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Reader Input

Protecting rural Placer County

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Too few in our greater Auburn area seem aware of Placer County’s proposal for development of parking facilities at 5345 Bell Road, Auburn, to provide access to lands managed by the Placer Land Trust and coincidentally provide secondary access to the Hidden Falls Regional Park. Further, the general public is also poorly informed about what this access and trail expansion on some 3,700 acres beyond HFRP might mean in terms of supportive taxation.

The county surely has an economic responsibility in this matter, but strangely, no reporting or disclosure framework is evident, and that speaks to budgeting and budgetary control matters that are critical if misappropriation of funds is a consideration.

Where is the explanation of need for this project? What is the funding base? What are the annual revenue and expenditure estimates? Where is a cost benefit analysis?

Prescient thinking would evolve to a conclusion that projected disbursements for operational costs, and manpower salaries, wages and pension funding should be disclosed. Add to that the acquisition cost of purchase of the 50-acre Twilight Ride property at $1.12 million, infrastructure costs, impacts on county roads, fire danger, trespass, need for law enforcement and myriad other negatives and it is clear that this project is ill conceived. It is unjust that no disclosures have been offered. Only a plan to ramrod this project down the throats of an agricultural neighborhood has been seen.

The taxpayer himself can safeguard against what may lie ahead, but he can only effectively do that if he is informed. That means there must be disclosures on the part of the county.

Predominate use of a trail system and other amenities is expected to be by out-of-county visitors who will come, recreate and leave. The revenues they leave behind will be insufficient to cover development and operational costs, both in the short and the long term. The revenue shortage will mean a loss of Placer County public tax monies, and those monies will be irrecoverable. All Placer County taxpayers will bear the burden.

Become informed. Learn about the grass roots organization, Protect Rural Placer. Check the website, ProtectRuralPlacer.com or email ProtectRuralPlacer@gmail.com

Bart Ruud, Auburn