Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Burlington County Proposes Draconian Cuts to its Open Space Program

This post is reprinted from the Circuit Coalition's Crossing Paths Blog:

Tomorrow on June 12th, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders will hold a hearing and vote on a reduction of the County's Open Space tax. The current 4 cent tax will be cut to 1.5 cents: a 63% reduction from $20M per year to $7.5M per year. The County claims that a $48 million dollar surplus in th program would be enough to continue build out of the County's Master Plan. While the proposal is a "one year cut", it is uncertain that the 4 cent tax rate would ever be restored due to the fact that it could be seen as a 167% tax hike.

65 miles of the Circuit are in Burlington County. Currently only about 6 miles of trail have been completed including a 3 mile section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail that was completed last month. The Circuit Coalition roughly estimates that it will cost at least $30 million dollars to complete the Circuit in Burlington County.

The Rancocas Greenway is a case in point. The County has spent millions in Open Space Funds acquiring land bordering the Rancocas Creek. Virtually the entire corridor between Delanco and Brendan Byrne State Forest is in Municipal, County or State ownership. The opportunity to build the 25 mile multi-use trail is now.

The public hearing will take place Tomorrow during the regularly scheduled Freeholder's meeting

June 12th - 7PM
Burlington County Offices
49 Rancocas Mount Holly Road
Mount Holly, NJ


The Freeholders are expected to vote on the proposal at the end of the meeting.

Please attend this meeting and ask the Freeholders to preserve the current tax rate and build the 65 miles of Rancocas Greenway, Delaware River Heritage and Kinkora trails. You can also leave a positive comment on the County's Facebook page.

The Bordentown Trailhead for the Delaware River Heritage Trail was completed in Late May.

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