollars ($8)

Four dollars ($4) for land that is within, or within three miles of the boundaries of the sphere of influence of, each incorporated city.
(b) The amount per acre in subdivision (a) shall only be paid for 10 years from the date that the land was first assessed pursuant to Section 426 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, if it was previously assessed under Section 423.4 of that code. The appropriation authorized by this subdivision shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per year until 2005.

(c)Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for the 2008–09 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, the Controller shall reduce, by 10 percent, any payments made pursuant to this section.

(d)

(c) Effective January 1, 2011, if the payment pursuant to this section for the previous fiscal year is less than one-half of the participating county’s actual foregone general fund property tax revenue, the county may make a determination to implement subdivision (b) of Section 51244 and Section 51244.3. The implementation of these sections shall be suspended for any subsequent fiscal year in which the payment for the previous fiscal year exceeds one-half of the foregone general fund property tax revenue.
For purposes of this subdivision, a county’s actual foregone property tax revenue shall be based on the county’s respective share of the general property tax dollars as reflected in the most recent annual report issued by the State Board of Equalization or 20 percent, whichever is higher.

SEC. 3.

 Section 16142.5 of the Government Code is repealed.
16142.5.

(a)For the fiscal year 1977–78, no payment to a city or county shall increase or reduce the amount which would have been paid to the city or county under the provisions of Section 16142 as it existed on March 1, 1976, as applied to land assessed pursuant to Section 423 or 423.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code for the fiscal year 1977–78, in excess of an amount which is equal to the property tax derived from a levy at the rate of three cents ($0.03) per hundred dollars of assessed value.

(b)For fiscal years subsequent to the 1977–78 fiscal year, no payment to a city or county shall increase or reduce the amount which was paid in the prior fiscal year in excess of an amount which is equal to the property tax derived from a levy at the rate of three cents ($0.03) per hundred dollars of assessed value for the fiscal year, except as affected by an increase or a reduction in the acreage assessed under Section 423, 423.3, or 423.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

SEC. 4.

 Section 16142.5 is added to the Government Code, to read:

16142.5.
 (a) In addition to the subvention rates established in Sections 16142 and 16142.1, commencing July 1, 2017, the Secretary of the Natural Resources shall direct the Controller to pay annually out of the funds appropriated by Section 16140 to each eligible county, city, or city and county that meets the requirements of subdivisions (b) and (c) the following amounts for each acre of land within its regulatory jurisdiction that is assessed pursuant to Sections 423, 423.3, 423.4, and 423.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code:
(1) For a city, county, or city and county that receives an in lieu payment under Section 16142.1, four dollars ($4) for land enrolled in a farmland security zone contract that is within, or within three miles of the boundaries of the sphere of influence of, each incorporated city.
(2) For a city, county, or city and county that receives a payment under Section 16142, two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) for prime agricultural land, as defined in Section 51201.
(3) For a city, county, or city and county that receives a payment under Section 16142, fifty cents ($0.50) for all land, other than prime agricultural land, that is devoted to open-space use of statewide significance, as defined in Section 16143.
(b) In order to be eligible for additional subvention payments pursuant to this section, a county, city, or city and county shall submit an application to the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency demonstrating that it meets all of the following criteria:
(1) The county, city, or city and county submits a geospatial map and tabular inventory of its agricultural land, open space, and watershed land resources, using commonly accepted definitions, including those of the Williamson Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 51200) of Division 7 of Title 5), the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program within the Department of Conservation, the Land Capability Classification System of the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Storie Index. The map and inventory shall be submitted electronically to the secretary and shall contain a description and analysis demonstrating the county’s, city’s, or city and county’s measures to protect and conserve resource lands and farmland, as defined in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 65080.1, and further the implementation of the regional sustainable communities strategy developed pursuant to Section 65080. The county, city, or city and county may adopt the maps of the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program for its jurisdiction for purposes of complying with this paragraph.
(2) (A) The county, city, or city and county has adopted an acreage threshold above which the conversion of agricultural land to nonagricultural uses is deemed to have a significant effect on the environment for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code). The acreage threshold may be expressed in a specific number of acres for the county, city, or city and county or a specific number of acres for different types of agricultural land within the county, city, or city and county.
(B) In developing an acreage threshold, the county, city, or city and county shall comply with the guidelines established in Section 21083 of the Public Resources Code, including Section 15064.7 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, as that section read on January 1, 2017.
(C) This paragraph shall not be construed to exempt any project from the requirement of a cumulative impact analysis or any other requirement of the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code) that is otherwise applicable to the project, or from any guidelines adopted pursuant to Section 21083 of the Public Resources Code.
(3) The county, city, or city and county has adopted a mitigation ordinance requiring the use of specified mitigation measures applicable to projects resulting in the conversion of agricultural land to address both the project and cumulative impacts of the conversion. The mitigation ordinance may require the grant of voluntary agricultural conservation easements, other long-term contractual agreements, or in lieu fees to mitigate the conversion of agricultural land.
(4) The county, city, or city and county certifies that it has adopted a general plan that contains all of the required elements under the Planning and Zoning Law (Title 7 (commencing with Section 65000)) and also meets the consistency requirements set forth by that law.
(5) The county, city, or city and county submits a summary explanation of the relevant local agency formation commission’s policies and procedures on agricultural, open space, and watershed land issues with respect to state law.
(6) The county, city, or city and county submits a summary explanation of how its general plan addresses agricultural land use, land conservation, open-space use, and related issues, including a summary of goals, objectives, policies, and implementation steps that support the general plan.
(7) The county, city, or city and county submits a summary explanation of its policies and procedures for addressing environmental impacts, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code), on the productivity and inventory of agricultural and open-space land resources.
(8) The county, city, or city and county has implemented, or is prepared to accept applications for, farmland security zones pursuant to Article 7 (commencing with Section 51296) of Chapter 7 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 and rescissions of contracts for parcels eligible for a solar-use easement pursuant to Section 51255.1 and Chapter 6.9 (commencing with Section 51191) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5.
(9) The county, city, or city and county provides documentation that it has implemented, or initiated implementation of, the following agricultural viability strategies, which are specifically intended to be integrated with contracts entered into pursuant to the Williamson Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 51200) of Division 7 of Title 5) to conserve agricultural and open-space land:
(A) An adopted agricultural general plan element that sets forth the goals, objectives, policies, and programs that support the protection and enhancement of that county’s agricultural and related open-space land resources and is consistent with the other elements of the county’s, city’s, or city and county’s general plan.
(B) A right to farm ordinance with an effective implementation program, including real estate disclosure.
(C) Zoning for agricultural uses that bases minimum acreage on the agricultural production capabilities of the land.
(D) A specific plan or plans for the protection of significant agricultural areas of the county.
(E) Strategies for the economic enhancement of agricultural enterprises, including water policies, marketing opportunities, and public education.
(F) Performance consistent with standards, policies, and procedures adopted by the relevant local agency formation commission that demonstrate a local commitment to the protection and conservation of agricultural, open space, and watershed lands.
(G) The systematic use of intergovernmental agreements, including, but not limited to, agreements with resource conservation districts, for the purpose of protecting and enhancing agricultural, open space, and watershed lands.
(H) Land use and zoning programs that serve to insulate urban periphery agricultural lands from nuisance impacts of nonagricultural development.
(c) The Secretary of the Natural Resource shall submit a completed application from a county, city, or city and county, including all documentation and analysis as required by subdivision (b), to the Strategic Growth Council. After reviewing the application, the council shall determine whether the county’s, city’s, or city and county’s measures to protect and conserve resource lands and farmland, as defined in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 65080.1, further the implementation of the regional sustainable communities strategy developed pursuant to Section 65080.
(d) A county, city, or city and county may request that the Strategic Growth Council reconsider a denial of its application for additional subvention of funds pursuant to this section. If the county, city, or city and county requests reconsideration, the council may either send the application back to the county, city, or city and county for additional supporting information prior to further reconsideration of the application or uphold the application denial.
(e) A county, city, or city and county that receives an additional subvention of funds under this section shall resubmit documentation every five years to demonstrate its continued qualifications to receive its additional subvention of funds. A county, city, or city and county shall also submit timely documentation to support the receipt of additional subventions of funds under this section if a significant change in its agricultural and open space land conservation program occurs. The Department of Conservation may conduct performance audits as necessary to ensure that a participating county, city, or city and county continues to meet the criteria for receipt of subventions of funds under this section.