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Alliance Supports Mayor’s Proposed $2 million Budget for PDR

Cattle Grazing on Fayette County Farm

Cattle grazing on Fayette County Farm

In his annual state of the merged government address, Mayor Newberry recommended allocating $2 million of LFUCG funds to the PDR program in FY 2011. If granted by the Council, this local funding will enable PDR to receive $2 million in state and federal “matching” dollars. If accomplished, PDR will have a total of $4 million in its coffers to purchase conservation easements on prime Fayette County farmland.

It is important to note that local PDR funding does not come out of LFUCG’s general fund—but is acquired by selling bonds on the market. By allocating $2 million to the PDR program, LFUCG will not have to “find the money” in our strapped general fund, and it will not increase LFUCG’s current bond service obligations.

In today’s lean budgetary climate, PDR is a huge “bang for our buck”—amounting to just .5% of the total LFUCG annual budget. Further, the “match” scenario between PDR’s local, state, and federal funding sources gives our community an important opportunity to invest twice the money for half the price in farmland conservation- a win-win for Fayette County considering there are currently 45 farms in the PDR pipeline waiting to sell easements on 3,200 acres. This is a crucial prospect—as these farms are the factory floor of Fayette County’s $3 billion agricultural industry, international Bluegrass brand, and emerging local food movement.

The PDR program is a nationally acclaimed initiative that has conserved over 24,000 acres of pristine Fayette County farmland to date. The Alliance strongly supports this program, and urges Council to approve Mayor Newberry’s $2 million budget recommendation.

Council will likely vote on this issue in June, we will apprise you of all developments here at www.fayettealliance.com.