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Old 05-12-2008, 09:54 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,278 times
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I talked to the Land Use Planner about this land sale last week. She said that although she had not yet read the numerous comments on the proposed sale, and she had not even begun the Environmental Analysis, they will probably move forward with the sale because the land is worth a lot of money. Money talks! It appears that her mind is already made up, and they're just going through the motions of allowing public comment. After all, they have a publicly stated goal of selling 10,000 acres of State land in this fiscal year alone! That's land that the people of Montana own, and will never have access to again. It's a shame to see Montana following the path of some other western states...the "Last Best Place" won't last forever.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:43 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,479,604 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtfishinguy View Post
I talked to the Land Use Planner about this land sale last week. She said that although she had not yet read the numerous comments on the proposed sale, and she had not even begun the Environmental Analysis, they will probably move forward with the sale because the land is worth a lot of money. Money talks! It appears that her mind is already made up, and they're just going through the motions of allowing public comment. After all, they have a publicly stated goal of selling 10,000 acres of State land in this fiscal year alone! That's land that the people of Montana own, and will never have access to again. It's a shame to see Montana following the path of some other western states...the "Last Best Place" won't last forever.
Sure it will, we just won't own it or have access to it anymore!
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Montana
1,219 posts, read 2,811,890 times
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Default Save an elk, eat a politician

Some things are worth more than money... Like camping/hiking/hunting/fishing access for our kids!!

Where do we go next to help fight this kind of thing?

This makes my blood boil!!
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,540 posts, read 12,579,627 times
Reputation: 2952
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtrees View Post
The School Trust Lands in Montana were land given to the state of Montana for the sole purpose of funding the school systems. The DNRC has managed these lands for the most valuable use and given the money to the state school system. For many years, timber was the most valuable (since it's renewable) use of the lands. After people started moving here, real estate became a more valuable use of the lands, and the state land board is required to manage them in the way that brings the most money in.
Trouble is, real estate is a ONE TIME payout. Renewable uses like timber leases make less money each year, but over the long haul will make a great deal MORE money than will that single sale, and will still be making money, EVERY YEAR, 50 years from now. The increased property taxes from private lots probably won't match that. Furthermore, you DO have to factor in that when these lands become unavailable for public use, that puts MORE pressure on other public lands, leading to increased maintenance costs, not to mention crowding (check out any park in California if you want to see how that works -- there's literally NOWHERE left here that you can truly get away from everyone else, because accessable public lands have shrunk so much that there's just not enough square footage left to go around.)

Politicians can be extremely shortsighted about such things... right now the trend is to sell public infrastructure to make a quick buck, never realising how much it COSTS us in the long run.

Last edited by Reziac; 05-13-2008 at 11:33 AM.. Reason: cold typing fingers :)
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Montana
1,219 posts, read 2,811,890 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Trouble is, real estate is a ONE TIME payout. Renewable uses like timber leases make less money each year, but over the long haul will make a great deal MORE money than will that single sale, and will still be making money, EVERY YEAR, 50 years from now. The increased property taxes from private lots probably won't match that. Furthermore, you DO have to factor in that when these lands become unavailable for public use, that puts MORE pressure on other public lands, leading to increased maintenance costs, not to mention crowding (check out any park in California if you want to see how that works -- there's literally NOWHERE left here that you can truly get away from everyone else, because accessable public lands have shrunk so much that there's just not enough square footage left to go around.)

Politicians can be extremely shortsighted about such things... right now the trend is to sell public infrastructure to make a quick buck, never realizing how much it COSTS us in the long run.
Amen... As a person that works with different state and federal government agencies on a daily basis it really blows me away to see how priorities shift to the "right now", without a lot of foresight.

I can't blame the employees for making bad decisions, as the federal government is structured with a military model. (State and local governments are as well, but not as rigidly enforced.) The person actually doing the work is a lot of times told what the outcome needs to be, and they are protected by following the chain of command.

A lot of times, as with the original topic here there are many people involved with the selling of land for state revenue... (in my opinion a VERY bad decision) but there are people who can and do make decisions based on the "old boy (or girl)" type of network. I'd be very surprised if the selling of this particular land in auction (Seeley Lake is a HUGE vacation spot for many influential people) has much to do with revenue for the people of Montana. My suspicion is that it's more about connected people getting their vacation spots and hideaways for their own families.

I could go on and on about this but dinner is calling.. What do you think?
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:14 PM
 
Location: MO Ozarkian in NE Hoosierana
4,679 posts, read 10,848,995 times
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I've not been to your fair state yet, but have seen numerous images, and read awesome stories of its land and peoples. From what I can see here, this is a quite poor decision on behalf of the state gov't. Sure, short term gain financially, but long term will is negative. If there is anything that others [ie: those that don't live in Montana] can do to help, let us know. Thanks, and good luck.

PS: I've found quite little on the 'net about this,,, is the following pertaining exactly to this sale:
Missoulian: Residents mull over Seeley Lake land deal (http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/01/14/news/local/news03.txt - broken link)
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,540 posts, read 12,579,627 times
Reputation: 2952
Bah. I'm a Plum Creek shareholder, and I *still* think this is a horrible idea.

It's a horrible idea for me as a Plum Creek shareholder, and not just because it's bad for Montana. Why? Because just like it'll do to the state's income, it'll bring in short-term profits at the expense of long-term income, since every acre covered in houses is that many fewer acres that'll be producing an ongoing crop in the future. Like I said above, real estate sales are a one time deal.

In fact, it almost smells like an exit strategy. Can you say "Montana Power"?? I knew you could...

.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,540 posts, read 12,579,627 times
Reputation: 2952
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timberwolf232 View Post
A lot of times, as with the original topic here there are many people involved with the selling of land for state revenue... (in my opinion a VERY bad decision) but there are people who can and do make decisions based on the "old boy (or girl)" type of network. I'd be very surprised if the selling of this particular land in auction (Seeley Lake is a HUGE vacation spot for many influential people) has much to do with revenue for the people of Montana. My suspicion is that it's more about connected people getting their vacation spots and hideaways for their own families.
I think you may be on to something. That's certainly what happened around Bozeman with the Ted Turner landholdings, from what my realtor dude said about it.

In California, I've *NEVER* seen a public land sale or swap that proved good for the state or for the people... but they've ALWAYS benefited some influential person or company. We have an infamous example here in my local small city, where the city gave away a $5M piece of land in exchange for a much smaller piece with far less market value... the $5M piece was buildable, meaning the developer who wound up with it made a killing. The much smaller piece (not buildable for some reason) was then earmarked as a park, in an area that still had a lot of open space and doesn't really NEED a developed park. The city told us what a good deal it was because now we had a park where we didn't before. They neglected to mention that aside from the old-boy aspects, the $5M piece that was previously city-owned, therefore not taxable, is now private houses and generating a fortune in new real estate taxes. So yeah, there was some recovery of value thru taxes, but the old-boy in question still got a $5M piece of land essentially for free.

And another big chunk of irreplaceable desert got paved over, purely for profit.

.
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