By Jessica Simmons
In a contentious election, Collier County voters were relatively united on at least one ballot item. The Conservation Collier Referendum passed with 76.5% approval. This measure re-approves a .25 mil property tax to purchase environmentally sensitive lands and preserve them. A similar measure was enacted at 60% approval in 2002 and acquired land for ten years.
The Collier County Republican Executive Committee officially opposed it. Some opponents believe that the current economic climate is inappropriate for new property taxes and that if residents wish to support conservation, they can do so by voluntarily donating to charities. Some also point out that Collier County already has a significant amount of existing land in conservation.
Proponents of the measure contend that the constituents being taxed are property owners who vote in the county. Pointing out that “The preserved areas serve to support a sustainable environment, including aquifer recharge areas and floodplain management. In addition, private preserves within developments enhance real estate values, quality of life, and are aesthetically pleasing.”. (https://www.floodsciencecenter.org). Furthermore, the program operates on the voluntary sale of the property to the county by the owners, protects wildlife habitats, and prevents excessively rapid development.
Staff Writer – Community