Following is Mayor Gonnellli’s letter to Governor Christie regarding proposed changes to NJMC tax sharing formula.
Dear Governor Christie:
I write this letter out of exasperation over the lack of progress with regard to fundamentally changing tax sharing within the Meadowlands District. As you are aware, last year the paying municipalities within the Meadowlands District withheld their tax sharing payments because it appeared that the request to find a more equitable solution to tax sharing was falling on deaf ears. After being forced to take this desperate action, the governor responded on May 12, 2011 that he thought this issue could be worked out behind closed doors among the parties involved. As a result of his comments and promises to work on solutions, the towns forwarded their tax sharing payments and looked forward to a swift resolution.
On Aug. 16, 2011, Assemblyman Prieto met with then-Commissioner Grifa to discuss proposed changes in legislation with regard to tax sharing and he was assured that there would be a bill that the governor could support ready for introduction and approval during the lame duck session. As you are aware, the lame duck session has come and gone and there was no such bill ever introduced or approved.
Earlier this year, we were again told that tax sharing would be addressed and potential solutions would be arrived at with a hard date of April 15, 2012. Prior to the 15th, we met with the Commission staff as well as Dr. Listokin so that he could formulate recommendations for potential changes to tax sharing to be considered by the governor’s office. It is my understanding that Dr. Listokin came up with twenty different potential changes to the formula, of which the Meadowlands Commission staff forwarded what in their opinion were the best four to the governor’s office for consideration. I would like to note that the leaders of the very municipalities that this crucial issue affects have never seen any of these twenty proposals nor been given an opportunity to comment as to the effect of any of the proposals on their constituent municipalities.
Last month at the Meadowlands Mayors Committee meeting, the mayors asked for an update as the status of this issue and we were told by the Meadowlands Commission Executive Director Marcia Karrow that, while the issue was being taken seriously, the governor’s office was having a difficult time understanding tax sharing. We were also told at that meeting that there is now no time table as to when to expect a solution.
I hope you can see from the above outline how my frustration grows as this matter drags on while at the same time the Town of Secaucus continues to pay in excess of $2.7 million annually to other municipalities as a result of this unfair and antiquated tax sharing formula. I would again like to renew my request to amicably resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
Additionally, I would request that this office share with the mayors Dr. Listokin’s report of the twenty recommendations so that we can assess their potential feasibility and impact on the residents of the Town of Secaucus.
Michael J. Gonnelli