Letters to the Editor

Futures spending grossly unfair

The June 21 editorial correctly stated I had been outvoted 2-1 on my proposal to establish three districts in which to spend monies from the Island County Conservation Futures fund property tax. Sadly, the remainder of his comments were pretty much incorrect.

Here’s the story that wasn’t, but needs to be told.

When the Conservation  Futures fund was established, “unregulated” spending gave Camano Island $90,000, North Whidbey $400,000 and South/Central Whidbey $3,2000,000. This is grossly unbalanced and grossly unfair. It’s high time to stop it.

These taxpayer dollars ought to be spent in some reasonable proportion to the areas in which they are collected. It doesn’t have to be exact, but it should be more balanced.

Conservation Futures tax dollars are supposed to purchase and preserve properties most of which provide for good family style recreation, such as trail and parks. The tax payers of North Whidbey need close and convenient family recreation as much as anyone else. Moreover, North Whidbey growth makes it critical to preserve those properties as quickly as possible.

That is why I proposed creating three specific ditricts (South Central Whidbey, North Whidbey and Camano Island) to help us balance our spending more fairly.

The editor seems to suggest a connection between my proposal and purchasing the Boyer property north of Oak Harbor. Wrong! That decision will be made long before my proposal would have taken effect.

There was no hidden agenda, unless the Whidbey News-Times had one.

We must bring fairness and balance to Conservation Futures spending, or the unregulated, unbalanced and unfair pattern will continue. The year 2007 will tell.

Mac McDowell

Island County Commissioner

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