HomeNews TranscriptNews Transcript NewsFreehold Township voters appear to approve open space tax rate increase

Freehold Township voters appear to approve open space tax rate increase

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Voters in Freehold Township appear to have approved a public ballot question that will result in an increase in the local open space tax rate in Freehold Township by 1 cent per $100 of assessed valuation.

According to unofficial results that have been posted the Monmouth County Votes website by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, the question passed by a count of 6,152 “yes” votes to 4,791 “no” votes.

As of Nov. 9, the results included early voting machines; Election Day machines (99% processed); and Election Day mail-in ballots (95% processed). Election Day drop boxes, late mail-in ballots, provisional ballots and cure letters are pending, according to the website.

The public question that was placed on the Nov. 8 ballot by municipal officials asked voters if Freehold Township should increase its open space tax rate from 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. Residents had the option to vote “yes” or “no.”

The open space tax rate generates revenue on an annual basis that funds the community’s open space trust fund.

Voters were asked if they wanted to increase the annual tax collection rate for Freehold Township’s open space, recreation, floodplain protection, and farmland and historic preservation trust fund from the current rate of 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The increased tax rate is expected to generate additional funding (tax revenue) for open space purposes.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Maureen Fasano said, “To date, we have over 9,500 acres of open space, making us one of the most preserved municipalities in Monmouth County for open space. By having dedicated revenue, we can protect open space through direct purchase or farmland preservation.

“The increase of the open space tax rate from 3 cents to 4 cents (per $100 of assessed valuation) will provide a necessary tool in keeping our commitment to the wishes of the township residents by providing more buying power through increased funds,” Fasano said.

The average home in Freehold Township is assessed at $494,212 in 2022. With a local open space tax rate of 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in place, the owner of that home will pay about $148 into the open space trust fund this year.

The public referendum proposed increasing the local open space tax rate to 4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. If the tax rate is raised to that level, the owner of a home that is still assessed at $494,212 in 2023 would pay about $198 into the open space trust fund.

In another example, with an open space tax rate of 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in place, the owner of a home that is assessed at $600,000 in 2022 will pay about $180 into the open space trust fund this year.

If the tax rate is raised to 4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the owner of a home that is still assessed at $600,000 in 2023 would pay about $240 into the open space trust fund.

The open space trust fund tax is one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes municipal taxes, Freehold Township K-8 School District taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes, Monmouth County taxes and a fire district tax.

Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the annual tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

Now that the referendum has apparently been approved by voters, the Township Committee will hold a public hearing to determine the allocation of the increased proceeds to the open space trust fund.

The increase would be intended to fund various purposes, including the acquisition of additional open space parcels and improvements to currently owned open space and parkland properties, according to municipal officials.

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