October 2004 Views
Tom Collins: Candidate for District 1 Keweenaw County Commissioner
LAC LA BELLE -- Keweenaw County is changing fast even though it still looks the same to many people. It is changing fast because Lake Superior Land Company is selling off their land, and they have proven to be a reasonable and trusted landlord. However, others to follow may be friendly at first, but not in the end.
Without public interest and action, new large land owners, most likely from the outside, could dominate Keweenaw County. Today, in most popular areas in the United States, locals are getting pushed aside every day by these powerful interests. The only recourse to attempt to moderate these economic forces is through land use planning and zoning.
So far we have had some luck because the Tip of the Keweenaw land purchase was made by public agencies that require public input and dialogue. I am in favor of good planning and good communication in a planning system that is transparent and accountable to the public. Without these public serving elements, the market forces in the private sector have the potential to squeeze out hard-working individuals and families.
Keweenaw County is currently very poor, but as tax values become uncapped it has a very strong potential to be very well off. But all of this could be cut short if future development demands expensive infrastructure. Right now we do need more tax revenue and nothing needs to be cut. I am not in favor of raising taxes -- only in very special cases desired by the majority. The County's tax revenue potential is fertile, and I am in favor of just letting it grow over time.
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