Delta County Forestland response
We felt the need to respond when Joel Frizzell wrote his letter titled “Delta County Forestland”, because of his misrepresentation of past articles, statements and facts.
First, it is not a park and that is why people respond to you “What Park”. That is why, when it was named, the word park was not used. It is forestland that is managed as forestland with recreational activities associated with forestland.
The property was purchased with a state grant from the MNRTF which was established in 1984 when Michigan residents voted in favor of Proposal B. “The constitutional amendment required oil, gas, and other mineral lease and royalty payments be used to both acquire (75%) and develop (25%) public recreation lands” . The county did pay out of general fund taxpayer money $34,231.35 for 1,400 acres of forestland with exceptional future timber value if managed properly. That is why the county turned over the management authority to the Delta Conservation District who also are the operational authority for Delta County Parks and campgrounds. Within the purchase price, back taxes were paid to all because the land was in CFA, calculated by the MDNR for a total of $111,763.45. Prior to the sale, these back taxes were not the responsibility of Delta County. Also, after the sale, the county donated $3,500.00 directly to Cornell Township for their fire department.
You also stated that, “purchased without the taxpayer in mind”. The entire process was conducted with the taxpayer and future revenue-vs-cost in mind. The conservation district representing the county worked for over four years on this fantastic purchase for the simple reasons of: 1) economic return and 2) recreational opportunities for all residents and non-residents. Separate public meetings were held under trust fund regulations, not to mention county board and conservation district meetings held under the Open Meetings Act. Also, there was numerous public outreach information provided through the Daily Press and local radio stations and TV.
You also stated that, “no one in Cornell knew such a public land purchase was in the making”. We find that interesting because both conservation district and county board members and staff attended Cornell Township Board meetings during the process, and you were in attendance. Also, we will challenge another statement you made stating, “picture those half million-dollar homes that will be built along the border”, as was told to the Cornell Township Board. The only access to possible properties for sale bordering the forest are seasonal at best dirt roads and no utilities, anyone would reason that camps maybe, but not half million-dollar homes in Delta County.
In closing, you sarcastically invite county residents to go to county board meetings to, “express their joy, emotions and thanksgiving to county commissioners” for the purchase of the property using taxpayer dollars. We think paying basically $24.45 per acre for stocked timberland is being very fiscally responsible with taxpayer money and will pay large dividends and recreational opportunity well into the future.
Patrick Johnson –
Chairman, Delta County
Jack Herrick – Chairman, Delta Conservation District