Writer opposed to open space referendum

While the concept of open space is a good one, the increased burden on those of us on fixed income is not reasonable.

Because of alleged equal treatment by the county for assessed valuations, the houses in my small community in Freehold Township have seen an increase of $30,000 to $40,000 in the past year.

So, in addition to paying a proposed 83 percent increase in the open space tax, I have already gotten a 21 percent increase in that tax from 2016.

Moreover, according to the “explanation of taxes,” the county’s open space tax rate is 1.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, not 1.5 cents per $100 as reported in the newspaper.

The freeholders must freeze assessments or freeze taxes. Increased assessments mean increased revenue. It is unconscionable to raise both.

Since Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone is, according to the News Transcript article, in “land development,” he should have recused himself from the vote.

Freehold Township has a separate assessment of 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for open space, too.

The argument that infrastructure improvements would not be needed because more property would be unimproved is spurious, at best. Developed property would be placed on the tax rolls, thus adding income to the county. The county already has nearly 16,000 acres of park land. How much is enough?

I will cast a no vote on this referendum.

George Schaefer
Freehold Township