Safe wildlife crossings are important public infrastructure and should be at the top of our list of priorities for Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) funding. Now that the Wildlife Crossings Masterplan is ready, let’s design, fund, and build them! Our comment letter is below – please join us in asking our Town Council and County Commission to prioritize a wildlife crossings measure on the next SPET ballot, so we can make our roads safer for wildlife and people.
The discussion will move forward with a SPET workshop at the Board of County Commissioners Chambers on Monday, May 21 at 10am. To learn more about attending the meeting or getting involved in the Wildlife Crossings Campaign, sign up here.
May 18, 2018
Teton County Board of County Commissioners
Jackson Town Council
Subject: Safe Wildlife Crossings as a top SPET priority
Dear Commissioners, Mayor and Town Councilors,
We listened to your March joint retreat Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) discussion with interest. Following that discussion, we would like to offer the following for your consideration:
We support your in-depth discussions on how best to run the SPET process – how many cents, what kind of projects (public vs. private), timing, etc – before the current SPET projects are paid off in June 2020 (plus or minus 3 months, from what we’ve heard). This process will likely determine a package of measures for either the August 2020 primary or November 2020 general election.
We encourage you to put a moderately-sized measure before the voters with enough time to ensure that the 6th penny doesn’t expire in June 2020. We could “bridge the gap” to the 2020 elections with a popular measure in the $6-10M range.
We believe that wildlife crossings are an ideal “bridge” measure and a priority.
The 2018 Indicator Report highlights implementing the Wildlife Crossings Master Plan as a key next step for ecosystem stewardship. Thanks to your past support and funding, the Wildlife Crossings Master Plan is ready for adoption. With proper funding in the upcoming fiscal year, County engineering staff can complete detailed design & engineering work for the top priority sites, including cost estimates.
We know from public opinion research that wildlife crossings receive strong and bipartisan support from likely voters. Allowing voters the opportunity to show their support for safe wildlife crossings on the next SPET ballot is a clear way to effectively and efficiently implement the Master Plan and uphold our community vision set out in the Comprehensive Plan.
Safe wildlife crossings are important public infrastructure and should be at the top of our list of priorities for SPET funding. Please prioritize a wildlife crossings measure on the next SPET ballot, so we can make our roads safer for wildlife and people. We are committed to talking with voters and doing all we can to ensure the measure passes.
Thank you all for your work on behalf of the people and wildlife of Teton County.
Skye Schell – Executive Director, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance
Chris Colligan – Wildlife Program Coordinator, Greater Yellowstone Coalition