Guest Column: Let's Slow Down On The Teton County Land Sale

Rep. Steve Harshman writes, "We should consider similar situated properties, e.g., the town of Jackson purchased 5 acres for $29 million (5+million/acre x 640 acres = $3.2 Billion). Everyone in Teton county knows the recently suggested price of $60 million is way too low. I think $100 million is too low."

CS
CSD Staff

December 06, 20232 min read

Harshman 4 16 23

Dear Wyomingites,

Tomorrow, December 7, the Board of Land Commissioners (5 statewide electeds) will meet to discuss a variety of issues regarding our state lands. I am grateful for their service to our state.

I am writing today to discuss the proposed disposal of the Kelly parcel in Teton county. First off let me say that we all want to protect the park! That is a given and not part of this debate.

Thank goodness our Wyoming forebearers did not sell the Kelly Parcel when its value was $1,000. This generation needs to be forward looking as well. The appreciation gain from the land value will far exceed the investment gain.

The Antelope Flats Parcel which sold for $44 million and is a solid comparison. Its value would be a 50% appreciation in 5 years using the approximately $60 million number appraised value of the Kelly parcel. The Kelly parcel is a unique “land bank.”

Any proposal to dispose of any state trust lands should require the Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) to evaluate, analyze, determine, and compare the value returned to the trust which would result from a 75+ year lease that include all potential uses including but not limited to mineral development, grazing, farming, residential and/or commercial leases, recreational use and other social-economic considerations.

We should use the REMI modeling tool to assess the economic value of both the potential uses to the state and the appreciation in the underlying land value.

We should consider similar situated properties, e.g., the town of Jackson purchased 5 acres for $29 million (5+million/acre x 640 acres = $3.2 Billion). Everyone in Teton county knows the recently suggested price of $60 million is way too low. I think $100 million is too low.

 Finally, what’s the hurry? Certainly, there are complexities to this situation, but preserving the status quo protects options for future generations. We don’t need to solve everything. We can’t predict the future, but we can forward these gifts given us by our forebearers to generations who are not yet born.

I urge you to contact the Governor, Sec. of State, Auditor, Treasurer and Supt. Of Public Instruction and ask them to withdrawal the proposal.

Merry Christmas!

Stay Strong – Stay Together – Stay Wyoming Warm Regards,

Steve Harshman

Honored to serve in the Wyoming House of Representatives District 37 Natrona County (R)

307-262-8075

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