Finance committee rejects stewardship purchase proposal

Finance committee rejects stewardship purchase proposal

Legislators have blocked a $346,000 grant to a conservancy group to help buy 100 acres in Dane County.

The Department of Natural Resources wanted to give the money to the Natural Heritage Land Trust to help it purchase the land for $685,000 from the estate of Richard and Arlene Nelson. The DNR and the town of Dunn currently hold a conservation easement on the property that prevents development. An NHLT appraisal valued the land at $574,000. The DNR appraised the land at $685,000.

The Legislature’s Republican-controlled finance committee voted 12-4 on Monday to halt the grant process. Committee Republicans said $685,000 is too much and questioned why the DNR’s appraisal was higher than the NHLT’s evaluation.

A DNR spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a message.