Next month, Jersey City residents will vote on a new tax initiative intended to fund parks and historic preservation. While any recreation-based tax hike can be a difficult sell, many residents insist that the community would benefit from more outdoor park space.
This past summer, Mayor Steven Fulop proposed an open trust fund that would generate $1.2 million for natural preservation. Stressing that parks are as important to infrastructure as roads and water systems, the Mayor emphasized that such a small investment could yield great returns. Some parks need to be rebuilt, while others will require maintenance and replenishing.
The tax breaks down to be two cents per $100 of assessed value, which many residents say is a small price to pay to provide open green area and preserve historic landmarks. However, others point to the already-steep property taxes in Jersey City that make them reticent to support even higher taxes.
Jersey City currently has over sixty existing city parks. Many resident families rely on such parks for their children’s outdoor recreation experience, and there is no denying the aesthetic value added. The question voters will face on November 8th is whether or not this is an appropriate tax rate for such an issue. New Jersey, the state with the highest property taxes in the US, has seen a string of communities approve similar measures indicating a community call for more areas of open space.
If approved, an advisory board will be created to determine how exactly the funds generated will be spent. In an election where many seem suspicious about allocation of government funds, voter faith in the system will be tested this Election Day.