The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is extremely disappointed by the budget cuts to Conservation Collier through reduced funding at the millage rollback rate (a 9% cut) and the raid of almost $49 million from the Conservation Collier Land Acquisition and Maintenance Funds.
Out of all of the services and projects included in Collier County’s proposed budget that are tied to property taxes, to our knowledge, Conservation Collier is the only one that voters were given the opportunity to weigh in on. And, they weighed in with resounding support – nearly 77% of voters affirmed that they wanted to be taxed in order to fund Conservation Collier.
The fact that 4 out of the 5 Commissioners chose to ignore the will of their constituents is a complete breach of public trust and should be of tremendous concern to voters.
It is also short-sighted. Conservation Collier lands provide tremendous public benefits, along with making Collier County the special place that it is today. The natural areas and preserves that we are fortunate enough to have are foundational in making Naples the economic generator that it is. Our natural environment is what makes our community a cut above the rest and Conservation Collier is an integral part of this.
We thank Commissioner Saunders for voting against this raid and standing in support of the will of the voters and the integrity of the Conservation Collier program.
Click on our prior blog for additional information.
Over the past two decades, Conservation Collier has successfully purchased environmentally sensitive lands throughout Collier County. Protecting native habitats for wildlife and listed species and preserving special places that are an integral component of our community’s character.
Protection of sites like these can continue only if the Collier County Commission implements the will of the voters, who in 2020, by an overwhelming majority, enthusiastically supported funding Conservation Collier.
Some protected locations through the Conservation Collier Program:
- Cocohatchee Creek Preserve
- Freedom Park
- Pepper Ranch
- Otter Mound Preserve
- Gordon River Greenway
See full list and more information on Conservation Collier here.