Americans to Vote on Open Space Funding
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, November 5, 2002, voters will decide ballot measures to create more than $5 billion in new funding for parks and open space, according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA).
At least 90 communities in 22 states will be voting on land conservation funding. In addition, voters in California, Nevada, and Virginia will vote Tuesday on statewide land protection funding measures.
A complete list of all 93 local and state measures for conservation and parks is available from Land Vote 2002 – www.landvote.org – a service of LTA and TPL. The results of Tuesday’s vote will be available online soon after the balloting is completed and will be published as a report in early 2003.
“Voters across the country have the opportunity to protect their beautiful and special places by approving open space funding on Tuesday,” said Andy McLeod, Director of TPL’s Conservation Finance Program. “This year has already seen the passage of 47 measures for public funding of parks, water supply protection, farmland conservation, and other high priority open space needs. We are hopeful that this trend will continue on Tuesday.”
“Since 1998, voters have approved $20 billion to protect green spaces,” said Russell Shay, Director of Public Policy for LTA. “This year’s ballot line-up shows the priority state legislatures, county commissions, and city councils are giving to land conservation, even in tough economic times.”
Tuesday’s local votes include those in Coconino County, AZ ($19.8 million), Eagle County, CO ($65 million), Fort Collins, CO ($160 million), Collier County FL ($63.7 million), Dakota County, MN ($20 million), Southampton, NY ($200 million), Northampton County, PA ($37 million), Charleston County, SC ($221.5 million), Greenville County, SC ($31 million), and Bellevue, WA ($40 million).
The California, Nevada, and Virginia measures have the potential to create new funding – $3.5 billion (CA Propositions 50 and 51 combined), $89.5 million, and $36.5 million, respectively. Last year no state sought to create new funding for open space (Colorado passed a measure to borrow against state lottery revenue previously approved for open space).
The number of state and local measures in November 2002 – 93 – compares to 86 last year.
Already in 2002, voters in 47 communities in 14 states have approved ballot measures, creating $2.7 billion for open space. These measures include Proposition 40 in California ($2.3 billion) and local measures in Anchorage, AK ($1.6 million), Douglas County, GA ($51 million), Santa Fe County, NM ($3.6 million), and Lehigh County, PA ($30 million).
Most of the measures tabulated by Land Vote are bond measures – ballot questions that authorize the use of bonded indebtedness for the purpose of raising revenue to acquire land for parks and open space. The dollar amounts of each measure are totals of the revenue created over its life (usually 20 or 30 years). When a ballot measure contains no sunset provision, Land Vote estimates its revenue total based on a 20-year duration. In some cases open space is one purpose among several included in a bond. In these instances, only the portion of the bond that is specifically for open space acquisition is included in Land Vote.
“Land Vote 2002”, a partnership of TPL and LTA, is available on the web at www.landvote.org
TPL, established in 1972, is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. TPL helps conserve land for recreation and spiritual nourishment and to improve the health and quality of life of American communities. Visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org
LTA, founded in 1982, promotes voluntary land conservation across the country and provides resources, leadership and training to the nation’s 1,200-plus nonprofit, grassroots land trusts, helping them to protect important open spaces. Visit LTA on the web at www.lta.org
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