EDISON – The township now “has the tools to be proactive rather than reactive” with the approval of the Open Space Trust Fund.
“The township needs to now implement the plan and get ahead with the business of land conservation in Edison,” said Walter Stochel, a member of the township Open Space Committee.
The projected approval of the ballot question in the Nov. 2 election was recently certified. The question asked voters if they wanted to reinstate the Edison Open Space Trust Fund. There were 11,958 “yes” votes and 9,304 “no” votes.
The Open Space Trust Fund enables the township to dedicate one cent per $100 of assessed value toward open space improvements. The average home is assessed for $180,600. The average homeowner would pay $18.06 per year.
Heller industrial Park would pay $15,000 per year. The top 20 taxpayers would pay a total of $115,000 per year, officials said.
The open space tax does not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022, according to Township Business Administrator Maureen Ruane.
The main benefit of the Open Space Trust Fund is the of increase grants from the New Jersey Green Acres Program from 25% to 50%, Stochel said.
Currently, Edison has 22 active parks with 328 acres, 1,110 undeveloped acres of parkland for a total of 1,438 acres of parks and protected open space. Since 1998, when the first Trust Fund passed, 952 acres have been preserved, he said.
At a recent Township Council meeting, Stochel said the committee would like to thank the council and Mayor Thomas Lankey for putting the question on the ballot as well as both political parties for the support.
“This is a fantastic victory for open space, parks and recreation for Edison,” he said, adding they look forward to the completion of a park on Glendale Avenue.