Charles H. Browning, Jr., and Patricia L. Browning - Page 5

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          County invigorated the Program by removing the purchase price               
          limitation and by adopting a new financing mechanism involving              
          installment purchase agreements.  The installment purchase                  
          agreements were to have a term of approximately 30 years, which             
          the county believed allowed it to leverage its accumulated funds            
          over an extended period.  The county’s obligation to make                   
          installment payments was described by the county as a general               
          obligation of the county.  The county advised interested                    
          landowners that potential benefits of a sale to the county                  
          included tax-exempt interest on the installment obligation, the             
          deferral of taxes on capital gains, and a charitable contribution           
               Although, after 1988, Howard County was not limited by law             
          in what it could pay for development rights, the county initially           
          adopted a policy of paying no more than $6,500 an acre (later               
          increased to $6,600) (the limitation).  The maximum price was               
          paid for the best qualified farmland as determined by a formula             
          adopted by the county, and lesser amounts were paid for lesser              
          qualified farmland.  The limitation was adopted as a budgetary              
          constraint because the county had limited funds to purchase                 
          development rights to the 20,000 to 30,000 acres it wished to               
          encumber.  Given Howard County’s knowledge of the value of                  
          farmland in the county, the limitation was fixed so as to produce           

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Last modified: May 25, 2011