NTF Issue Paper: legwatch146.doc. 4-17.

BACKGROUND. Natural Resource Districts (NRDs) eager to build unneeded dams along NE waterways currently use a loophole to prevent adjacent government subdivisions from having financial influence on dam-building decisions. Many such dams benefit only private developers who reap millions from selling property near or on the lakeshores. Such dams provide no swimming and little fishing opportunities because of silting and pollution from insecticide and pesticide runoff.

LB 390. This bill, sponsored by State Sen. Joni Albrecht, would amend current law pertaining to storm water bonds issued by NRDs encompassing Omaha and Lincoln. Present law permits the county board in Douglas and Sarpy Counties to pass resolutions disapproving the construction of dams funded by general obligation bonds, only if the project sits within their exclusive zoning jurisdiction. Currently, the Douglas County Board cannot stop any such bonds, because none of the dams are within their exclusive zoning jurisdiction. LB 390 would amend the statute to allow both county boards to disapprove a dam project located within their zoning jurisdictions, minus the word “exclusive.” Thus, the 2 counties could disapprove unwanted and unneeded dam projects throughout their counties and save taxpayers from higher property taxes levied by the NRDs. Specific NRDs, like the Papio-Missouri River NRD, could no longer issue bonds to build unneeded dams, if the county board objects. During the 2009 debate on an original NRD bonding bill, the Papio NRD assured senators that county boards would have influence in the building of dams in their counties. However, the NRD maneuvered to add the word “exclusive,” which ultimately negated county influence, and proceeded to ignore county commissioner objections. LB 390 sits in the Natural Resources Committee.

TAKE ACTION NOW. Contact the following Natural Resources Committee senators to vote to advance LB 390 to the full Legislature: Joni Albrecht, Dan Hughes, Bruce Bostelman, Suzanne Geist, John McCollister, Dan Quick, and Lynne Walz. Stop the Papio-Mo. River NRD and others from overtaxing citizens to pay for general obligation bonds funding unneeded dams that silt up quickly and provide few recreational offerings. Low-impact development like dry dams, terracing and contouring, and wetlands easily can control flooding along Nebraska streams in metropolitan areas.

Research, documentation, and analysis for this issue paper done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. This material copyrighted by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission granted for its use by other groups in the NE Conservative Coalition Network. 4-17 C.

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