On Monday night, Camas city council voted unanimously to approve $17M in additional expenditures to acquire the final pieces of its’ Legacy Land acquisition program. This brings the total amount paid for these properties to over $22M. Yet the combined appraised value for the entire portfolio amounts to only $3.1M, according to 2018 tax records- and a paltry $1.1M based on 2015 evaluations.
According to Parks and Rec manager Jerry Acheson in January of 2020, the City of Camas had acquired the following properties as part of the initial acquisition phase:
The acquisition portfolio was completed on Monday, with these additional acquisitions:
Adding the two phases together, THIS is the total amount paid for all the properties actually purchased by the City of Camas:
But in 2018, Mayor Scott Higgins published the following guidance under City letterhead:
In two years, Camas went from projected spending of $4.7 million on Legacy Lands, to an actual spend of almost $22 million. That’s a 460% increase in 24 months, almost 5 times higher than the original projections. But a detailed review of the tax appraisals for the purchased properties is even more disturbing.
So in addition to spending 5 times more than was originally budgeted for the program just 2 years ago, the City of Camas paid a 700% premium on average to purchase our legacy lands from a few benevolent families on the north shore of Lacamas Lake.