Douglascounty16.doc. 3-15.

Good morning. My name is Doug Kagan, and I represent NE Taxpayers for Freedom. Our group vehemently opposes the Douglas County Board participating in the Heartland 2050 Vision.

If implemented, this proposal would impose regional unelected government dictates over local governments elected by voters. A water resources coordinating committee jurisdiction would overlap existing natural resource districts (p.29).* A new regional utility water and sewer authority appears to create another taxing authority that mirrors MUD (p. 25). An air quality coordinating committee would overlap local subdivision responsibilities (p. 30). A regional bike trail and park system with a regional finance structure appears to establish another bureaucracy to levy a tax on citizens. An attempt to implement regional bond issues (p.23) and planning infrastructure across current political boundaries (p. 25). Regional street guidelines and regional land use assessments would overrrule local governments (pp. 6, 13). A steering committee to guide this master planning process appears to bypass local officials purview. This committee, indeed, has the responsibility to push this master plan through to city and county approval (p.27). We believe, however, that interlocal agreements among government entities can satisfactorily manage inter-jurisdictional problems and endeavors.

In addition, this Heartland Vision would impose strict government dictates on how we live. Superimposed on us would be building of multi-generational communities (p. 14), mixed-income residences, and disbursement of low-income housing (p. 19) that drastically alters residential zoning (p. 17). It radically amends building and use codes and would prohibit neighborhood covenants valued by homeowners (p. 18). Housing density bonuses and cluster housing would radically change the character of established neighborhoods (p. 27).

Moreover, Heartland Vision forces particular and objectionable lifestyles, rules, and costs upon citizens. Plans to expand multi-modal transportation is Orwellian-speak for greatly expanding mass transit and bike trails at the expense of private vehicle transportation (pp. 20,23). Providing English as a Second Language at no or low cost to many more, including illegal aliens (p. 21). Forcing employers who receive economic development funds to pay the inflationary “living wage” and recruiting new businesses that pay only this wage (pp. 7, 14). Public development funds to buy and preserve land for industrial development, something traditionally done by private developers. Many of these impositions follow the line promulgated by Omaha By Design, designs that already have proved costly to Omaha taxpayers (p.16). Key phrases such as “planned growth and development,” “reduced energy consumption,” and “more transportation choices” translate into additional government invasiveness into our free choices as taxpaying citizens regarding where and how we live and travel.

We strongly urge this board to vote NO on joining the Heartland 2050 Vision.

* page numbers from Heartland 2050 Vision.

Doug Kagan, NE Taxpayers for Freedom
Email: netaxpayers@gmail.com
Phone: 402-551-0921

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