Trust fund discussed in the U.P.

A series of Natural Resources Town Hall meetings have wrapped up in the Upper Peninsula.

After stops in Menominee and Iron Mountain, State Representative Ed McBroom, along with two downstate representatives, conducted the final of three meetings Wednesday afternoon in Escanaba.  State Representative John Kivela also hosted a meeting in Marquette.

One of the main topics of discussion was the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.  Seventy-five percent of the funds are used for acquisition of property, while twenty-five percent is used for recreational development.

“There’s been a lot of input to maybe changing those numbers around and focusing more on the development aspect,” Kivela said.  “The DNR manages about four million acres of property.  There’s a lot of people that say we own enough property, we don’t need to keep buying property; lets help develop the property we have so people can access to what they already own.”

“The trust fund well it might not of purchased all of that land, continues to purchase land and acquire land. We hear a lot of discussion about balancing development versus acquisition and making sure the acquisitions we’re doing aren’t failing to take into consideration their impact on the local and community tax base,” said state Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan.

“We hear a lot of people mentioning that we should eliminate or raise the cap, to ensure that these monies aren’t eventually overflowing into the general fund,” said Andrea LaFontaine, a Committee Chair on the House of Natural Resources.

Kivela said it is important to hear from constituents on the issue, because the Natural Resources Trust Fund will be put to voters, most likely in November 2014.