Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

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Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Willie Sutton Plan

It's an old line but a good one. When bank robber Willie Sutton was asked, "why do you rob banks", he's purported to have said "because that's where the money is". Turns out his answer might also be the answer to the question, why start a land trust? At least in Colorado.
All sorts of suspicions have been raised by a last minute move by the Eagle County, Colorado board of commissioners. The commissioners voted to start a county owned land trust even though the Eagle County Land Trust already exists. It's a small, non-profit that might find itself competing with the county owned land trust for the same funds and property. The land trust executives are more than a little peeved. The commissioners claim their trust would only be a sort of back-up, just in case the private non-profit goes out of business. And it's not like the trust is doing a bad job. Just last week it was named the non-profit of the year by the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau. And what makes it all even more highly suspicious is that the motion was rammed through in the very last meeting of outgoing commissioners. The new commissioners are expected to be more sympathetic to the private trust. So why the rush? This could be a clue.

"Part of the funding for both land trusts could come from the Eagle County-controlled open space tax that generates $2.9 million annually. That money is highly coveted."

I'll bet. Colorado is generating large amounts of cash for land preservation from taxes and from lottery proceeds. It's only natural that great piles of cash begin collecting more than simple interest.

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