Municipal Partnership Program

The County of Lehigh, in conjunction with the Sterling Raber Agricultural Land Preservation Board of Lehigh County, has created the Municipal Partnership Program to aide townships in the preservation of their farmland and boost funding for farmland preservation in Lehigh County.  

Municipalities have several options to help preserve their farmland:

  1. Pay "Over the Cap" funds to landowners who appraisals come in over the County Cap. Municipal funds can be used to exceed the cap set by the Farmland Preservation Board in cases where a proposed conservation easement's appraised value is above the county's purchased cap. The total price can not exceed the appraised value of these easements.
  2. "Out of Order Easement Purchase" is another option for a municipality who wishes to preserve farmland within their borders that doesn't fall high enough on the Ranking List for the available funding to preserve through the usual County/State funding methods. The municipality pays for the appraisal. The County Board will pay 1/3rd of the appraised value per acre up to and not over $2000/acre (based on the current Cap total of $6000/acre). The municipality agrees to pay the other 2/3rds and certifies the total with the County's funding total for the year. The municipality has the option to pay more than 2/3rds of the cap.

The additional State preservation funds that are generated by township contribution to the County total can be used to preserve more farmland not only in that municipality, but across Lehigh county. This extends Lehigh County’s preservation funding and capacity.

3   A township may develop a preservation fund on their own to assist in the preservation of farmland. This could be by creating a General Fund line item or by a  voter Referendum.    

 For more details on the Municipal Partnership program contact:

Donna Wright, Farmland Preservation Specialist, at the Farmland Preservation Office 610-336-5680 or at donnawright@lehighcounty.org

Contact your local municipality to encourage their participation in the Municipal Partnership Program!