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Town Board: Vote for Open Space

Bedford's town board asks for the public's support of the November referendum for a one percent open space tax.

To the Editor:

On November 6, 2012, the residents of Bedford will have an opportunity to vote on a local law which reduces the Town’s Open Space and Clean Water dedicated tax to 1% of the General and Highway levy.  A positive vote would affirm that the open space tax, (formerly 3%) would be reinstated in 2013 at 1% for the next five years.

The Town Board felt it was important for the citizens of Bedford to reaffirm their commitment to financing open space and water protection albeit at a much lower level.

This Fund has helped to finance the acquisition of over 71 acres of open space, often leveraging other private and not for profit funding to augment its purchasing power. 

Through the Town’s Open Space Committee which advises the Town Board on potential acquisitions, including the potential benefits of each, we have had the rare opportunity to acquire parcels contiguous to two of our Town parks and expand the green belt around the third.  We have been able to provide protection for our precious water resources including both reservoir and groundwater from which most of our residents access their drinking water.  Our Town is greener, cleaner and more beautiful because we have had the means to acquire these parcels.

The Town Board recognizes that this is a difficult financial time for many of our residents and we too feel the same fiscal pressures in our own lives and with our municipal budget.  However, this is not the time to give up on our vision for Bedford.  The beautiful vistas, trees, reservoirs and wildlife all contribute to the quality of life that we share.  For the average household this tax amounts to $20 per year, a very small price to pay for such a large community benefit.

We hope you will join us in voting to approve the Clean Water and Open Space 1% tax on November 6th.  It is important that we continue to preserve Bedford’s precious natural resources for generations to come.

Sincerely,

 

Lee V.A. Roberts    Francis Corcoran     Chris Burdick

Peter Chryssos        David Gabrielson

 

Related stories:

Tax Cap Threatens Town's Open-Space Acquisitions

Bedford Cuts Funding for Open-Space Buys

POLL: Will You Support an Open Space Tax in November?

Frank greene October 22, 2012 at 10:55 AM
1% is the very least we can do.
Donald Diamond October 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM
The Town’s message is confusing in that it looks like a 3% ir $60 dollars will be committed to open space purchases if one votes no on the proposition or leaves it blank. They say they are looking for commitment to open space purchases. But, the Town does not say if existing law does not provide that commitment for future purchases..
mark October 22, 2012 at 02:18 PM
vote no, if people want open space on adjacent property then buy it yourself
D.S. October 22, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Vote NO,,,,,,I agree with Mark.......I am sick of people voing to give my money away....you agree with the 1% then voluntarily write out a check!
Dan October 24, 2012 at 04:14 PM
At a time when the Town is asking all it's departments to make cuts, the taxpayers should NOT be asked to fund this. Some of these properties that are purchased with the taxpayers money only seem to benefit a few people, mostly a few estates that border these lands. If the Town wants open space so bad lets see what they do with the property near the Reservoir with the Deed restriction of two homes and is now applying for multiple luxury homes. Open space should be done with donations and not taxes. Vote No.
Bea Rhodes October 24, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I support open space in Bedford and personally wrote a check the last time the issue was on the table at a Town Board meeting. However, it is my opinion that the fund for open space should be privately funded, not paid out of taxpayer dollars. These are hard times for many. Our Town Departments are being asked to once again cut their budgets, some fees may be raised and town employees are being asked to contribute more to their health insurance. Therefore, I do not believe that this is the time to ask for additional taxes to fund the Open Space proposal.
Len Martello October 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I must agree with mark and with Bea Rhodes. My brother, who lives in Brewster did not want a house built next door, so HE bought the lot adjacent to keep open space. Seems to work well. Why should taxpayers fund this?
mark October 26, 2012 at 02:43 AM
another thing that must be discussed in conjunction with open space is the amount of property designated as 'agricultural land' and benefiting by paying a far reduced rate. I believe this to be an abuse of this designation, i don't believe a vegetable stand on Guard Hill Road is a 'real farm' nor do i believe that the original intent of this was for weekend thoroughbred race horse 'farms'. The other 99% of us will end up paying the difference in the reduced tax revenue from this property coming off the tax rolls.

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