Livingston Open Trust Committee (LOSTC)
The role of the LOSTC is to make recommendations to the Township Council about the purchase and preservation of open space, easements and historic properties for conservation, recreation and preservation purposes.
In November 2002, a referendum to establish a Municipal Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund was voted on by the residents of the Township of Livingston. A total of 4,484 people (76%) voted “yes” to the question posed on the referendum. In November 2008, the Open Space ballot to eliminate the Sunset provision and permit the Open Space Trust Fund to continue in perpetuity was overwhelmingly approved by Livingston residents in a referendum. 76% of voters voted “yes.”
After the overwhelming support of the voters, a reserve in the Township’s general capital fund, which shall be known as the “Livingston Open Space Trust Fund,” was established by the Township Council in January 2003. At the same time, The Livingston Open Space Trust Committee (LOSTC) was established by ordinance to provide advice and counsel to the Township Council on the expenditure of the moneys from the Open Space Trust Fund. It consists of seven members, one of whom is the Township manager or his designee, one is a member of the Township Council, one is a member of the Planning Board, one is a member of the Livingston Environmental Commission, and three members are appointed by the Township Council, which also appoint two alternates. All members of the Open Space Trust Committee are residents of the Township and serve without compensation.
Funds from the Open Space Trust Fund may be used, as directed by the Township Council, to acquire vacant land, easements, development rights and historical sites. Funds from the account may also be used to acquire land which has improvements upon it at the time of acquisition, provided that the principal purpose of the acquisition is to preserve open space.
The Open Space Trust Fund shall be funded through the dedication to the Fund of an amount not to exceed three cents ($0.03) per one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed valuation of each annual tax levy. This amount may be altered by the passage of a new referendum. The Fund shall also be permitted to accept donations and testamentary bequests. The funds accumulated within the Fund may be utilized for the acquisition of land, easements, development rights and/or historical sites, or as a down payment for the issuance of bonds for the same purpose at the discretion of the Township Council. Any and all interest accruing shall remain in the Fund and may be utilized for the above-described purpose.
Powers and Duties of LOSTC:
The LOSTC shall initially prepare a report recommending the acquisition of specified lands in fee, the acquisition of specified easements and/or the acquisition of development rights to specified lands. The report shall prioritize the acquisitions recommended. The Township Council, after reviewing the report, shall determine which properties, easements or development rights should be pursued. After selection of the lands, easements or development rights, the Township may acquire by gift, purchase or by eminent domain proceedings the identified lands, easements or development rights within the financial constraints established by the Township Council.