Vote YES to preserve Middletown’s declining open spaces
Support a 1 cent increase in Middletown’s present 2 cent (per $100 assessed value) dedicated open space tax for acquisitions and improvements of open space and parkland. The total $3+ million annual contribution to the open space fund is combined with state, county, or foundation money (when available) to head off land development and improve Middletown’s quality of life.
In the last 4 years, Middletown has issued permits for 587 new housing units. Current average annual new housing units is a whopping 250% greater than the average annual new housing units in the first 6 years of this decade Completion of the Taylor Lane and Village 35 developments will further increase the current upward trend in housing units.
To head off a future onslaught, Middletown’s 50% increase in dedicated open space funding is in line with the nationwide Sierra Club 30X30 Conservation Agenda to preserve 30% of the nation’s land by 2030.  A Climate Crisis AND Extinction Crisis is occurring at the same time around the world. By preserving wild spaces, we can protect more of nature. Through smart conservation and management, we could offset 21% of U.S. Green House Gas emissions. 
Middletown’s goal is also consistent with the June 30, 2020, report by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: “Protect at least 30% of all U.S. lands and ocean areas by 2030, prioritizing areas with high ecological, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration value” and “Protect and restore ocean and wetland ecosystems, forests, and grasslands to sequester carbon and improve nature’s resilience to climate impacts, including wildfire and coastal flooding” 
New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the U.S., could be built out by the middle of this century  This is in the wrong direction from the proposed national long-term goal to conserve 50% of the planet by 2050. The criticality is recognized by at least 236 NJ communities which have also implemented open space taxes (2017 data  )
Additional reasons to support open space initiatives: 
· Open space preservation plays an important role in bolstering the township’s quality of life and benefiting the environment but incurs only minimal costs for upkeep.
· Open space preservation is one of the most cost-effective and efficient means of environmental protection.
· Open space provides a variety of environmental and economic benefits including protection of water resources, preservation of biodiversity and wildlife habitats, creation of greenways, enhancement of urban centers, and support of recreational opportunities.
· Open space, park, and recreation projects are important to successful urban redevelopment initiatives.
· The amount of open space necessary to perform vital functions, such as replenishing aquifers, protecting wildlife habitats and satisfying recreational demand, increases as the population of Middletown continues to grow.
· Additional reasons are found at https://www.nj.gov/dep/dsr/trends/Open%20Space.pdf
In this 2020 election, it is important to vote YES for Middletown open space.
Climate Chair, Sierra Club NJ Shore Group
Co-Founder “Middletown for Clean Energy”
Trained as Climate Leader, by the Climate Reality Project