Still Hesitant to Fund Public Lands Partnership
MONTROSE – Following a presentation by Utah State Rep. (R-Dist. 47) and Executive Director of the American Lands Council Ken Ivory on May 16 in Montrose, the Montrose Board of County Commissioners expressed interest in financially supporting Ivory’s organization, which aims to secure state control, and ownership, of federal public lands.
While no formal decisions were made at Monday’s regular meeting, the commissioners collectively said they were interested in scheduling a future agenda item where they could discuss allocating county funds to the American Lands Council. The South Jordan, Utah-based organization’s mission is to “channel the cooperative efforts of state and local governments, businesses, organizations and individuals to secure and defend local control of land access, land use, and land ownership through education, political persuasion, legislation and litigation.”
The commissioners could choose to provide funding to the ALC rather than approving a $5,000 funding request made by Public Lands Partnership Executive Committee member Jim Free on May 6. The commissioners stated at that time that they were unsure if the locally based organization shared the same goals as the county, and they opted to continue the PLP request until June.
During Monday’s public comment portion of the meeting, resident Roger Brown told the commissioners that if they are considering funding an organization that represents the county’s interests in public lands, it should consider funding the American Lands Council rather than the Public Lands Partnership.
“I do think if there is going to be an appropriation of the budget, we should give some very serious thoughts to the American Lands Council,” Brown said. “It has one objective, which is to try to equalize the ratio of federally controlled land versus state controlled land. I think we should be on that same course of action. I do not think Mr. Free is aligned to that goal.”
Commissioner Gary Ellis, who was initially supportive of providing the funding to the Public Lands Partnership, agreed with Brown. Ellis said he spoke with people after Ivory’s presentation about supporting the American Lands Council.
“I said I would support moving that forward,” Ellis said. “That would probably be a better expenditure. They have the same goals we do.”
“I am going to ask our manager to look through our budget to see if we can find any money to possibly fund this lands council thing,” Commissioner Ron Henderson said in agreement. “If not this year, we may need to look to next year and make it a budget item.”
It’s unclear when the American Lands Council discussion will be put on a commission agenda. The Public Lands Partnership funding request goes back before the commissioners on June 3.