Portion of Open Space Fund to go Toward Maintenance, Gingrich Says
HARRISBURG – Today, the House approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon) that would allow a portion of local option taxes to be set aside for the maintenance of open spaces.
House Bill 2223 would authorize municipal governments that collect the local option tax at an increased rate for open space purposes to use up to 25 percent of the annual accumulated balance of the Open Space Fund for maintenance. Alternatively, a municipal government may establish a maintenance fund into which it can deposit an amount up to 25% of the annual levy.
“There are communities all across the Commonwealth that have acquired property in order to establish open space for the enjoyment of their residents,” said Gingrich. “However, there is no mechanism in place to provide for the care and maintenance of these properties. My bill authorizes municipal governments to use or set aside a portion of the local option tax revenues for this purpose, once the annual debt service and acquisition fees are paid.”
“Last year, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, many of our communities sustained severe damage. In addition to infrastructure and personal property losses, the flooding and severe weather took its toll on many of our trails and recreation areas,” said Gingrich. “Municipalities are responsible for the care and maintenance of recreation areas and open space. Yet, they do not have a mechanism in place to address the costs of repairs. This bill will change that.”
Gingrich’s legislation also gives municipalities the power to repeal or continue the levy. Any change could not occur sooner than five years after the local option goes into effect or when the purchase price has been repaid, whichever is later.
House Bill 2223 now goes to the Senate for consideration.
State Representative Mauree Gingrich
101st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham