Vernon passes open space question

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Voters in Vernon Township approved a referendum to allow the use of up to 30 percent of the Open Space Trust fund money to maintain township-owned open space and the creation and maintenance for public pathways for hiking, biking and horseback riding trails.

The measure also allows the creation of amenities, including public gardens, disc golf and bike pump tracks and the preservation of maintenance of cultural sites.

According to unofficial results from the Sussex County Board of Elections, the measure passed, 4,915-3,996.

There is about $1 million in the township’s open space fund.

Vernon Township Mayor Harry Shortway said eligible projects will be determined by the Township Council on a “case-by-case” basis.

Shortway also said the measure would not increase taxes and about $700,000 will remain for additional open space purchases.

More than 24,000 acres in Vernon are currently preserved as open space.

Shortway praised the measure’s passage this morning, posting “we will begin to go forward with the ‘Vision for Vernon’. Thank you.”

In other locally contested races, Franklin councilwoman Dawn Fantasia and Sparta Mayor Joshua Hertzberg were elected to the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, defeated Democrats Howard Zatkowski and Patrick Curreri, and independent Newton Mayor Wayne Levante.

Gary R. Chiusano was re-elected as Sussex County Surrogate.

William Gaechter was re-elected by a nearly 2-1 margin to the Wantage Township Committee over Democrat Susan Weiss.

Megan Steele, Dorothy L. Witte and Jennifer Craig were elected to Wantage seats on the Sussex-Wantage Regional School District Board of Education.

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