There are major flaws with the new abatement policy proposed by the Cunningham Administration. The first flaw is the proposal that construction that is less than $2.2 million would not require a public hearing by ordinance. Instead, the Tax Assessor would give his approval and council would vote by resolution. All abatements are seeking public subsidies of their taxes, yet the public cannot speak on resolutions and resolutions are not required to be placed on the agenda according to state statues.
Secondly, in Jersey City developers have sought abatements before construction, but some have received abatements after construction. If a developer acquires a block, then build a $20 million housing development; then transfer individual units of housing to another corporation that ownership could apply for abatement by resolution. Individual townhouses would not reach the threshold of $2.2 million. The public would not be aware that there is development until they read the public notice by the planning board.
In the past, Jersey City granted many 5-year tax abatements, which did not receive any input until the abatement was changed to 30 years. By then it was just a formality.
Eventually, Jersey City will be required to do another revaluation. The assessed value of the new construction will be applied to older homes. But the new construction will be exempted from higher taxes.
Lastly, abatements do affect tax bills. Recently, Mayor Cunningham wrote in his letter to taxpayers that taxes are "stabilized" yet I received an increase of $120.16. The ratable base decreased through tax appeals, abatements do not add to the ratable base so taxes increase. Abatements rob the city of the ability to stabilize taxes.