Fanwood Adds Open Space Tax Referendum to November Ballot

Goats help rid Fanwood Nature Center of invasive plants. Credits: Brian Horton
Fanwood's Historic Train Station Credits: John Mooney
Mayor Colleen Mahr works on the rain garden at FanwoodBorough Hall. Credits: John Mooney

FANWOOD, NJ -- In August, the Fanwood Borough Council passed a resolution to place a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to establish a Municipal Open Space, Recreation, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

This new levy, which is anticipated to range from $8 to $11 per Fanwood household, is intended to help maintain and improve the work of Fanwood's Historic Preservation, Shade Tree, and Environmental Commissions, as well as the Fanwood Nature Center. The fund will also be used to improve Fanwood Recreation fields and facilities.

"The Open Space Trust Fund would create a dedicated revenue stream for these projects and solidify Fanwood's commitment to our environment," said Mayor Colleen Mahr. "This open space tax is a small price to pay for ensuring that Fanwood's treasured assets. such as our Historic Train Station, are preserved for today and into the future."

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"Our little home town has a strong tradition of protecting our natural resources like the Nature Center and being good environmental stewards, as evidenced by our Sustainable NJ certification," Mayor Mahr continued. "This Open Space Fund will give us the structure and resources for preserving our green spaces and creating new recreational opportunities."

Ballot Question:
Shall the Borough of Fanwood establish an annual levy at the rate of $0.01 per $100.00 of assessed value of real property located in the Borough and annually appropriate that revenue for any or all of the following purposes, or any combination thereof:

  • Acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes;
  • Development of lands acquired for recreation and conservation  purposes;
  • Maintenance of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes; 
  • Acquisition of farmland for farmland preservation purposes;
  • Historic preservation of historic properties, structures, facilities, sites, areas or objects, and the acquisition of such properties, structures, facilities, sites, areas or objects for historic preservation purposes; or 
  • Payment of debt service on indebtedness issued or incurred by the Borough for any of the purposes set forth in paragraphs (a), (b), (d), or (e) herein above

Interpretive Statement

A “yes” vote on this question would allow the Borough of Fanwood to preserve remaining tracks of open space which are rapidly being developed by establishing a “Municipal Open Space, Recreation, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund” to be funded annually through the collection of a dedicated open space tax in the amount of one cent per $100 of assessed real property value.

This tax would be dedicated to the acquisition, improvement, and/or maintenance of land or recreation and conservation purposes, the acquisition of farmland for farmland preservation purposes, the acquisition and/or preservation of historic properties, structures, facilities, sites, areas or objects, or for payment of debt service or indebtedness issued or incurred by the Borough for any of these purposes.

Approval would also enhance the Borough’s ability to qualify for NJ State Green Acres funds under the Planning Incentive Acquisition Program and enable the Borough to qualify for any future programs, presently not in existence, which might condition a municipality’s eligibility to receive open space funds on the adoption of a tax levy and the creation of a “Municipal Open Space, Recreation, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.” is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP.

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