Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ordinance 2013-17: Plan Ahead???

It has been proposed that Hillsborough's voters decide whether 20% of the Open Space Trust Fund be used for something other than the purchase of Open Space.

The proposed ordinance generalizes that the 20% is " be utilized for the the development and, or improvement of park and recreation facilities that are located on property within the open space and park inventory for recreation, conservation and general open space purposes."

What exactly do they want to do and where do they want to do it?

On May 3rd Committeeman Carl Suraci made a presentation to the Open Space Advisory Committee which included vague suggestions about ball fields, active and passive recreation, and synthetic fields. He couldn't exactly state what those needs were, but reassured those present that they would do a needs assessment later.

The township news release that was supposed to explain the proposal to divert 20% from Open Space purchases states, "If the ordinance is passed [on July 23rd] at a public hearing, the Township Committee will also consider a resolution calling for a study to conduct a thorough analysis of the passive and active recreational needs for Hillsborough Township. The resulting report will provide guidance to prioritizing any improvements."

This proposed ordinance is too general and has too much latitude for unknown persons to make unspecified spending decisions.

Why should a critical use such as purchasing currently available open space suffer for some unidentified and apparently unexplainable recreation use?

Is it that Parks and Recreation needs more money? Then make that an issue on next year's budget, don't play a shell game where the taxpayer has to guess which shell to choose.

This would be a good time for the Township Committee to graciously withdraw proposed Ordinance 2013-17, figure out what exactly is needed and where and how much it cost.

Then, next year, explain specifically what is being proposed, why it is more important than purchasing open space while it is available, and ask the voters what they want to do.

"Act in haste, repent at leisure." - various

"Unreasonable haste is the direct road to error." - Moliere

"What do we tell our children? Haste makes waste. Look before you leap. Stop and think. Don't judge a book by its cover. We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible and spending as much time as possible in deliberation." - Malcolm Gladwell

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