MINUTES

56th ANNUAL MEETING

Tan-Tar-A Resort Ė Salon A

Osage Beach, Missouri

December 1, 2004

 

The meeting was called to order by President Steve Oetting at 8:00 a.m., Wednesday,

December 1, 2004.

Steve Oetting introduced special guest Don Fischer of the Parks & Soils Citizens Committee. Don Fischer gave a short presentation on the work of the Citizens Committee. He stated that the Committee would like to pass a bill through the House and Senate in the 2005 session that would put the sales tax back on the ballot with the change in the wording that it would automatically be put on the ballot every ten years for approval. He stated that the Districts will need to promote this and help get the voters to approve it. He stated there have been rumors of putting State Parks in the Conservation Department and having them supported by the 1/8 cent sales tax for Conservation. This would split the partnership of the sales tax and he urged that we need to keep this partnership in tact for the good of the state parks and soil conservation.

Steve Oetting called roll to establish a quorum. 64 Districts answered roll call and established a quorum present.

The minutes of the 2003 Annual Meeting were approved as presented. Motion was

made by Livingston County, seconded by Cole County. Motion carried.

 

The treasurer report for the year November 1, 2003 to October 31, 2004 was

given. The report is from Training Conference to Training Conference, however

accounting for MASWCD is calendar year. A motion was made by Daviess County, seconded by Clark County to approve the Treasurer Report. Motion carried.

Liz Brown gave the Commission Report. She stated it is important to keep the lines of communication open. The Commission is always glad to hear from the Districts. She stressed that part of the District Boardís job is to keep the Commission informed. She also stated that she felt the legislation fix to the Parks and Soils Sales Tax was the answer. She also stressed that it is very important for private landowners to make the decisions for their farms.

Roger Hansen gave the NRCS report. He stated that he and Steve Oetting had just recently signed a cooperative agreement for $20,000 for capacity building for MASWCD to provide additional training in the state. He stated that 10 years ago the Missouri NRCS budget was $34 million. Now that budget is $87 million because of the Farm Bill programs. These additional funds put more conservation on the land and compliment the state cost-share program. Of the past yearís budget, $47 million was for financial assistance to farmers. Roger stated that he had a high number of staff 2 years ago at 487, currently around 476. He stated he would like to sustain the 476, but not sure if he can and continue support with vehicles and computers, etc. He plans to keep around 450. Technical Service Providers was new last year. He has entered into agreements with some 25-30 districts for temporary help in high workload counties. He plans to do that again this year. The Area Conservationists are working on where the funds make the most sense. The district must match these funds 50/50 to keep the funds non-competitive. There are $1.3 million funds going to the private sector for technical help. He stated he felt there was a wonderful partnership in Missouri, no state does it better.

Steve Oetting gave a Presidentís Report. He stated he had enjoyed that past year working on several issues, however, the biggest issue is the sales tax renewal. He stated the associationís web site is www.maswcd.net and there are several things that can be found there. The minutes for several years are posted there and the agendas for upcoming meetings will be posted there as well. He stated that he wants to work to improve communication with the districts. He encouraged the districts to work with the Area Directors. He stated that there will be guidelines posted on the web site that will show how districts can go about addressing issues without having to wait for the resolutions process. He stated the improved policy manual was approved last year and it is the intention to role approved resolutions into the policy. This policy gives MASWCD the opportunity to represent the districtsí feelings on issues. He stated the resolutions process is important in setting policy. The process of taking the individual resolutions to the Commission, etc., may change, and will more appropriately address the use of the policy. He stated this is the 60th anniversary of MASWCD and the history book has been revised for this. The role of conservation is teamwork. Steve stated that the training process MASWCD would like to use is to build a better team effort, hoping to include district staff in training on Farm Bill programs. He also stated he plans to work with Extension to help the Extension supervisors feel more comfortable in their role. Steve stated that they will be looking at the economic impact of the cost share dollars as to how many times that money turns over in a community. This could be very important information that can be used in the sales tax renewal efforts.

Eli Mast gave the NACD report. He stated that he had been representing Missouri for the past 5 years on the NACD board, and that NACD represents the local districts at the national level. He stated that Congress had attempted to finish up work on the federal appropriations. A small piece of language that was inserted into the final bill passed by the Senate and House would allow appropriations committee chairmen and their staff to review individual tax returns. Upon noticing the language after Senate action, it was removed and the Senate then voted again on the omnibus package. The House has not yet voted on the new bill but is expected to do so the week of December 6. Currently much of the government is operating under a continuing resolutionóitís third one, which expires December 8. Before finalizing the omnibus, lawmakers inserted a 0.8 percent across the board cut to programs, departments and agencies. NACD is gathering the final numbers now. NACD changed fiscal years to correspond with the federal fiscal year. The 2005 quota requests have been sent to the districts. This past year we had the highest quota paid from Missouri ever. He thanked the districts for that, but stated that there are several districts who are still not supporting NACD. He encouraged he districts to attend the NACD national meeting in Atlanta on February 5-9. HE also encouraged districts to seriously consider NACD quota support. He stated that paying quota is buying equity in the national organization. He urged districts to contact him if they had questions. The NACD website is www.nacdnet.org.

Judy Stinson gave a report on the 2005 Canon Envirothon. She stated that Missouri is hosting this national competition that will be held in 33 weeks in Springfield at Southwest Missouri State University. She stated that the committee planning this event met with the Canon executive committee in October in Springfield and visited the teaching and testing sites. The fund raising is going very well. Volunteers are currently being recruited and she urged if someone was interested in volunteering to contact Rose Marie Hopkins at the DNR Program Office or Debbie Gudgell at the Livingston County SWCD office.

Steve Oetting reported that the 2003 resolutions have been incorporated into the MASWCD policy. There was a copy of the revised policy in the conference packets along with the 2004 resolutions and by-law amendments.

Eli Mast, Resolutions Chairman, asked Christian County to explain their By-Law Amendment #1. Terry Bohmont of Christian County stated they were asking to have only emergency resolutions from the floor. Christian made a motion to present this resolution for approval. This was seconded by Clark County. Several counties voiced opinions in opposition to this by-law amendment. The By-Law amendment failed with a vote of 18 in favor and 45 against.

By-Law Amendment #2 proposed by MASWCD was withdrawn.

Eli Mast stated that over the last 5 years MASWCD has made several changes to the by-laws and policy, trying to make MASWCD a more workable association. Last year a new policy was approved, not perfect, but a start. He reviewed what is policy and what is a resolution. Policy is an adopted course of action, doesnít mean it will all be accomplished. A resolution is not an action item but an opportunity for districts to express concerns, a means of adding to, changing, and deleting policy. The procedure used in the past has not been working. The Commission gets the resolutions passed at the Annual Meeting in a raw form. The score for the past 25 years is zero in getting actions from resolutions implemented. The mission link is MASWCD, the Area Directors have not been being utilized. He stated he is proposing that resolutions can be brought at any time to the Policy Committee. He stated that if a district has a concern or issue, they should first check the policy to see if the issue is current policy. If it is current policy, then they should contact their Area Director so that he or she can take the issue to the state board for discussion.  He stated that there are some issues we cannot do anything about due to certain constraints. If it is something the state board can agree on and come up with a workable proposition through help of the Program Office, then MASWCD will take it to the Commission and he guaranteed it will work better. If the concern or issue is not in current policy, then a resolution is needed to be brought to the Annual Meeting to get the issue approved to be included in the policy. He stated that at the end of the Annual Meeting all resolutions passed will be included in the policy and all the partners will receive a copy of the revised policy every year. After discussion a motion was made by Gasconade County, seconded by Cole County to accept the new policy procedure. Motion carried unanimously. Eli stated that the step-by-step guidelines will be posted on the MASWCD web page.

Resolution #1, submitted by Jefferson County concerning storm water retention structures.

Jefferson County moved approval of the resolution and incorporate it into the policy. This was seconded by Newton County. Jefferson County stated this would be a good thing to help with the sales tax renewal. Livingston County stated they were concerned about attracting the attention of the urban population and we donít have enough funds for that.  Resolution failed with a vote of 4 in favor and 49 opposed.

Resolution #2, submitted by Jefferson County concerning the expenses for watershed representatives. Jefferson County explained there was a lack of understanding when they submitted the resolution that has now been resolved and they withdrew the resolution.

Resolution #3, submitted by Marion County concerning when to hold the Training Conference. Marion County moved approval of the resolution. This was seconded by Lewis County. There was a question if the cost of having employees attend on the weekends had been considered. The resolution failed with a vote of 17 in favor and 41 opposed.

Resolution #4, submitted by Stone County concerning a statewide Nutrient Management Practice. Stone County moved the resolution be approved and incorporated into policy. They explained that this practice is currently available in SALT projects only. This was seconded by Barton County. Eli pointed out that this could not be done under the current rules but could still be part of MASWCD policy. Cole County stated they were opposed to this, that Cargill, etc., producers were mandated to do this and they didnít feel it was a proper use for the tax dollars. The resolution failed with 9 votes in favor and 43 votes opposed.

Resolution #5, submitted by Stone and Benton Counties concerning a statewide Pest Management Practice. Benton County deferred to Stone County for motions and explanation. Stone County moved this resolution be approved and incorporated into policy. They explained it was the same rationale as the previous resolution. This was seconded by Barry County. The resolution failed with 9 votes in favor and 44 votes opposed.

Resolution #6, submitted by Benton County concerning a statewide Well Decommissioning practice. Benton County moved this resolution be approved and incorporated into policy. This was seconded by Polk County. Clinton County stated they felt this was already provided by Extension. Cole County stated they felt this was the same as the 2 previous resolutions. Jefferson County stated that it may not be able to be put in effect right away, but would go into the policy and give MASWCD direction. Extension said yes they had technical assistance but not financial assistance. The resolution failed with 21 votes in favor and 31 votes opposed.

Resolution #7, submitted by Benton County concerning a statewide Spring Development practice. Benton County moved approval of this resolution and it be incorporated into policy. This was seconded by Madison County. The resolution failed with 16 votes in favor and 36 votes opposed.

Eli Mast asked for any resolutions from the floor.

Livingston County presented the following resolution from the floor: Livingston County urges the Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts to go on record as supporting the renewal of the Parks and Sols Sales tax in its current form. Livingston County moved this resolution be considered from the floor, this was seconded by Daviess County. The vote was unanimous for approval to bring this from the floor. Then Livingston County made a motion this resolution be approved and incorporated into MASWCD policy. This was seconded by Cole County. There was a question about the meaning of in its current form. It was explained that meant in the current form of 50/50 with the state parks, did not refer to the need for initiative petitions to get the issue on the ballot. The resolution passed with vote in favor as unanimous, no opposition.

The policy will be revised by the resolution from the floor and with the proposed changes by MASWCD of minor wording changes and the addition of the statement of supporting the wording of the legislation to put the sales tax automatically on the ballot. A motion was made by Daviess County, seconded by Cole County to approve the revised policy. Motion carried unanimously, no opposition.

Jefferson County expressed their feelings about the importance of the economic impact information and its benefit to the renewal of the sales tax. They stated that some junior colleges have already been gathering this type of information.

Steve Oetting had the new Area Directors stand for induction. They are: Fred Feldmann from Area 6 and Harry Robbins from Area 8. Their duties will officially start at the end of this meeting. Tokens of appreciation were given to the outgoing Area Directors: Kathryn Braden and Steve Huber for their time spent on the MASWCD Board of Directors.

There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.