– Legislation sponsored by Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe) that would allow local governments to better maintain municipal-owned lands used for parks and recreational purposes to benefit residents passed unanimously in the House of Representatives this week. House Bill 221
now moves to the Senate for consideration.
“Under current law, municipal property that serves an open space benefit, but was not purchased under the auspices of the Open Space Air Act, cannot be developed or maintained using open space funds,” said Rader. “My legislation would close this gap in the law by allowing municipalities to properly maintain open space land, regardless of the manner in which the land was acquired.”
Specifically, Rader’s proposal would amend the Open Space Air Act to allow local governments to annually use up to 25% of a municipality’s open space fund to develop, improve, design, engineer and maintain property acquired for an open space benefit. Alternatively, the local government may create an open space maintenance fund into which up to 25% of the annual revenue from the open space tax may be deposited.
Similar legislation sponsored by Rader passed unanimously in the House during the last session but was not taken up by the Senate.