Colts Neck voters will weigh in on open space tax


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By Peter Elacqua
Staff Writer

COLTS NECK – On Nov. 8, the Township Committee will ask residents if they are willing to pay more to support the purchase and preservation of open space in Colts Neck.

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A non-binding question on the Election Day ballot will ask voters the following: “Should the township of Colts Neck increase the annual levy for open space, farmland and historic preservation within … Colts Neck from the amount of $0.012 (1.2 cents) per $100 (of assessed valuation) to the amount of $0.025 (2.5 cents) per $100 of assessed valuation of real property?”

On the bottom line, if the members of the governing body eventually decide to raise the open space tax as proposed, the owner of a home that is assessed at $800,000 would see the tax he pays into Colts Neck’s open space fund increase from $96 a year to $200 a year.

Officials took action in June to place the non-binding referendum question on the Nov. 8 ballot. At the time, Mayor Thomas Orgo said, “The more (land) we preserve, the better off we are going to be down the line.”

Committeeman Russell Macnow said officials are asking for the increase in the open space tax as a way to deal with affordable housing issues Colts Neck is facing. He said the township needs more liquidity to purchase open space in order to preserve the land from high-density housing developments.

Orgo said the open space tax currently generates about $339,000 a year. With the proposed increase in the open space tax rate, that amount would exceed $700,000 a year.

“Colts Neck has strived for many years to be an oasis of open space in Monmouth County,” Macnow said. “The referendum on November’s ballot will give the township an enhanced ability to purchase and maintain open space for the future use and enjoyment of our residents.”

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