Funding crisis for Soil and Water Conservation District

To the Editor:
    Soil and Water Conservation District employees across the state will be without funding for our health insurance and will lose their coverage, thus significantly impacting the employee workforce since they are currently working without a FY16 budget.
    SWCDs, authorized in 1937 under the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation District Act (70 ILCS 405), receive operational and cost-share funds through the Partners for Conservation Program from the State of Illinois through the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Our SWCDs depend on operational funds to pay salaries, as well as health insurance, of our employees. No part of the operational or cost-share funds go to pay for offices or building overhead, as these are provided by our federal partners, the United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conversation Service (USDA-NRCS) through a Memorandum of Understanding. Since our operational funding has been suspended, these funds are not available to meet our upcoming Sept. 30 insurance payment obligation to Central Management Services (CMS) and we will lose the insurance coverage provided to employees statewide.

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