Members of the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee on Tuesday unanimously recommended that the County Board endorse a resolution calling for more funding of county Land and Water Conservation Departments across the state.
The resolution, passed at the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association’s annual conference last month, states that Wisconsin routinely allocated $9.3 million a year to support the county departments in biennial budgets from 2001 to 2011, but that has been cut to $8 million the last two budget cycles.
Gov. Scott Walker’s recently introduced 2017-19 budget again allocates $8 million annually. The resolution urges the governor and Legislature to restore the $9.3 million appropriation, “recognizing the valuable service that county conservation employees provide in helping Wisconsin farmers to grow our state’s agriculture while preserving the state’s land and water resources for future generations.”
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau and Wisconsin County Association have also endorsed what the resolution calls “this base level of funding.”
Supervisor Chuck Wagner, who brought the resolution to the committee, acknowledged that “where the money comes from” is always an issue.
“The Environmental Fund at the state currently has, I believe, $7 million to $9 million in it, so $1.3 million could very easily comes out of that fund,” Wagner said. “This isn’t like extra tax money that we’re trying to charge people or whatever. The money’s already there, it’s in a fund that is generally used for environmental improvements. I don’t think that anybody could argue that the land and water conservation departments in every county in the state aren’t doing things to try to improve the environment.”
The County Board will consider the resolution when it holds its regular monthly meeting at 5 p.m. April 18 at the Kewaunee County Administrative Center, 810 Lincoln St., Kewaunee.
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