February 13, 2013
Re: Sustainable State Funding Source for Open Space and Farmland Preservation
At our Annual Business Meeting on December 5, 2012, the League adopted Resolution 2012-4, “Supporting Sustainable State Funding for Preservation and Stewardship of Open Space, Park, Farmland and Historic Sites in New Jersey.” With the support of the Officers, I have made preservation funding a major 2013 League legislative goal.
New Jersey has a long, successful and laudable history of preserving open space, parks and farmland. The New Jersey Green Acres program has helped to preserve over 650,000 acres of land and supported more than 1,100 park development projects over the past 50 years, and the State Agricultural Development Committee has preserved 200,000 acres of farmland over the past 30 years. Municipalities have been key partners and direct beneficiaries of these valuable state preservation programs.
Substantial unmet needs and significant worthwhile projects remain for land and water protection, farmland preservation and park development for the health and welfare of our communities and residents. Good land and environmental policy have long term beneficial results.
On Monday, February 4 the Senate Environment and Energy Committee began consideration of different approaches to achieve a sustainable state funding source for open space, farmland and historic preservation.
The Committee took testimony, but did not formally act, on the following bills:
- S-813, which would impose water consumption and diversion user fees to fund open space and farmland preservation projects.
- S-2529, the "Preserve New Jersey Act of 2013"; which would implement a constitutional dedication of sales tax revenue for open space, including flood prone areas, farmland, and historic preservation purposes.
- S-2530, the "Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2013," which would authorize bonds for $400 million.
With the funding from the 2009 bond referendum now fully allocated, the League calls on the Legislature and the Administration to establish a long-term, sustained and dedicated funding source to assure that future generations benefit from the natural resources of the Garden State.
While the League did not take a position on the above bills, I did forward a letter transmitting the League Resolution, expressing support for the Legislature and the Administration to establish a sustainable state funding source to assure that future generations benefit from the natural resources of the Garden State.
The League has drafted a model resolution for your consideration to assist in our efforts on this League legislative priority. The resolution is posted online at: http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/resolution-league-2012-04-open-space-preservation.pdf and http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/resolution-league-2012-04-open-space-preservation.doc
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (609) 443-4000, ext. 252.
Very truly yours,
Janice S. Mironov, President
New Jersey State League of Municipalities
Mayor, East Windsor Township