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  • Writer's pictureBrice Claypoole

Manatee County Land Acquisition Referendum

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

This year, Manatee County voters will get the chance to approve a land acquisition referendum. What exactly is this “land acquisition referendum”? This referendum would add an additional 0.15 mill property tax that would be used to buy land and conserve it. That’s only about $29 per average home per year.

Okay, so now you know what the land acquisition referendum is funding and how much it will cost. But why vote to pay more money? In a long-term view, we will get more out of this than we pay. Conservationists call the benefits of conserving land “ecosystem services”. The main ecosystem services we will get out of preserving this land are clean water to drink (I hope we don’t sacrifice that) and a clean, healthy bay. A healthy bay? How will preserving land keep our bay healthy? Wild lands filter pollution and stop it from reaching our bay. When we remove natural areas and build roads, parking lots and other impermeable surfaces pollution runs off into our bay. Developments also come with yards. The pesticides and fertilizers we put in our yards pollute the bay, so a green lawn is as bad for the bay as asphalt.

And if we don’t have the money to protect land? One example of this is Long Bar Pointe. Long Bar Pointe is a 540-acre property that borders Sarasota Bay. It was a beautiful stretch of important habitat. But it was not protected and now it is being destroyed to make a housing development. This part of the bay was named the Cortez “Kitchen” by fishermen because it was so productive. I would not be surprised though, if with the destruction of Long Bar Pointe (which was an estuary) comes economic losses for fishermen.

As a kid, I cannot vote, but this land acquisition referendum may be even more important to my future than to the future of many who can vote. One day, my generation will be the stewards of the Earth. Taxes like this are important to make sure there will be wild places left for us kids to have the chance adults have had to marvel at the beauty of nature. So please, for the future of everyone, vote yes for the “WATER QUALITY PROTECTION, FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT PRESERVATION, AND PARK AD VALOREM TAX AND BONDS” on the November 3rd ballot.

Thank you to everybody who will vote to make a brighter future for us all.

(Photo by Brice Claypoole)

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Aug 31, 2020

I don't think I've ever seen Long Bar Point, but now I feel in mourning for it. I bet you're right that its development will affect livelihood of both animals and humans. It would be a better world if kids did have the ability to vote!

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