Voters To Decide Fate of $500,000 Trust Fund
Cedar Grove residents to determine Open Space Trust Fund balance question on May 14.
On May 14, Cedar Grove voters will have the chance to decide the fate of $500,000 in Open-Space Trust Fund monies when the question appears on the ballot as part of a municipal public question.
According to municipal documents, the Open Space Trust Fund was established “for the purposes of acquiring lands, property or easements within the Township for active and passive recreation and for conservation purposes.”
Cedar Grove Councilman Joseph Chiusolo said “This fund was established more than 10 years ago and has more than half a million dollars in open space money. Cedar Grove is not a community that has an inventory of open space that is affordable for us to use the taxpayer money to acquire.”
The council thought it was important to allow taxpayers to have a voice on the future of the money and is encouraging residents to come out and vote on the question on election day, he said.
“I have been against this tax since its inception,” said Deputy Mayor Robert O'Toole. “The less taxes we have, the better off we are and if we needed to buy property, which we did buy for Panther Park, we could always bond for it instead of taxing the people.”
O'Toole wants to eliminate the tax and put the monies in the township’s general fund “to lower people's taxes in some way or another,” he said.
The public question will read as follows:
“The Governing Body of the Township of Cedar Grove has decided to allow the collection of the open space trust fund tax expire therefore leaving a fund balance of approximately $500,000. Do you wish for the open space trust fund balance to be used to offset future tax increases?”
Although the public question result will be non-binding on council, it is expected to guide the them in making their final decision.
"The purpose of this non-binding referendum is to provide the Governing Body of the Township of Cedar Grove with the sentiment of the legal voters on the question presented," the resolution says. "If this public question is approved, the Township shall have the discretion to allow the remaining balance of the open space trust fund to be used to offset future tax increases."
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