Boulder County Open Space madness rolls on

A July 8 Longmont Daily Times-Call story indicates Boulder County is set to spend another $11 million for open space (OS) acquisitions.

Since I have written a number of letters and commentaries regarding this ongoing OS boondoggle, I feel taxpayers should know the latest mind-boggling numbers from verifiable sources. First, my posted comment to the T-C story…

“Look at the numbers behind this Boulder County runaway enviro-madness…94,000 acres of open space…$200 million bond debt….$67 million county budgeted for open space in 2009 (more than social services and public safety combined); Ron Stewart’s open space kingdom is the biggest racket ever perpetuated on the taxpayers of Boulder County.”

The 94,000 acres figure comes straight from the current BCPOS webpage under “About Us.” The county doesn’t technically own all 94,000 acres–some of it is conservation easements–but it makes little difference since they have full control of the easement lands and pay exorbitant top dollar for the plots (who cares anyway, it’s taxpayer money).

The $200 million total OS debt comes from an editorial I saw in the Boulder Daily Camera in late 2007 (pro-OS, of course). For all I know, the total debt may be considerably more by now.

The $67 million designated for OS expenditures in 2009 comes directly from the adopted Boulder County budget posted online. It’s $34 million from OS Fund II, $21 million from OS Fund I, and $12 million from the GENERAL FUND. It’s a little known fact, but the commissioners take millions every year from the county general fund for OS–Director Ron Stewart admitted as much when questioned by former Mayor Julia Pirnack in front of Longmont City Council in July 2007. This alone is a great outrage in government fund juggling.

Finally, I’ve always been curious about appointed Czar Ron Stewart’s annual salary. I believe it is at least $150K–possibly close to $200K–just never been able to pin it down. I’m sure he’s comfortable in his spectacular mountain-view office at the $6 million OS Taj Mahal (headquarters building) bordering southwest Longmont. What an absolute racket.

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