As a Realtor, I understand the need for new developments in a community. New homes mean new jobs, home ownership, more taxes paid, schools built and a community that will continue to thrive and grow. I also recognize the need for balance in a community by preserving natural habitat, creating open space and a place that adds to the quality of life to its citizens. Just as a person would pay for a lot to build a home and continue to pay property taxes, they should expect to pay for open space; to ensure that the natural history, quality of life and eco-balance are maintained.
I suggest a small percentage of property tax collected by the counties be put into a fund that preserves and protects open space areas within the county's boundaries. If collected from all citizens, the amount can remain conservatively small.
Fundraising is too unpredictable and it places the burden on just a few people, usually the same people repeatedly, and burnout happens over time. Open space and natural habitat areas are available to all who seek them, therefore, should be the responsibility of the whole community.
-- TOBY BOUCHEY, Richland