ATLANTIC HIGHLANS, New Jersey – “It’s not too late to save our remaining open lands, protect our water quality, and ensure our property taxes are kept in check by avoiding over development. We can still do something about it by voting yes on the County Open Space Question,” declared Benson Chiles, Chairman of the Save Open Space in Monmouth Committee.  The group formed recently for the sole purpose of ensuring that sufficient funds are available to protect our dwindling natural resources in Monmouth County. Now is the time for action to protect the remaining natural lands, create urban parks, and ensure recreation opportunities for the public.

The ballot question asks voters to support an increased dedication in the annual collection rate that translates to approximately 16 cents to the average taxpayer to allow the Monmouth County Park System land purchase program to keep pace with rising land costs in the face of our rapidly developing landscape.  The Monmouth County Open Space, Recreation, Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund makes it possible for the Monmouth County Park System to offer a world class, nationally renowned park system and a regional destination for outdoor recreation. Back in 1994, it was the first in nation to be accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and subsequently reaccredited in 2014.

Chiles explained “one of the biggest contributors to the high property taxes we pay as residents of New Jersey is residential overdevelopment.  Residential development increases public infrastructure costs such as schools and roads.  The taxpayer shoulders the burden of these costs.  Preserving open space helps balance land preservation and development.”

To date, the Open Space Trust Fund has made the preservation of 8,677 acres possible in Monmouth County.  The Monmouth County Park System currently manages 17,000 acres with a goal of preserving at least 20,000 acres.  In order to reach this goal, an increase to the annual collection rate is vital.

The Save Open Space in Monmouth Committee is accepting monetary contributions to support voter approval of the Open Space question and keep Monmouth green. 

The Monmouth County Open Space Trust Fund provides funding to ensure residents have permanently preserved lands for recreation, water quality protection, floodplain protection, and to maintain the operations of a nationally accredited park system.  Since its inception in 1989, the Trust Fund has maintained a clean record of public spending.  All monies from this measure are legally dedicated and placed in a separate Trust Fund.  Spending decisions are carefully overseen by a public board with numerous citizen representatives.

For more information, please visit www.monmouthconservation.org/sos or call 732.671.7000.