The Monmouth County Freeholders voted last night to put a nonbinding public question on the Nov. 7 ballot. At issue is a proposed countywide tax of 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value to be used to fund the acquisition and upkeep of open space and farmland.

Andrea Alexander of the Asbury Park Press has the story today.

According to the Press, the tax would generate revenue of $16 million in its first year—the same amount now allocated by the county for the purpose under three public questions approved by voters since 1987. The difference in this proposal is that revenue collection would increase as property values rise, according to proponents, who contend the current level of funding is insufficient.

From the Press:

Under the current method for raising open-space funds, the county apportions the $16 million among the 53 towns in the county and sets a tax rate based on the property values in each of those towns, said Mark E. Acker, county finance director.

The change would not affect individual tax bills in its first year, but the long-term impact is unclear.

Since 1960, the county has preserved 14,421 acres of parks, recreation and open space worth $244 million as part of the Monmouth County Park System. The Open Space Trust Fund has been used to preserve 4,591 acres since 1989.

The recommendation of a tax was made in a new county open space plan proposed by the park system. The plan calls for the acquisition of property for five new parks, including sections of Fort Monmouth and the 145-acre Marlboro Airport site on Route 79.