$3,300,000 is being borrowed by the city to reimburse commercial property owners after companies successfully challenged the city’s tax assessment of their properties in New Jersey Tax court and won.
The city has been hemorrhaging large sums of money through tax appeals in recent years due to the excessively high assessment values of most properties within city limits. Last tax reevaluation which was completed in 2006 during the peak of the housing market just months prior to the housing crash continues to haunt the city.
Steinway Street Associates and Fabian-Alexandria, LLC. companies that own 39-51 Church Street, site of the defunct Fabian Theater, have appealed their property’s tax assessment and reduced the buildings taxes from $6.5 million to $5.2 million resulting in a revenue loss of $1.3 million for the city.
Home Depot, situated in Park Avenue and East 27th Street, appealed its property taxes and received a reduction of $1 million. The company’s previous assessment stood at $18.7 million the reduction brought the assessment down to $17.7 million, according to city document.
Verizon, owner of former Bell Telephone Company building on Hamilton Avenue and Fair Street, reduced its assessment from $10.5 million to $6.9 million, a loss of $3.6 million for the city.
Lowe’s, situated on McLean Boulevard, reduced its tax burden from $21.4 million to $20 million, resulting in a loss of $1.4 million for the city.
Allied Extruders of New Jersey, a company that owns 151 Sherman Avenue, reduced its property assessment from $2.8 million to $1.7 million, a loss of $1.1 million for the city’s coffer.
The $3.3 million the city approved to bond will cover a portion of the large number of expensive tax appeals. Council members voted in favor of bonding the $3.3 million during Tuesday’s council meeting.
“I do not believe this type of business that we’re doing,” said Rigo Rodriguez, councilman at-large, voting against the bond resolution. Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, 2nd Ward councilman; Anthony Davis, 1st Ward councilman; Kenneth McDaniel, councilman at-large; Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman; and Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, voted in favor of the bond ordinance.
Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman; William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman; and Kenneth Morris, 1st Ward councilman, were not present during the vote. Davis said the resolution has his vote for the first reading; a second reading of the resolution is set for the next regular meeting of the council.