2015 Cabin Site Lease Settlement Agreement
Montrust III Settlement Agreement
Montrust III is the name of a civil suit that was initiated by MonTrust (Montanans for the Responsible Use of the School Trust) in 2012 against the State of Montana, the Montana Board of Land Commissioners (Land Board), and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). MonTrust was joined by the Board of Regents, and these two groups alleged that the administrative rules regarding lease fee calculation methods for cabin and home site leases on state trust land violated the fiduciary, trust, and constitutional duties of the State of Montana, the Land Board, and the DNRC, and failed to secure for the trust a full market value rate of return. Specifically, Montrust III addressed the terms of SB409, which was enacted into law in 2011, and the subsequent administrative rules, as well as the administrative rules that existed regarding Alternative 3B. Montrust III alleged that the rules related to both SB409 and Alternative 3B included fee calculation methods that created lease fees below full market value.
A Settlement Agreement to resolve Montrust III was approved by the Land Board at their October 19, 2015 meeting, and was subsequently approved by the District Court on November 10, 2015.
The Settlement Agreement provided for specific changes in the lease fee structure that will apply to any new lease issued after the date the settlement was approved by the District Court. This means that the terms of the Settlement Agreement will apply to any renewed lease, or any lease issued through a competitive bid after November 10, 2015.
What Happens Next
The DNRC drafted Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) to implement the Settlement Agreement. The Adoption Notice for the new ARM was approved by the Board of Land Commissioners (Land Board) at their May 16, 2016 meeting. The Adoption Notice has been filed with the Secretary of State, and will be published on June 3, 2016. The ARM will be effective on June 4, 2016.
Please see the May Land Board Minutes for information on the meeting.
Please see the Administrative Rule Writing Process page for more information.