Open Space Fund conducts local ballot on November 2 – Pascack Press & Northern Valley Press



WOODCLIFF LAKE, NJ – Hoping to maintain its Open Space trust fund which expired in 2020, the borough council voted unanimously on May 4 to ask taxpayers to approve the operation of the fund for yet another seven years in the next general election on November 2.

The fund was first approved by voters in 2005 for a five-year period, and then again approved by voters in 2010 and 2015 for five-year terms. Due to Covid interruptions, the fund was not renewed last year, but board members felt it was important to renew it this year.

The ballot question will require taxpayers to pay an annual levy of 1 cent per $ 100 of property value. On an average $ 765,000 home in a borough, the annual tax on vacant space is about $ 76, borough administrator Tom Padilla said.

Padilla said the open space tax generates around $ 200,000 per year for local open space projects, including preservation work on the Lydecker House and ongoing efforts to rehabilitate and improve the old Galaxy site. Gardens into a passive park.

The borough uses its funds both to underwrite projects and the funds serve as local counterpart for state and county grants often requiring a 50/50 contribution.

At the May 4 meeting, the council authorized the submission of a matching grant for the Bergen County Open Fund for $ 136,349 which, if approved, would require an equal local match.

These matching funds would come from the local Open Space fund, Padilla said. The county grant requested was for proposed amenities for Galaxy Gardens, such as a walking path, benches, gazebo and lighting, the resolution says.

Padilla said that in the county’s next 2022 Open Space funding round, the borough plans to seek more matching funds to complete proposed improvements to the park. He said that once final site sanitation clean-up approvals are in hand and submitted to county officials, the borough plans to secure $ 500,000 in previously awarded grants for the development and construction of the site. Park.

He said the county may also explore safety considerations such as a traffic light at the busy link between Werimus Road and Woodcliff Avenue as planning for the park progresses. Padilla noted that the planned walkway for the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir Nature Trail will likely benefit from local open space funds to make it a reality.

The borough’s local green space fund remains unusual, as many cities do not have these funds and have to rely on finding matching funds in operating expenses or surplus accounts.

Councilor Josephine Higgins requested that the trust fund be authorized for seven years instead of the five previously approved.


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