Making The Forest An Economic Partner

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Editor:

Re. The announcement in the Roundup's Jan. 20 edition regarding the Jan. 26 Citizens Awareness meeting, some further information might encourage a larger audience.

In addition to discussing what proper grazing can do to minimize fire danger, and increase water retention, Tommie Martin will discuss her current project with Gila County.

Over-simplified, this is a rough-cut analysis of the economic benefits to Gila County of putting the Tonto National Forest back to work. If sustainable grazing, timber harvesting and mining could be returned to the Tonto, what would this mean in terms of economic impact, jobs, and taxes to Gila County?

The tax issue is particularly relevant to the northern part of the county. Until a few years ago, a major portion of property tax revenue in Gila County came from the copper mines. Most county revenue comes from property taxes. As mining operations have declined, and departed from the county, the burden has necessarily been loaded on property owners, and particularly in the northern part of the county, as this is where the fastest growth has been.

Any successful program to revitalize the mines would tend to relieve the need for additional tax revenues from homeowners. If your readers understood this, they would perhaps be more interested in Tommie's presentation on Monday.

Dan Adams, Payson

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