Letters – to the ECT

Want to add your Voice – to this Years – Election Discussion?  Contact the ECT folks via EMail – Staff-at-EagleCountyTimes.Com

On Commissioner Stavney and the Land Trust

by Beric Christiansen, Gypsum Colorado (photo)

Eagle County led by Jon (please re-elect me) Stavney and his two spendthrift Commissioner peers…recently purchased 160 acres of property adjacent to the Homestead neighborhood in Edwards for over $3.0 million of EC Taxpayer money to be counted as Open Space.

In a recent article in the Vail Daily by Jason Denhart, Director of Communications and Development for the Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT), stated that the EVLT wants to purchase a whopping 1280 acres of additional property to the south of the 160 acres but with NO direct access between the two properties. Say, What?  Our County paid ~$20,000/per acre for the 160 acre purchase. At this price per acre – the cost to our County would have a price tag of ~$26 million paid for by the Taxpayers of Eagle County.

Consider…as an alternative use of Taxpayer funds…doesn’t $26 Million Taxpayer dollars still buy a lot of Fire Protection and Public School Teachers?

This proposed purchase would also eliminate another piece of property from the Property Tax tax rolls of Eagle County forever…and would necessitate additional Taxpayer spending and maintenance by Eagle County to provide public access, with parking to access for recreational opportunities. Access (read: additional traffic) would only be on Lake Creek Road as the Allen 80 acre property sits between the 160 acre L-shaped parcel already purchased and the 1280 acres being proposed for purchase and therefore there is no contiguous boundary to permit public/taxpayer access.

The question that has not been answered by current candidate Jon Stavney, is why he and the other two Commissioners and the EVLT want to spend a calculated $26 million for 1280 acres when there are already an incredible 3.5 million acres of public Forest Service land just to the east of the 1280 acres that could be easily accessed by purchasing an easement through the Scudder/Webster ranch for a fraction of the estimated ~$26 million purchase price!

Isn’t the existing 3.5 million acres enough recreational land in this area?  Just where is the public outcry for more, Commissioner Stavney?  This large planned expenditure is most likely one of the reasons Jon Stavney and the other Commissioners have refused to trust the citizens/taxpayers of Eagle County and put the repeal of the “open space tax” on your County ballot for a public vote as there is an excellent chance the tax would be repealed and this immense expenditure of taxpayer money would be stopped. The EVLT does not have $26 million currently and therefore the “open space tax” must continue for years to fund this $26 million Taxpayer nightmare. In addition, if this expenditure is made it means that little additional funding will remain for other land purchases elsewhere in Eagle County – with easier access and more varied recreational uses including along the Eagle and Colorado Rivers.

Let’s stop this sort of spending by electing Jeff Layman and Courtney Holm as our new (majority) County Commissioners who trust the citizens of Eagle County and will let them vote on whether to continue Property Taxes being used to fund expenditures of this magnitude.

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