Case Study: Ocean County, NJ
Ocean County, NJ Funds Watershed Protection with a Dedicated Portion of its Property Taxes
Voters in Ocean County, NJ approved a Natural Lands Trust financed by a new property tax of 1.2 cents per $100 of valuation. The property tax raised more than $4 million in 2000 and is expected to raise $4 million annually for the protection of the Barnegat Bay's watershed and agricultural lands. The county uses funds raised by the tax to purchase and maintain open space, farmland, sources of drinking water, and groundwater recharge areas. The new tax was initiated based on the results of public opinion surveys conducted by the Trust for Public Lands showing that home owners were willing to pay this amount to further watershed protection measures. Therefore, it received broad support. Only natural lands or easements on natural lands will be purchased by the Trust, and public access will be guaranteed. No development will be allowed on the purchased properties. Eighteen other counties and 144 municipalities in New Jersey have developed similar programs.
For more information on Ocean County's Natural Lands Trust Fund, please visit www.tpl.org/tier3_cdl.cfm?content_item_id=947&folder_id=707.