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Whitehall, Heidelberg voters consider taxes on open space

Residents of Whitehall and Heidelberg townships appear on track to pay more taxes next year after voting in favor of separate tax referendums on open space during Tuesday’s primary.

Whitehall’s tax proposal, the first of its kind in that municipality, would add $0.05 mill in property taxes to preserve agricultural land and maintain recreational and open space.

The current general property tax rate is 3.80 million.

With 125 of the 158 precincts reporting, there were 1,895 votes in favor of the tax and 1,536 votes against it.

The open space tax is indefinite, but could be reversed in a future referendum.

The Heidelberg Municipality’s proposal would add 0.175% to the income tax rate each year for ten years, “to be used to finance the acquisition, preservation and preservation of open space,” the acquisition of land and forest easements and paying the associated costs.

County supervisors approved the ballot question in January after several months of discussion. If passed, the tax would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2025, according to city meeting minutes.

Unofficial results show 94 votes in favor of the tax and 81 against.

The two townships would join Lower Macungie, North Whitehall, Upper Milford and Upper Saucon townships in imposing open space taxes.