The Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce a simpler and easier to use Open Space Acquisition Assistance Grant Program that will advance mutually beneficial land preservation objectives and increase funding and opportunities with State Green Acres and municipal and nonprofit organization open space preservation initiatives.
The Board of County Commissioners shall determine, on an annual basis, the funding to be allocated to the new program but not to exceed thirty (30%) percent respectively of the total annual levy that is collected. Municipalities and Nonprofit Organizations can apply for Open Space Trust Funds for preservation and acquisition of lands for recreation, conservation, and general open space purposes. However, funding will be awarded on a competitive basis and limited to not more than 50% of the cost of eligible land acquisition.
For the first year, Hunterdon County projects a collection of $6.5 million with the Open Space Acquisition Assistance Grant Program receiving over $1,900,000.00. Additionally, unspent funds from the previous year’s grant allocation will rollover for immediate use in the following year. The remaining County Open Space Trust Funds will be used for continued Farmland Preservation and Park System land purchases and upgrades by the County Agriculture Development Board and Board of County Commissioners.
The County still maintains its Municipal Grant Program in which Municipalities can apply for Open Space Trust Funds for planning related documents or for preservation and acquisition of lands for recreation, conservation, general open space and farmland purposes. Municipalities may also apply County Trust Funds toward retiring new debt service incurred for eligible acquisition purposes and may use Trust Funds for the restoration/rehabilitation of county-, or municipally-owned historic facilities.
Copies of the Hunterdon County Open Space, Farmland & Historic Preservation Trust Fund Plan have been distributed to all municipal clerks and planning boards in the County.