POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Pound Ridge voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition Tuesday that will change the way money is added to the town’s open space fund and help reduce the tax burden in 2013.
The proposition passed 1,273 to 436.
The open space fund was created by a proposition in 2010 as a way for the government to accumulate money to buy open spaces within the township. The original plan called for taxing property owners $1 for each $1,000 of assessed property value, totaling approximately $330,000 annually over a 10-year period ending in 2020.
However, due to the struggling economy, the 2 percent tax cap and other budgetary challenges , town officials sought a way to defer payments into the open space fund without ultimately reducing the amount collected.
The proposition approved Tuesday will allow the town to avoid making payments to the fund in 2013. Supervisor Gary Warshauer said if the proposition had failed and the town was forced to make the payment, it alone would have increased the tax burden by 8 percent next year.
After the reprieve for 2013, the proposition calls for sliding scale payments over the next three years: 25 percent in 2014 (or 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value); 50 percent in 2015, and 75 percent in 2016. The regular contribution of $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value would resume in 2017, when, Warshauer hopes, the town will be on more solid financial ground.
Warshauer said the three years of sliding-scale payments means the period in which the funds are accumulated would be extended from the original plan of 10 years to 13 years, ending in 2023 instead of 2020
“This proposition eases the cash flow [into the open space fund], but, in the end, will keep the same amount of money in the fund,” Warshauer said.
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