Senate Passes Toepel’s Open Space Bill
12/10/2013
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed Rep. Marcy Toepel’s legislation to provide clarity to Pennsylvania municipalities regarding the type of projects that can be funded by the local option tax levy.

“This bill gives those municipalities that choose to enact an open space tax, the flexibility to use a portion of the tax to maintain and improve the land acquired through the tax,” said Toepel (R-Montgomery). “Presently the law lacked clarity regarding the usage of the tax. Also, under current law, this tax may only be imposed through voter referendum; however, there is no mechanism to rescind the tax. This bill corrects that oversight by providing language that would provide an avenue for voters to rescind the tax through a referendum vote if the tax is no longer needed or desired.”

House Bill 1523 would amend the Open Space Law to authorize the local taxing option levy to be used for expenses necessary to prepare the resource, recreation or land use plan or for costs associated with the design, engineering, improvement and development of the real property consistent with the approved plan.

Currently, the funds raised from the local option tax can only be used for the purchase of open space land, retiring of debt incurred in purchasing such land and transaction fees related to the purchase, including, but not limited to, the cost of appraisals, legal services, title searches and insurance, document preparation, closing fees and survey expenses.

This legislation has garnered the support of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners, Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, and the Pennsylvania Land Trust.

House Bill 1523 now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

For more legislative information, visit Toepel’s website at RepToepel.com or follow her legislative Facebook page at Facebook.com/RepToepel
 
Representative Marcy Toepel
147th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Mike Straub
717.260.6479
mstraub@pahousegop.com  
RepToepel.com / Facebook.com/RepToepel
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