In these times of budget distress, Perdue decides it’s the perfect time to buy land

And, remember, Perdue thinks he’s the Wizard of Budgets! Details here.

Gov. Sonny Perdue says the state has acquired a 469-acre tract in north Georgia’s Dawson County for conservation purposes.

State officials say the newly acquired land connects two previously separate tracts of the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.

The Nature Conservancy acquired the Amicalola Creek property from the Forestar Real Estate Group in 2008 and held it until the state could arrange funding.

Sooooo, the Nature Conservancy was going to hold the property until the State could pay…and Perdue chose this fiscal year to do so. Glad there isn’t anything else the money could go for…like more staffing at the GBI Crime Lab.

Remember: the land was already being held for conservation purposes. But the genius that is Sonny Perdue couldn’t wait and had to spend more money now. Genius!

64 comments

  1. Go Dawgs! says:

    And in these times, don’t we all need Sonny’s protege, Karen Handel, to lead us further down Sonny’s Path of Hell?

    • Capt. Jack Sparrow says:

      Don’t forget Nathan Deal was President Pro Tem in the Senate (like Sonny), a former Democrat (like Sonny) and made money off the state (??? 😉 )

        • Go Dawgs! says:

          Why not? She’s already lying out of both sides of her mouth regarding her membership in the early 2000’s Georgia Log Cabin Republican organization. What would ethics matter to her?

          • justpeachy says:

            You like the AJC should check your facts. The fact is Karen never was a member of the Log Cabin Republicans. She did speak at an event (as has Johnny Isackson among many other Republican candidates). Mark Yeager (the former President who has since left the Republican party to join the Democrat party) claims she “handed him a check” this check was for a dinner event being hosted not membership in to the Log Cabin Republicans. The current president Jamie Ensley confirms Karen was never a member. My theory the story was fed by the Democrats to Nathan Deals camp… Roy Barnes said himself the one republican he doesn’t want to face in the generals is Karen Handel… why is that? She’s the only one that can beat him. Do your homework before you make accusations!

            • Lady Thinker says:

              Well, you just upset the Deal and Johnson camps!

              I support Karen and try to give facts but these people only want to believe the lies and negatives about Karen. For example, some say they won’t vote for Karen because she doesn’t have a college education, but Jeff Chapman says he doesn’t have a college degree either and several people say they support him. It appears that a man without college running for governor is okay but a woman running for governor without “paper” is not. Double-standard.

              The more the Deal and Johnson camps trash her, the more it shows how afraid they are of her and her ability to win the governorship.

  2. Nathan says:

    Now we know why he vetoed SB 1. It’s hard to make a justified argument before purchasing something like this. Heck, we’re not in the middle of a budget crisis or anything. We can print our own money, right?

    • hannah says:

      Money is a lubricant. What’s important is that it circulate through the economy freely. Whether giving money to the Nature Conservancy does that is questionable. The real estate group, Conservancy and state may be, like the banks and insurance companies, a closed loop. Having three entities in the game may not be very different from two parties flipping land to increase its book value and make someone look richer than they are. When the Nature Conservancy expects a quick turn-around sale to the state, they don’t hesitate to pay top dollar. Meanwhile, the local community takes a hit on the property tax.

  3. benevolus says:

    I’m not one to defend Sonny, but there’s not much info there. How much did we pay? Are we paying now or is it deferred? Where did the money come from?

    • B Balz says:

      Clearly, Governor Barnes is not popular among regular PP contributors, yet, seems to have ample popular support among my friends, neighbors, associates, etc. Perhaps I should associate with a better class of people.

      OR

      Question why all the incumbent hate around here?

      If a heavily leveraged, yet solvent investor buys the house down the street, at absolute auction- a tremendous one time per generation opportunity, is that bad? If an investor feels little risk acquiring the property to either save operational dollars or is part of this unique, generational ‘buy and hold’ strategy, what’s wrong with that vision?

      Too little data to evaluate the advisability of this investment. Was it an inside deal? Was it illegal or unethical? That’s something to report.

      If Governor Perdue could walk on water, some PP’ers might chant: “Sonny can’t swim.”

      • B Balz says:

        Investment? Natural Park? If it is a good deal, shouldn’t the Governor use his power and initiative to make good investments?

        I don’t see the issue, here. I do see a lot of ideas that are critical, but little substantive facts showing this is a bad deal.

        • B Balz says:

          Per http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2010/06/14/daily39.html

          The property, located in Dawson County, includes two miles of the Amicalola Creek and its tributaries. It was sought by the state Department of Natural Resources to create a critical connection between two previously separate tracts of the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.

          “Acquiring this property at the heart of the Dawson Forest links together more than 15,000 acres of conservation land,” Perdue said in a prepared statement. “Many species of wildlife it supports will be preserved for generations to come.”

          Sounds wonderful to me. I think y’all are cracked on this one.

          • Doug Grammer says:

            I just wanted an explanation. Linking together two properties already owned is not a bad one.

            • Doug Grammer says:

              The government exists to do what people can not do, or do well for themselves. Would you advocate the repeal of all state and national parks so we can build condos on the edge of the Grand Canyon or perhaps in Cloudland Canyon in Dade County Georgia?

              Chickamauga National Battlefield could become a strip mall. Stone Mountain could have high rise apartments on top. Either by zoning or ownership, I think government has a roll in land use.

              • hannah says:

                Unlike private trusts, public corporations are not bound by prior decisions and the resources they acquire are not permanently protected from exploitation. Private corporations have found it convenient to “park” resources and assets with public bodies for exploitation at a later time. If they can get money in addition to this accommodation, so much the better.

              • Glen Ross says:

                There would never be a high rise on top of Stone Mountain. No one wants to live in Gwinnett 🙂

            • iceyt1981 says:

              And why is that? What’s wrong with the Government owning land for conservation purposes?

              • hannah says:

                The more pertinent question is why “we the people” keep having to reacquire what we originally had or was “taken” from the natives in our name. Private property is a scam. Some people assume that exclusive ownership turns people into good stewards. There’s no evidence to back that up. Just one close look at the “rust belt” and abandoned suburban malls puts the lie to that.
                On the other hand, conservatives mostly hold out the promise of private property as a sop to get out of meeting their social obligations and to hide that they don’t give a fig for personal privacy rights.

  4. benevolus says:

    More than 80 percent of the acquisition is being funded through the federal government and from private sources.

    The Nature Conservancy contributed $2.15 million through a discounted sale of the property to the state.

    Other contributions toward the acquisition came from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the DNR.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2010/06/14/daily39.html

    • B Balz says:

      Thanks for providing some details, benevelous! State acquires land under public/private initiative at a discounted (generational opportunity) price.

      Sounds conservative to me, espousing the tried and true principle of ‘making money when you buy a property’ right.

      Next.

      .

      • B Balz says:

        substitute “making money” with “unique opportunity to secure pristine 469 acres conservancy project”

        • I was going to ask about the whole “making money” thing. That implies that the state is going to sell the property at some point in the future to make a profit on it. So we’ve then turned our state government into a company that furloughs teachers in order to become real estate speculators. It’s an interesting pitch, but one that I’m not interested in my state taking part of. As for the overall project, I don’t know enough about it to oppose or support it. I do know that conservation can certainly take place without the government buying the land. My wife’s family has 270 acres in Dawsonville (that’s for sale if anyone’s interested) that is currently designated as conservation and has been for a while now. Most of it is part of the Etowah River flood plain though so the chances of anyone building anything on it are pretty slim unless they can get a permit to bring in lots of fill to raise the elevation from the road to the river – that in itself not a cheap or easy proposition. Either way, conservation can certainly happen without the government. The main difference of course would be using the property for recreation. Private property owners aren’t so likely to want people hiking / biking / 4-wheeling through their land (if for no other reason than liability) whereas the government allows and even promotes those uses.

          • Mad Dog says:

            David,

            Anyone can build a home in a flood plain. without using any fill dirt. Ask Eric Johnson as he helped build a huge community on swamp land in Savannah.

            I forget the name of the place but some homes sold for over a million.

            Johnson et al did a swap of ‘other swamp land’ to get permission to ‘ruin’ existing wetlands. To get a flood type of exemption, all the main levels of the home must be built X number of feet above sea level. I think the elevation is roughly 10 ft. above sea level.

            Should Savannah ever be struck by a Katrina type hurricane, the community would be wiped out by the storm surge.

            I can back up the bare details with background research I’ve already done on Johnson.

            But in defense of the over all project, half of Savannah is swamp land.

      • Go Dawgs! says:

        Oh..so if its using a majority of “federal money”, it’s okay? Whose money is “federal money,” Balz?

        • B Balz says:

          @Go Dawgs I agree with that point on a macro basis, on most issues. Using Federal funds to preserve pristine wilderness, I have a little latitude.

          Mr. Randall’s initial point, IMHO is thinking small:

          “Remember: the land was already being held for conservation purposes.” may have some merit, but a State deed to the land trumps. Now it is secure, forever.

          • Mad Dog says:

            Balz,

            Not agreeing or debating with you.

            Just confused by the whole being held for conservation purposes.

            Having researched property taxes, the conservation exemption is very over used and clearly abused from time to time. And where such abuse happens, it seemed to me that local officials supported that abuse.

            So I’m wondering if there is a land status of ‘held for conservation’ that isn’t just a tax dodge. A legally binding status with enforcement teeth that forever bans any change on the land.

            I don’t think such a legal status exists.

            So now I agree with your latter statement in your post. Only the State can hold the land for true conservation. Forever.

            • B Balz says:

              Mad Dog:

              Conservation uses are indeed manipulated. A very clear example in DeKalb County (Of course) is the proposal to link small patches of green, postage stamp size patches, to create the illusion that more land is being used for greenspace.

              I have not researched the details of this transaction, and may end up with egg all over my face, again.

            • benevolus says:

              I don’t know if there is a “held for conservation” status either (doubt it), but I don’t see how it would be a scandal here, if that is what you are implying. Who is getting the tax dodge? The Nature Conservancy? They buy a chunk of land so that they can not pay taxes on it?
              I don’t get it.

              • B Balz says:

                In cases where there is construction, conservation uses can be manipulated. I don’t see that in this case, either.

  5. hugoblacksupreme says:

    Ok. I wil bite.
    Balz, why now? Politically this does not help the GOP. In fact a lot of things the Gov has done does not help the party. You may be correct about the mechanics of it but tell us how a person running for State Sen. explains this to voters during this budget crunch?

    • benevolus says:

      The article said that the Nature Conservancy bought it 2 years ago and were holding it until the state could buy it. That implies some sort of agreement which the state is now fulfilling. Without knowing the details of that agreement we don’t know if there was a deadline or trigger that is being honored, or maybe it’s just that everything came together so that this costs the state practically nothing at this moment.
      I wish I knew how much money we’re talking about.
      Even if the state were paying retail say about $30,000 per acre, x 469 acres, that’s $14 million, but 80% is paid by others, so the state would be kicking in $2.8 million, and I doubt they are paying $30,000 per acre.

    • B Balz says:

      I believe the ‘why now’ question is that the Governor wants to get it done under his watch, rather than to leave it up to the next Governor.

      They very well may name the area for him. It may even have a boat ramp. I am looking forward to hiking it.

      As Benevelous points out, we do not know the cost to the State. Just because we are facing a tough economic climate, the business of acquiring and preserving unique land ought not stop.

      .

      • hugoblacksupreme says:

        Ok. It just seems the Gov. may leave the state in better shape but he will leave his party in a mess!

        • B Balz says:

          Principle over politics is bad? I am not a dyed in the wool supporter of the Governor, he veto’ed an important bit of legislation I have helped work on this year.

          I just see piling on for what it is – a pile a steaming stuff.

          • hugoblacksupreme says:

            Not bad.
            But you don’t get to exercise those principles if you don’t exercise some good politics! Ask the Georgia Dem’s.

              • Mad Dog says:

                I don’t see a discussion of Oaky Woods …

                Does that change the political dynamics and timing of this ‘conservation’ purchase?

                It seems like a Handel issue. It’s easy to say, “I’m not for gays and lesbians/state purchase of land” until someone makes it an issue by bringing up the past.

      • “As Benevelous points out, we do not know the cost to the State. Just because we are facing a tough economic climate, the business of acquiring and preserving unique land ought not stop.”

        At what cost though? As you said, we don’t know the cost, but does that mean that acquiring and preserving unique land takes precedence over teacher furloughs? I’m not saying the state shouldn’t acquire the land. I’m just curious as to why we couldn’t find enough ways to cut services or costs to avoid teacher furloughs but when it comes to purchasing a decent chunk of land we’ve suddenly got the money.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        You’re dealing with a large number of folks that think that’s it’s never the right time to acquire and preserve land.

        • B Balz says:

          @Mr. Bearse The same group will scream bloody murder wondering why we did not acquire property when we could have.

          As to Mr. Staples question: Budgets allow for expenditures and cutbacks, and those funds are not usually taken from the same accounts. If we used budget funds from an Education account to buy land (Which I doubt) I could see your point.

          If romeo’s snarky point about an inside land deal ever comes true, I guess I will have to insert feet into mouth, again.

      • Mad Dog says:

        No. Sonny hasn’t bought any land next to this tract. However, his wife has formed an LLC two weeks that owns the water, timber and mineral rights.

        • LLC Name? Apparently when searching the SOS website by officer name it only lists actual corporations and for some reason excludes LLCs. Searching by company name returns LLCs as well, but that doesn’t help if I don’t know the LLC name. 🙂

  6. waterworld says:

    Why?

    Upstream dedicated undesturbed strean bank buffer required for state regional water reservoir located in Dawson Forest.

  7. Three Jack says:

    more likely that the teetotaling soon to be ex-governor bought the land to prevent another of those evil winemakers from opening a vineyard.

    not sure who i want to see leave office quicker, the db dem president or db dem governor…it’s a toss up.

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