Having done a study on “Sustainable and Livable Communities” in our local League of Women Voters, I would urge you to vote for Proposition 14-7 referred to the Nov. 4 ballot by the Benton County Commissioners who would allocate the approximately $975,000 it would bring annually for 10 years. This compares to the $9 million brought in annually by the safety tax we voted for. The measure would allow us reliable funding to preserve natural areas and farmland, create open space, protect wildlife habitat and increase outdoor recreation and educational opportunities. In our study we found that a sustainable and livable community would attract more young professionals to this area as Hanford transitions to a national center for research and development in alternative energy. It is important to keep the talent we have here as well as attract new professionals (think doctors, nurses, dentists) and small businesses. The measure would allow us the funding over several years to buy land and easements from willing sellers and preserve our heritage for our children and grandchildren. Visits to Badger Mountain have gone from 30,000 to 200,000 in 5 years. Wouldn’t we love to have bike/jogging trails that lead to wineries or restaurants and coffee shops that are separate from traffic? We have a little of that now, but there is still a lot of connectivity missing.
The Conservation Futures Act was established by the state of Washington in 1971 as a way for counties to raise funds to preserve open space. Thirteen of the 39 counties in Washington have this fund including Spokane and Ferry counties. On a $200,000 house, you would pay about $12.50 a year or 22 cents per week. The funds would be subject to an independent and published audit and would be reviewed by a Benton County citizen’s committee. Please help make Benton County more “livable and sustainable” and approve Proposition 24-7. You can read our study on our website www.lwv-bf.org.
— SHIRLEY SONNICHSEN, Richland