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Twp. Committee Approves Lower Open Space Tax

The half-cent tax per $100 of assessed value allows the township to keep the municipal tax level flat for second year in a row.

The Committee lowering the Open Space tax from two cents to half a cent per $100 of assessed value Thursday.

With this lower tax, the overall municipal tax rate in Chatham Township falls to zero for the second straight year. The committee used this same tactic in 2011 to keep taxes flat from the previous year.

The ordinance passed 3-1, with Committee Member Kathy Abbott casting the sole dissenting vote. Committee Member Bailey Brower, Jr. was absent from the meeting.

Abbott said she was not against lowering the tax, but she did not think it should go as low as half a cent. "I just think that we'd be able to use the money if we raised it to one cent," she said. "I'm going to vote no, out of principle."

Committee Member Kevin Tubbs, who c, said he was not worried about raising money for open space this year.

With most of the town's large open space purchases behind them, including the acquisition of the Averett property, and plenty of funds already in the Open Space fund, Tubbs said it made sense to lower the tax this year and bond for any purchases that may come up.

"There are a couple of philosophies for bonding for open space," he said, especially the idea that the town should "share the cost between the residents of today and the residents of the future."

The open space tax automatically reverts to two cents each year.

Mayor Nicole Hagner said the open space fund presently has a balance of $800,000.


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