Fact sheet for City of Newark Open Space Referendum
On Tuesday, November 5th Newark voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to establish a dedicated source of funding to acquire, develop and maintain land for conservation and recreation, including provide safe, clean and accessible parks, neighborhood playgrounds, community gardens and playing fields for youth sports. If the referendum is approved, the Newark Municipal Council would be authorized to create an Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund through a levy of 1-cent per $100 of assessed property, which is estimated to generate $1.1 million annually for these purposes. Every county in New Jersey, including Essex, and over 200 municipalities in New Jersey have already established voter-approved open space trust funds. In Nov. 2012, East Orange voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to create an open space and recreation trust fund in their city.
If a 1-cent levy is approved and established, the cost to the owner of property assessed at $200,000 would be $20 annually, less than $1.70 per month. Renters would not be subject to the levy. All funds would be dedicated and could only be used for the purposes specified in the ballot language (see below). Full public disclosure of all expenditures would be required.
The 2012 City of Newark Master Plan identified the need to make parks more secure, attractive and enjoyable for the public, to improve maintenance and programming at existing parks, and to expand access to quality open space and recreation in neighborhoods underserved by parks. Passage of the Newark Open Space Trust Fund would make more resources available to meet these goals and to leverage state, county and private funds.
Municipal Question No. 1
Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund
Shall the City of Newark create a “Municipal Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund, to be funded through an annual levy of one cent per $100.00 of assessed valuation of real property for the purposes of acquiring, developing and maintaining lands for recreation and conservation, including providing safe, clean and accessible parks; repairing and improving existing parks; creating neighborhood playgrounds and playfields for youth sports; and for the payment of any debt service incurred by the City for these purposes, with full public disclosure and review of all expenditures?
Approving this referendum will authorize the City of Newark to establish a Municipal Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund to acquire, develop and maintain lands for conservation and recreation purposes in order to provide safe, clean and accessible parks, neighborhood playgrounds and playfields for youth sports throughout the City. A yes vote will permit the City to establish a Municipal Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund and authorize an annual levy of one cent per $100.00 of assessed real property value to fund the purposes above, including debt service on any bonds issued for these purposes. Funds raised by the measure, along with any interest or other income earned on monies deposited into th municipal trust account shall be credited to the fund, and could only be used for these purposes and would be eligible for a greater match through the State Green Acres Program and by other state, county and private sources. Full public disclosure and review of all expenditures would be required.