Published: Jul 27, 2010 2:36 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 26, 2010 5:15 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A top Lee Co. official is promoting a plan to suspend the Conservation 2020 tax collection for 2 years, and let property owners hold on to the money.

"This is a good program, but  a luxury in a recession.   I also have a problem with taking all that land off the tax roll," said Clerk of Courts Charlie Green.

The program collects tax from property owners, ever since voters approved Conservation 2020 in the mid-1990's.   It collects about 27 to 28 million dollars a year.   The tax translates to 50 dollars a year for a home valued for taxes at 100-thousand.  It has bought and preserved about 22-thousand acres of land.

"We should leave that money in the hands of the taxpayer," said Green.

Lee Co. homeowner Amber Fricke disagrees.  She says her family goes back 5 generations in Lee, and she loves the 2020 program.

"I consider this a sacred trust, an obligation that the county has to use the money to buy and preserve land!," she told WINK News.   "The voters approved it for one purpose only, and they should stick to that one purpose."

Lee Commissioners will have the final say.  They will talk about the Green proposal during budget meetings in a few weeks.