Spending money before it is gone

In a last minute money-grab, the freeholders are discussing quick ways to use up Green Acres funding before the money is rescinded.

The county could get as much as $1 million in Green Acres funding, said Matt Blake, manager of the Delaware Bay Program for the American Littoral Society, in urging freeholders to apply.

The deadline for submitting requests is Feb. 15. Green Acres representative Curt Gellerman told the freeholders that missing the deadline means the county may lose out on getting the last of the funds authorized for the program under a state ballot question approved by voters in 2009.

What is bothersome about this is that the former administration argued vehemently against an open space plan. They dragged their feet, and only after being beaten down did they eventually adopt an open space plan for the county.

Now, with what could be the last chance to participate in Green Acres funding for the county, which is a good thing and necessary, the county is now scrambling to come up with ideas to use the money.

Had the CCDO leadership voluntarily moved forward and adopted an open space plan sooner, we would have had time to develop full-fledged programs and projects. The projects could have been ready when funding became available.

Now, we have a new administration working to develop projects at the last minute, projects that once completed will be self-sustaining and require a minimum of maintenance (which equals extra costs). Tom Sheppard’s idea of building walking and riding trails along defunct railroad beds is a good idea, for instance. However, with time being of the essence, it is truly a shame that the thirty years of leadership under the CCDO worked against open space and has put the county in a position of [possibly acting too quickly and not being able to sufficiently study the impact of proposed projects.

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