Delaware lawmakers eye farmland preservation mandate

    (AP Photo/Jim Suhr)

    (AP Photo/Jim Suhr)

    The state House is set to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment mandating that $10 million be set aside each year for farmland preservation.

    Tuesday’s scheduled vote involves a farmland preservation fund created several years ago under the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Act to help conserve and protect agricultural lands.

    The General Assembly has previously said that $10 million from the state realty transfer tax be set aside each year to fund farmland preservation efforts.

    But the program has received a fraction of that in recent years as lawmakers and administration officials have struggled to balance the budget.

    Under the proposed amendment, starting in fiscal 2018, no real estate transfer tax money could be appropriated or drawn on until $10 million has been set aside for farmland preservation.

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