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Bedford Board Sets Hearing for Possible Change to Open Space Tax

BEDFORD, N.Y. – The Bedford Town Board decided on Tuesday to set a public hearing date on the open space tax levy, and citizens will have the option to voice their opinions on whether there should be a full suspension of the levy or just a reduction.

The options open for the public will be the full suspension, along with tax levies set at 0.5 percent, 1 percent, 1.5 percent and 2 percent. The open space levy allows the open space fund to have life, and, as the board said, Bedford was a pioneer years ago in administering the fund in the first place.

While he said knows it’s an important cause, Councilman David Gabrielson cites hard economic times as being a potential cause to suspend the tax levy.

“It seems like a luxury in this time of great hardship to be setting aside tax dollars for open space,” he said. “Especially in a community filled with open space that is privately owned and will probably never be developed.”

Councilman Chris Burdick was on the same page as Gabrielson.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have. It has a lot to do with the fabric of the community,” Burdick said. “But these are very hard times, and it may be something we need to suspend.”

Supervisor Lee V.A Roberts said she wanted the public to understand that, above all, they are presenting the amount of options to the public via the hearing for the betterment of the community.

“Our job is to weigh both sides and come up with the best possible budget,” she said.

The public hearing for the tax levy is scheduled for Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

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