On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space, I urge that the governing bodies of the Borough and Township vote on June 26th to submit a blended open space tax of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to the voters this November. This will enable a united Princeton to continue good stewardship of its recreation and passive open space and make key acquisitions contemplated by our joint Master Plan. Studies of the finances behind this number show that it is more than justified.
In the past, voters in the Township have voted twice to support an open space tax (2 cents/$100), and one was also passed separately by Borough voters (1 cent/$100). Because those entities will cease to exist on December 31, it is necessary to have a new ballot question to re-authorize the “joint” tax. The Joint Consolidation Commission included a 1.7-cent tax in its calculation of the tax savings of consolidation, and it was recommended by the Finance Subcommittee of the Transition Task Force. Without an open space tax, the unified Princeton will lose its access to Green Acres Planning Incentive Grants and much of its ability to leverage purchases and recreation projects.
Beyond the aesthetic and health benefits we enjoy from preserved lands, open space helps decrease costs caused by flooding, heat-sink effects and loss of species diversity, and dampens the need for expensive infrastructure. By protecting open space at the same time we proceed with various contemplated developments, we can achieve a balance that will keep our united community a financially viable and environmentally desirable place to live.
We encourage all Princetonians to urge your representatives to support this measure on the 26th. The voters will have their say in November; they should not be deprived of that opportunity.
Very truly yours, Wendy L. Mager, President