In Missoula Wednesday, conservationists launched a campaign for an open space bond issue appearing on the November ballot.
The $15 million property tax increase would be for 20 years and would go towards purchasing and preserving public lands and access to them within the county.
Amber Sherrill, the executive director of Five Valleys Land Trust says, "One of the pieces that we feel like would be important in this bond is linking some of the underserved neighborhoods in the city of Missoula to the open spaces on that side of the valley. So we’re looking into where those corridors would be as well."
A previous $10 million Open Space bond was approved by 70 percent of Missoula county voters back in 2006. But Sherrill says most of that money has already been spent.
According to Sherrill the new bond would cost Missoula’s homeowners an average of $18 a year.
She says the 2006 bond brought in nearly four times what it cost local taxpayers in matched funds from the state and federal government.
"I think people are excited to know how much additional money has been brought into the county," says Sherrill.
Critics of the new bond have pointed out that setting aside more land for open spaces could worsen Missoula’s affordable housing crisis and further drive up the price of developable land.