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Growth of Government Owned Land - A Concern for Many Rural School Districts

December 28, 2017

I am sharing a message that I received from former 153rd House District Representative Mike Dethrow.  Please review the information and share with others who may have similar concerns.

As you know rural schools in the Ozarks are under funded locally due to large swaths of government owned land which continues to grow unchecked.
The shrinking property tax base is of utmost concern as there never seems to be an end to the state and federal agencies appetite for more preservation lands and their lack of commitment to keep their promises. 
 
Forever removal of the future tax base is of great concern for our 8 counties in the east central Ozarks which contain 1 out of 3 acres (1.1 million acres of the total land mass of 3.7 million acres) in the public domain. These counties include my home county of Oregon plus Ripley, Shannon, Carter, Dent, Iron, Reynolds and Wayne. These are not the only counties affected but they best reflect the problem since they host nearly 1/3 of all public lands in Missouri.
 
Nobody seems to know or wants to acknowledge the problem exists on such a large scale or what to do about it. Maybe we should start asking the question, "How much do they need?" to forever remove from the local tax base, which is so dependent on private enterprise and private property ownership.
 
I am attaching some material we have found helpful to communicate our unique situation in Oregon County where we host the only National Wild and Scenic River area in Missouri along with 1 in 5 acres of mostly U. S. Forest Service land.
 
My concern is well founded in that more and more government land means less and less for our rural schools. And at some point it means less rural schools in these 8 counties. How much land do they need to take off the property tax rolls?
 
Sincerely,
 
Mike Dethrow
 

 

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