Fanwood Passes Open Space Ballot Question, Kranz and Mitchell Re-elected

From L to R: Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr joins Councilman Tom Kranz, and Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell as both members of the Council celebrate re-election at Sheelen's Crossing. Credits: Photo provided by Tom Kranz
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr (left) interacts with local residents at Sheelen's Crossing after the polls closed. Credits: Photo provided by Tom Kranz
From L to R: Fanwood Councilmen Jack Molenaar, Russell Huegel and Kevin Boris toast to the election results at Sheelen's Crossing. Credits: Photo provided by Tom Kranz
Ballot Question #4 received 1,885 'Yes' votes for its referendum which will create a municipal open space fund and dedicate funding exclusively to Fanwood's historic, natural, and recreational assets. Credits: Union County Clerk

FANWOOD, NJ -- In a local election that featured two unopposed Council candidates -- Thomas Kranz and Kathy Mitchell -- and another unopposed candidate, Amy Winkler, for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education, the only suspense on the local level was whether Ballot Question #4 would pass.

The first local referendum in decades, the proposed created a Municipal Open Space Fund exclusively dedicating funding to maintenance and preservation of Fanwood's historic, natural, and recreational assets. The referendum garnered 1,885 Yes votes (56.98%). A record 70 percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls in Fanwood on Tuesday.

The fund, officially titled the “Municipal Open Space, Recreation,and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund”, will provide funding for Fanwood's assets such as the Historic Train Station, Carriage House, Fanwood Nature Center, and the borough's Parks and Recreational facilities and programs. The cost of the levy will range from $8 - $11 per household. The fixed tax rate of $0.01 per $100 of assessed value is locked in for the 10-year life of the fund and cannot be increased.

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This fund will be dedicated to the acquisition, improvement, and maintenance of land for recreation and conservation purposes, and the preservation of historic properties. By law, this fund will be pledged to these purposes. It can never be used for other other budget items within the borough. This fund will expire automatically in 10 years, and cannot be renewed without another voter referendum. The measure has the full support of the Mayor and Borough Council.

"I'd like to thank them for voting yes to maintaining and preserving our recreation, historic and the environment," added Mahr. "These funds can't be used for anything else."

Mahr also said she is happy to welcome back Tom Kranz and Kathy Mitchell to the Fanwood Council. In the national election, Fanwood went to Hillary Clinton (62%) over Donald Trump (38%).

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