City and county commissioners deserve at least some credit for their absolute commitment to promoting an unofficial policy of "maximum accommodation” (not to be confused with population growth management!). Since April 1990, the population of Gallatin County has more than doubled to nearly 113,000 (this excludes 17,000 MSU students).

Advocates of this policy are ecstatic to tell you about record-setting tax revenues, unprecedented business development, and job creation, but that's only part of the story. Is this out-of-control growth really worth the actual cost to and impact on the environment, added infrastructure, and quality of life previously enjoyed here?

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for another reality check. Consider the following partial list for a more accurate rendition of the situation confronting us: loss of wildlife habitat, sub-divided farm lands, increased crime rate and domestic violence, increased drug abuse, increased traffic congestion on a woefully inadequate road network, strained municipal infrastructure, affordable housing crisis, and wholesale over-development.

If, as so many believe, this is merely the "price" of progress, then maybe less progress is what we really need.

Douglas K. Stream

Belgrade