Ann Arbor Approves Greenbelt (MI)
ANN ARBOR, MI 11/04/03- Ann Arbor voters have made their views regarding open space known: they want more of it protected and are willing to pay. Today, city voters approved by a two-thirds margin Proposal B, amending the city’s charter allow a 1/2 mill tax and establish the Parks and Greenbelt Open Space Program.
Funds approved by the voters will be used to preserve and protect open space, natural habitats, and the city’s source waters. The charter amendment calls for the city to purchase land for preservation both inside the city limits as well as within a designated greenbelt area surrounding the city. The measure is expected to generate approximately $57 million over its 30-year life for the acquisition and management of parks and open space.
“Ann Arbor’s rapid growth is placing increased pressure on open space and water resources,” said Cynthia Whiteford, director of the Trust for Public Land’s Midwest region. “The voices of Ann Arbor’s voters have been heard. Their “yes” votes will provide new city funding to help protect Ann Arbor’s quality of life and contain urban sprawl.”
The referendum will mean a contribution of $46 per year for the average homeowner in Ann Arbor for the preservation of land and natural resources.
Ann Arbor voters joined voters in 78 communities in 17 states across the country in voting on new funds for land conservation. A similar measure for farmland protection was also on the ballot in Ann Arbor Township.
Today’s other key local votes included: Arapahoe County, CO ($170 million); Montgomery County, PA ($150 million); Ann Arbor, MI ($58 million); Boulder, CO ($51 million); Brevard County, FL ($50 million); Hudson County, NJ ($40 million); Huntington, NY ($30 million); San Antonio, TX ($27 million); and Carroll County, GA ($19 million). A statewide measure is also slated for New Jersey ($150 million) .
A complete list of results from local and state ballot measures on conservation and parks will be available on-line tomorrow at www.landvote.org—a partnership of the Trust for Public Land and the Land Trust Alliance. The results of Tuesday’s votes will also be published as a report in early 2004.
Earlier in 2003, a total of 34 ballot measures for land conservation were approved by voters in 15 different states. In total, they raised $546 million for conservation-related purposes.
Most of the measures tabulated by LandVote are property tax increases or general obligation bonds. Bonds are a way for communities to borrow money in order to save land now, while paying off the debt over the next 20 or 30 years. The dollar amounts of each measure are either the total amount of the bond, or in the case of a new tax, the total of the revenue created over the lifetime of the levy (usually 10 to 20 years). When a ballot measure contains no sunset provision, LandVote estimates its revenue total based on a 20-year duration.
“LandVote 2003” is available on the web at www.landvote.org
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Established in 1972, TPL is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well being. Visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org