Private property under attack |

Private property under attack

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

One of the major problems facing our ability to maintain America’s way of life is the increasing intensity of attacks on private property rights.

I have condemned property tax as the primary attack on the whole concept of ownership of property and maintain that it is an outright action that says the individual in reality only rents property.

Recently, the Legislature tried to pass a bill allowing hikers and recreational interests the ability to travel through private land without notification of the landowner.

That would have increased liability, lowered production and lowered land values.

This was another challenge to the concept of private ownership.

Another encroachment on the concept of private ownership is the idea of adverse possession.

Originally this was to accommodate highly necessary buildings such as fire stations and schools.

We never resorted to such an action when I was on the Re-2 board. I did, however, use the threat in acquiring land for the Silt fire station.

That alone was a confirmation that government really controls your land.

Now the process is being used by city and state governments to accommodate the construction of things like shopping centers.

The major motivating factor here is to increase tax revenue.

I have attended the public meetings hosted by the county to purportedly get citizen input on their plans for population growth and town expansion.

These “Proposed Land Use Directions” are a clever effort by the county government to dictate land use with no consideration of personal ownership.

Here’s an example of how this works.

The church I attend had a building fund sitting in the bank. The decision was made to invest in a piece of land to secure the fund and possibly future construction.

The nine-plus-acre parcel is mountainside pasture. It is not contiguous with any municipality and has never been anything but pasture.

The land has no utilities and limited access.

In spite of all this, the assessor declared it “vacant residential” and raised the property tax by $2,000. So much for good investment!

The county is asserting its ownership of your property by controlling its use now and in the future.

This is done by setting a series of conditions that must be met regarding the use of the land.

Access, sun exposure, slope of the land and other conditions dictate its use.

I know a family who built a house about a mile south of I-70 and across the Colorado River. They were forced to lower the house roof because the house was “in the view corridor.” I have never talked to anyone driving I-70 that even realizes the building is there.

Under the guise of responsible land use, the county is usurping your freedom and personal property to increase its power and maximize tax revenue.

When the county presenter, at these land use meetings, was asked what he anticipated would drive the proposed growth, his response was that it has always been growing and should continue at the same rate.

Energy industry such as natural gas drilling comes in and generates a great amount of tax revenue with relatively small load on government services.

Have you as a land and property owner ever seen any tax relief? Don’t expect any!

We will get new government buildings with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of furniture at the highest bid. We will get runway expansion, increased license fees, automobile license increases, property reassessment to increase tax and any other gimmick they can think of.

Oh yeah tougher speeding enforcement and higher fines.

As the sign on I-70 says, “Welcome to Taxorado”.

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

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