LEE COUNTY, Fla.- An audit of the Conservation 2020 program is highly critical of Lee County for over-paying for parcels of land. The report by the clerk of courts office says Lee paid as much as $152,000 per acre for some woods.
"I am sickened by that. It is horrible. The county must do a better and more diligent job of getting land values," said Julie Armstrong, a Lee homeowner. "I expect the commissioners to be diligent with my tax money."
Every property owner in Lee pays the conservation 2020 tax.
The audit shows: Lee has consistently paid high prices for land, even after the housing collase and huge drop in land value during the recession.
"It's overzealous ignorance," said Clerk Charlie Green. "I think we need a better way to set the value of land. Clearly the county staff is not doing some things right to pay so much money in a down economy."
Commission Chair Frank Mann agrees. "I have suggested a committee of outsiders to be a second opinion on land values. We need that second look. We have been paying more than we should for these parcels of land," Mann told WINK News.