Here's a deal: Lease an acre of land in the North Fork Valley for 10 years for $19.50. Yes, that's right, $2 down and $1.50-$2 a year for 10 years.
Heck, at that price why not go for 10 acres, that's only $195 for 10 years. Over 20,000 acres to choose from. No property tax, no increases for inflation or cost of living and you have the option to renew at the end of the lease!
But wait a minute...this is not a deal for young farmers looking for a way to start or for folks seeking their dream home or even for a small business needing to build a factory. This is the minimum bid for investment firms, corporate real estate brokers, and oil and gas speculators. This is the deal for the Feb. 14, 2013, BLM lease sale.
The BLM's Environmental Assessment (EA) says that the revenues will benefit the State of Colorado. The EA also says that most leased lands are never developed. So let's do the math.
The BLM's Preferred Alternative proposed 20,555 acres for sale. If all parcels are sold at the minimum bid, the gross revenue after 10 years is $400,822.50. The state gets about 49 percent of that, the rest goes to the feds. Wow! Colorado gets a whopping $196,403.03 over 10 years. How much of that do you think will trickle down to little ol' Delta County?
But, hey, maybe some speculator will really want the BLM public lands in the North Fork Valley. So let's say the average bid is $10 per acre. Now, the 10-year revenue looks like $565,262.50 and Colorado's cut is $276,978.63. If Delta County got 0.6 percent of that (our share of the state's population), we would have $1,662 to spend over 10 years. How many improvements to schools will that fund? How many young farmers will that help?
The revenues collected will not even cover the costs of the Environmental Assessment and administration of leases, let alone the legal costs of any protests or challenges to the BLM process.
Lease sales. What another great example of government waste at work!