Everyone should pay for open space | SierraSun.com

Everyone should pay for open space

A buck here and a buck there have now added up to $50,000 for open space and trails in Truckee. Along with the Truckee Donner Land Trust’s other program ” the real estate transfer fees generated from the Gray’s Crossing and Old Greenwood developments ” the Buck for Open Space shows just how effective non-governmental groups can be at addressing the wants of communities.

A poll of registered voters conducted by the Town of Truckee last year found that a majority are willing to pay for open space. There was support for both a one-quarter cent sales tax and a $56 parcel charge if the funding would be used for permanent protection of open space and “related improvements to water quality protection for streams and the Truckee River.”

Of the people polled, the majority said they’d be more inclined to support the sales tax approach versus the parcel tax.

The news that the Buck for Open Space effort has hit $50,000 in less than two years supports the notion that people value open space and are willing to help pay for its acquisition. It’s also probably a safe assumption that many of those people who’ve agreed to have a $1 tacked on to their dinner bills are from out of town and likely visiting the area to enjoy, you guessed it, open space.

That’s why any effort on the town’s part to put a measure on an upcoming ballot to generate money for land purchases within its limits or in its sphere of influence should be done through a sales tax increase. Such a move would be felt by tourist, long-term visitor, renter and homeowner alike. While property owners are fortunate to own in this beautiful place, they are not the only people who enjoy the wide open spaces.

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