August 31, 2006

MDC, County Continue To Work Together for Community

While the total acreage owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in Scotland County is relatively small, the state organization is doing its part to play a big role in the community.

MDC owns just over 4,000 of the more than 280,000 total acres in Scotland County. While the state entity doesn’t have to pay taxes on that ground, MDC does provide plenty of revenue for the county.

“The Missouri Department of Conservation and counties across the state have a strong history of working together for the betterment of citizens,” said John D. Hoskins, MDC Director. “As the Department strives to fulfill its citizen-created constitutional mandate of protecting and managing the forest, fish and wildlife resources, county governments remain a valued partner.”

In 1980 Missouri voters authorized revenue from the 1/8 of 1 cent sales tax funding the MDC to be used by the Conservation Commission to make payments to counties in lieu of property taxes. That figure was $6,598.85 last year.

But the financial support doesn’t stop there. In 1983 MDC was authorized to provide cost share funding for road maintenance with the county and landowners adjacent to MDC property. The conservation department pays 50-percent of the cost of road upkeep to help ensure roads are properly maintained so the public has adequate access to the conservation areas.

Last year that represented a $14,750 investment by MDC for roads adjacent to Lake Show-Me and the Indian Hills Conservation Area near Bible Grove.

In efforts to protect the state forests and other nature areas, MDC has developed financial partnerships with rural fire departments, including those in Scotland County. Rural departments in communities with smaller than 10,000 population are eligible for 50/50 matching grants from MDC for up to $3,000 in value each year.

Across the state more than 900 volunteer departments have received funding in exchange for a mutual aid agreement with MDC to respond to natural cover fires.

MDC has helped the Scotland County, Gorin and Rutledge fire departments with funding for new protective gear, communications equipment and wildfire suppression gear.

The program also makes equipment available to the departments through the Federal Excess Personal Property program.

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