Elections in Collier County to decide whether or not ‘Conservation Collier’ receives taxpayer money

The election in November will decide not only who becomes president but it will determine what happens to ‘Conservation Collier.’

Richard Albright lives in Collier County and says that he didn’t always bike. “When everything broke with the pandemic, we started reading about what parks are open and I live probably a mile and a half away and never realized how beautiful this entire park is,” Albright said.

Now, he spends multiple days per week at the Gordon River Greenway. “It’s a gift…it’s beautiful…I call it if the Jewel of Naples!” he said.

The greenway is just one of the 21 nature preserves that Collier County has acquired since the inception of the ‘Conservation Collier’ program 17 years ago. The goal of the program is to take environmentally sensitive land and turns it into greenspaces.

Meredith Budd is the Regional Policy Director for Florida Wildlife Association and explains why the program benefits Collier County residents. “That helps to benefit wildlife our water resources our drinking water resources here in Collier County,” she said.

She also wants to make sure the program is continued. But, in November, voters will decide whether to re-establish Conservation Collier through a special tax.

“For every hundred thousand dollars worth of taxable value, you’re looking at a $25 tax associated with it,” Budd said.

Collier County Commissioner Bill McDaniel has voiced some concerns about the tax, saying that because of the economic situation the pandemic has caused, there should be an option to pay into the program voluntarily.

But Albright said, “I think it’s one of the best ways to spend our tax dollars is providing stuff for the community that adds beauty and wonder to your life.”

So for him, the tax would absolutely be worth it.

To pass, the referendum needs a simple majority of 50% plus one vote.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Drew Hill
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