Last Friday, the Town Council and County Commission met in a Joint Information Meeting to discuss several important issues for our community. Here’s an update of what happened at that meeting:
Twenty years ago, our community’s Natural Resource Regulations (NRRs) were state of the art. Thanks to a vote last Friday by the Teton County Board of Commissioners and the Jackson Town Council, they can be again.
That’s because in the coming year’s Work Plan, which outlines priorities for elected representatives and their staff, NRRs were put on the top of the list. These regulations have been pushed down the priorities list for years, but to accomplish our community’s vision of “Preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystem in order to ensure a healthy environment, community and economy for current and future generations” as stated in the 2012 Comprehensive Plan, it is important they be updated to reflect new science and resource protection best practices.
Even better, the Commission and Council also included improving our Safer for Wildlife Fencing standards as part of the NRRs update. Implementing these provisions will help our community better understand and manage the area’s fences, which will help protect wildlife and migration corridors.
Prioritizing NRRs and Safer For Wildlife fencing standards will help us implement our community’s Comprehensive Plan and vision for a better future. Thanks to the Town Council, County Commission, and staff for their hard work on the Work Plan; to the elected representatives for a unanimous vote; and for the community members who spoke up at this meeting and wrote their elected representatives on the issue. This Work Plan leads our community down a positive path for the 2016-2017 year.
Community Priorities Fund
At Friday’s meeting, the Town Council and County Commission also continued the discussion over what projects should be funded in the Community Priorities Fund.
In our community’s 2012 Comprehensive Plan, our priorities include protecting wildlife habitat and open space and making it safe for wildlife to cross the road, investing in housing solutions, and creating more transportation choices.
While investments that address our housing and transportation challenges are important, if we’re going to develop a fund to address our community’s priorities, we should ensure it addresses our community’s highest priority and long-term vision of a better future. We can find a balance where we allocate enough funding to make a difference for our long-term goal of ecosystem stewardship and still leave the vast majority of funding to make real progress on our urgent needs in housing and transportation.
During the discussion, Commissioners Barbara Allen and Mark Newcomb and Town Councilor Jim Stanford all spoke up reminding the room of that priority and suggested small investments for projects like wildlife crossings are desired by our community and appropriate to include in the Fund. Thanks to these elected representatives for speaking up for our community’s values.
Several community members also spoke up at the meeting in favor of allocating a small percentage of the Fund to wildlife and open space protection and funding a network of wildlife crossings in our community. To write your representatives today and ask them to remember our community’s highest priority when discussing the Community Priorities Fund, visit JHAlliance.org/communitypriority.