HOLMDEL – When Holmdel residents go to the polls on Nov. 2, they will be asked by the Township Committee if they want the tax rate that supports the Holmdel Open Space, Recreation, Floodplain Protection and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund to be increased from 2.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation to 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation.
During a meeting on Aug. 10, Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber, Committeeman Tom Critelli, Committeeman D.J. Luccarelli and Committeeman Prakash Santhana voted “yes” on a motion to adopt an ordinance which will place the binding referendum question on the Election Day ballot.
It was noted during the committee’s consideration of the ordinance that any open space parcels which may be acquired with the open space funds cannot be acquired through condemnation and must be purchased from a willing seller.
According to the ordinance, in 1998, Holmdel voters approved the creation and funding of the Holmdel Open Space Trust Fund with a collection rate of 1 cent per $100 of equalized valuation.
In 2000, voters supported an increase in the collection rate from 1 cent to 2.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation.
Now, the committee members will ask voters to consider an increase in the collection rate for the Holmdel Open Space Trust Fund to 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation through a question on the general election ballot.
According to the governing body, the increased revenue a higher open space tax rate would generate would fund the acquisition of open space parcels; improvements to open space and parkland properties Holmdel already owns; the maintenance of open space parcels; floodplain protection initiatives; farmland preservation; and the preservation of historic sites in the community.
Business Administrator Cherron Rountree said Holmdel’s open space tax generated about $1 million in revenue for those permitted uses in 2021. She said a higher open space tax rate would be expected to produce additional revenue for the open space fund on an annual basis.
With the current open space tax rate of 2.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation in place, the owner of a home that is assessed at $700,000 pays about $175 per year into the open space fund.
If the open space tax rate is increased to the proposed level of 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation, the owner of a home that is assessed at $700,000 would pay about $245 per year into the open space fund (an annual increase of $70).
The amount of money a homeowner pays into Holmdel’s open space fund each year is partially dependent on the assessed value of his home and/or property.