On Election Day 2012 West Windsor residents will vote on whether or not to lower the current open space levy of three cents per $100 of assessed property value to two cents. Mayor Hsueh says that residents would see a net savings of about $50 per household as a result of the new rate.
Citing the fact that West Windsor has already accumulated a sufficient open space fund, one that will likely last for the next 10 years with a move to two cents per $100, Mayor Hsueh said there are just a few small parcels of land that could be considered for purchase at present (WW-P News, August 10). With less land to invest in, West Windsor has a reduced need for money in the fund.
The mayor said that with the current open space situation, he would rather “see residents keep more of their money for themselves.” In addition, the township received a $325,000 grant for open space preservation from the state Department of Environmental Protection in September.
The money, part of a matching grant from the DEP’s Green Acres program, will eventually be allocated for open space purchases. Last month Hsueh said the grant money came unexpectedly, but with this amount the township should be able to pay off its balances from previous open space purchases more quickly and have cash on hand if and when some parcels of land are considered.
West Windsor currently has over 8,000 acres of land purchased through its open space preservation fund.
Since 1993 residents have voted on the portion of municipal taxes allocated for the open space fund. The rate has fluctuated with votes over the past 19 years but in 2006, after some homes in the township were reassessed, the rate dropped from seven cents per $100 down to three.