FLEMINGTON, NJ – County officials have revised their draft Open Space Trust Fund Plan – a result of public comments made at the county’s Parks & Open Space Advisory Board meeting on Jan. 19 and the Dec. 15 county freeholders meeting.
The county is still accepting comments on the plan, which can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. In a press release, officials said any new suggestions may be incorporated into the Trust Fund Plan’s final draft. That is expected to be introduced by the freeholders this month, according to the release.
A record of the changes, as well as the revised Draft Open Space Trust Fund Plan, is posted to the county’s website.
The changes reflect comments made by former Readington Township Mayor Julie Allen, members of the county Parks-Open Space Advisory Committee, Jim Borders of Delaware Twp., the Hunterdon Land Trust and others.
The purpose of the update to the plan is to “secure the continued success of existing programs under the Plan, and ensure that goals and recommendations identified but not yet accomplished may be undertaken,” according to the release, which also states that the update “proposes no changes to the existing grant programs or the use of the Trust Fund” and gives freeholders “no additional authority to utilize the Trust Fund monies beyond what was authorized through the 2008 ballot referendum.”
The trust fund dedicates 80 percent of its funds for open space and farmland preservation acquisition grant programs; an additional 3.5 percent is available to municipalities and nonprofit groups for historic preservation.
The county keeps 15 percent of open space tax revenue for open space acquisition and stewardship of its parks, which now total more than 8,400 acres. The county also keeps 1.5 percent of the revenue for historic preservation of county-owned historic structures.
Additional details about the breakdown of the Open Space Trust Fund are on the county’s Open Space Trust Fund website.