Thanks to Councilwoman and Mayoral candidate Dawn Zimmer, last week the Hoboken Municipal Council approved a “PILOT Transparency” Resolution that will finally put us on the road to ending the PILOT giveaways that have helped produce our fiscal crisis.
PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) have been used by the Russo and Roberts administrations and their acolytes on the Council to approve special tax abatements for big developers.
When a PILOT is approved the developer pays a negotiated annual fixed amount to the City, while its share of county and school taxes are shifted to non-PILOTed property owners.
Zimmer’s resolution requires that all PILOT resolutions be submitted and publicly available 30 days prior to a vote by the Council, and include an analysis of the cost to the taxpayer under the PILOT versus under an ordinary tax payment calculation. If the taxpayers are losing out, Zimmer’s resolution mandates a statement making clear what, if anything, the taxpayers are getting in return.
I thank Councilwoman Zimmer for taking on the “pay-to-play” power structure and making sure that developers will no longer be able to get special tax breaks hidden under-the radar.