** Archived Article - please check for current information. **
July 27, 2012
SC Conservation Bank Board meets, issues grant awards
The South Carolina Conservation Bank had its biannual meeting July 24, 2012 in Columbia. This is the first meeting that the state agency has had with its usual funding source of Documentary Stamp Fees since 2008.
For Fiscal Year 2012-2013 the General Assembly extended the Conservation Bank Act for five additional years and gave the Bank an opportunity to have its full funding restored for this year. The Bureau of Economic Advisors estimate of funding for the upcoming budget cycle is approximately $7.5 million. Additionally, the Bank will receive $2 million from last fiscal year (2011-2012) as a result of a budget proviso passed last year. The Bank used the $2 million to pay off its previously approved grant commitments. As to the spending plan for the $7.5 million of funds for the new-year, the Bank Board decided to expend approximately 60% of those funds on 19 proposals received since 2008, and further decided to hold 40% for the next Board meeting in October 2012.
Board Chairman Weston Adams, III stated that, "This spending plan allows us to pay off our existing commitments, fund several significant new conservation grants and retain some funds for new applications to be dealt with at the October 2012 Board meeting. We are excited about the enthusiastic response at today’s meeting, and the large crowd in attendance is indicative of the wide interest in what the Bank does."
The Conservation Bank at this meeting agreed to fund 19 new grant applications conserving 10,206 acres of significant lands in 8 counties across the State at an average cost per acre to the State of $443 per acre. This brings the total amount of lands conserved by the Bank statewide to 162,926 acres since the state agency was funded in 2004.
Marvin Davant, Executive Director of the Bank said, "The addition of these properties is a very much appreciated opportunity for the Bank and the great landowners of our state who voluntarily want to protect their lands for future generations. It is certainly important to our economy and our tradition of having great natural resources. The Bank and its dedicated Board members appreciate the help and support of our General Assembly and the Governor’s Office in supporting the efforts of the Bank to keep South Carolina a special place."
Information concerning the Conservation Bank including an updated online application can be found on the Bank’s website. The next application deadline is July 31, 2012.
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