What if you could get your wetland bank property for nothing, pay no property taxes, and could approve your own banking plan and deposits? You can if you are Aitkin County. On January 29th a public notice was posted proposing a new 3,547 acre wetland bank on tax forfeit land. Aitkin County already has a 75 acre bank on county land, and they’re not the only county. Lake of the Woods County has a 634 acre bank on county-owned land.
Because these counties administer the Wetland Conservation Act, they are able to review and approve their own bank plans, assign county staff to work on the projects, and approve their own credit deposits. If these credits are used exclusively for county or other public works projects this may not be a concern; however, when these credits are made available for sale to the public, which both existing banks are, it could put private bank owners like you at a distinct disadvantage.
If you currently compete in BSAs 1 or 5, or are concerned about the precedent this bank sets, please respond to the public notice, and voice your opinion here. Should local governments be allowed to approve their own projects and compete with your wetland bank that is not subsidized by taxpayers?
Download the public notice here.
I’m not in either BSA, but I don’t think a local governing body should have the power to approve it’s own projects. Perhaps a TEP panel outside the area should make sure the rules are being followed. I’m not sure these credits should be competing against private bank holders either. Seems like quite an unfair advantage.