House Committee Restores Funding For Local Program Open Space

The House Appropriations Committee approved increasing the general obligation (GO) bond authorization for Local Program Open Space(POS) by $15.6 million, to a total of $30.1 million for FY 2016. This amount is more than double the $14.5 million authorization included in the Governor’s proposed capital budget.

The additional $15.6 million authorization is intended to backfill the $8.1 million in unencumbered fund balance used to assist with balancing the FY 2015 budget and the remaining $7.45 million is being allocated to bring the funding level up to 75% of the replacement funding for FY 2016 as specified during the 2014 session. Other land purchase and easement acquisition capital programs have also been adjusted to be funded at this 75% benchmark.

Based on the last approved plan, Local POS funding in the capital budget for FY 16 should have totaled $54.1 million, $29.8 million of which would have been in GO bond replacement to offset revenue transferred to the general fund in prior years to assist with balancing the State’s budget. The GO bond replacement for FY 16 and future GO bond replacements have been eliminated in the proposed FY 16 capital budget.

The House of Delegates will debate the capital budget on the floor and the Senate will begin its decision making process this week.  Any differences in the House and Senate capital budget plans will be resolved through a conference committee.

Previous posts on Conduit Street summarize Local POS budget actions taken in the operating budget.