To The Editor:
The County Board of Supervisors has encumbered the citizens of Madera County with a $2.4 Million debt by applying for a grant to purchase 954 acres known as Blackhawk Ranch. Consisting of 8 separate parcels, the property is located on Highway 41 south of the Yosemite Lakes entrance on the West side of Highway 41.
The grant is conditional and requires an off road vehicle entertainment operation on the property.
The purchase price of this property is $2.4 Million. Approximately $2.1 Million of the people’s money will be granted by the State and an additional $311,000 of the people’s money will come from the Madera County treasury.
If the off-highway vehicle entertainment project is not operational as specified in the grant application, then the State can demand the full amount of the grant money to be returned.
While the seller of this property will go down the road with her $2.4 Million, we the people will be responsible for paying back the grant money if the OHV Park does not comply with the conditions of the grant.
An additional $500,000 – $721,000 to cover costs for environmental and bio studies on this property will be provided by the people’s money in grants and the people’s money in the Madera County budget.
The people have asked the Board of Supervisor’s where is the feasibility study for this operation, what are projected operational costs, where are the models for this operation? The people have asked if the potential for high risk liability and potential for fire danger have been addressed.
The offer to purchase the Blackhawk Ranch was signed and dated, August 25, 2015 by the Chair of the Madera County Board of Supervisors, but to this date, not one of the Madera County Supervisors have come forward to answer the people’s questions.
Some would say, to risk this money and encumber the people with the potential liability is negligent on the part of the County Board of Supervisors. Some would say that leaving the people’s concerns unaddressed and questions unanswered constitutes fraud, dereliction of duty and extortion.
And some question if there is a legitimate need to risk millions of dollars, create a liability risk and fire hazard, to appease a few off-road entertainment seekers or to help move a white elephant property that has been on the market for years…..