Levi Otis, Government Affairs Director, is asking you to contact legislators regarding SB 2037, a bill proposed by the interim Water Drainage Committee. This bill imposes a requirement that water boards conduct an economic analysis for any new assessment project. The mandatory analysis would identify a benefit for each parcel of land within an assessment district. The benefit determined by the analysis would set a limit on the assessment on each parcel.
As you know, for any new assessment project conducted by a water board, landowners vote to tax themselves based on the value those landowners perceive from any assessment project. The goal of this bill is to prevent any assessment from exceeding the benefit derived by any landowner, which is an honorable goal, but, in practice, creates legitimate concerns. There are concerns about methods used by economists and engineers in determining and allocating benefits. If these consultants conducting this study do not determine benefits exist that are recognized by landowners, or alternatively if those consultants skew the allocation of those benefits, the landowners could be barred from taxing themselves based on their own observations and perceptions. In other words, this requirement is taking away local control. In addition, this requirement adds cost, time, and red tape to any new water project. This bill is bad for drainage, and it is bad for ag producers.
SB 2037 will be heard by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, January 5, at 10:30 a.m. The following senators serve on that committee:
Senator Dale Patten – District 26
Senator Jeffrey Magrum – District 8
Senator Todd Beard – District 23
Senator Keith Boehm – District 33
Senator Jordan Kannianen – District 4
Senator Greg Kessell – District 39
Contact information for these senators can be found in the above link. If you have a relationship with the above senators, or if one of these senators serve your district, please reach out to them via phone or email and express your concerns.
Written testimony directions. To upload written testimony, click here: https://www.ndlegis.gov/legend/committee/testimony/public-testimony/1387/?hearing=3659 and fill out the form with the testimony as an attachment.
You’ll see on this form that written + virtual testimony is an option. It may be worth clicking that option and seeing if the chairman has a change of heart. If he does, you should receive a link to join the meeting virtually from staff (at least that has been the precedent).
Please call Levi Otis if you have any questions or concerns at 701-200-3427.
Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy