Groups’ share of open-space funds goes from 2 percent to 10 percent, and from 3 percent to 4 percent for farmland preservation
Lawmakers appear to have settled on a mechanism for allocating constitutionally dedicated funds to preserve open space, farmland, and historic structures for the next fiscal year and beyond.
In a bipartisan vote, the Senate Environment and Energy Committee last week agreed on how to spread at least $155 million among state and local governments, nonprofit groups and others who typically vie for a piece of corporate business taxes allocated to preservation projects each year.
The legislation (S-2920) largely retains how funds have been apportioned in the past with some notable tweaks, primarily to allow nonprofit groups a larger piece of the funding for open-space acquisition and development, as well as farmland preservation.
Nonprofit conservation groups, which leverage state open-space and farmland money with their own funds to preserve undeveloped and agricultural land, also saw increases in funds allocated to their efforts. Open-space acquisitions for nonprofits increased from 2 percent to 10 percent and farmland preservation efforts also rose from 3 percent to 4 percent.
“It is so critical that we are able to continue the on-the-ground conservation efforts so many of our partners are doing,’’ said Ed Potosnak, chair of the Keep It Green Coalition and executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
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