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Open space tax rate increase appears to have been approved in Holmdel

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HOLMDEL – Residents who participated in the 2021 general election appear to have approved an increase in the tax rate that supports the Holmdel Open Space, Recreation, Floodplain Protection and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund from 2.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation to 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation.

The election was conducted with vote by mail ballots; with early in-person voting on nine days in October; and with in-person voting on Nov. 2.

During the summer, the members of the Township Committee adopted an ordinance which placed the binding referendum question on the general election ballot.

According to election results posted online by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, 3,249 residents voted “yes” on the question and 2,615 residents voted “no” on the question. The results of the election will remain unofficial until they have been certified by the county.

Asked to comment on the outcome of the vote regarding the open space tax rate, Mayor Greg Buontempo said, “For many years, the township has worked steadfastly to preserve our bucolic landscape so subsequent generations of Holmdel residents will have open space in which to recreate.

“I am thrilled Holmdel’s voters reinforced that commitment by pledging to expand the acquisition, maintenance and upkeep of our protected land. This shows our community values the quality of life that has been built here,” the mayor said.

According to municipal officials, 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, voters appear to have approved an increase in the collection rate for the Holmdel Open Space Trust Fund to 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation.

According to Township Committee members, the increased revenue a higher open space tax rate will generate will 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 previously 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 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.

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