A month after Secaucus, Moonachie, and Carlstadt said they would withhold their 2011 contributions to a controversial regional tax-sharing fund, four other Meadowlands towns are now prepared to follow suit.
Secaucus town officials are planning a press conference Friday with elected leaders from six other Meadowlands District municipalities to jointly announce that they will all withhold their contributions to a regional tax sharing pool that requires them to pay into a fund that is ultimately distributed to six other district municipalities.
The press conference is scheduled to take place at noon on Friday, May 13 in Secaucus Town Hall.
In addition to Secaucus, officials from North Bergen, Carlstadt, Moonachie, Little Ferry, Lyndhurst, and South Hackensack, – all of which pay into the Meadowlands District tax-sharing pool – were expected to participate in the press conference. Collectively, the seven municipalities contribute more than $7.4 million into the regional tax-sharing fund.
In a show of support, officials from East Rutherford and Rutherford, which currently receive money from the tax sharing fund, are also expected to participate in Friday’s event.
Regional tax-sharing was established to compensate the municipalities that were barred by the state from developing environmentally sensitive parts of the Meadowlands. Towns like Secaucus that were allowed to develop would contribute so that towns that couldn’t develop would be compensated.
Secaucus is one of 14 towns that come under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC), a state agency founded to plan and oversee regional development in the Meadowlands District. Since the 1960s, half of these municipalities have been zoned for uses that do not generate much tax revenue – such as parks – while others, like Secaucus, were zoned for office space, which generate ample tax revenue.
Secaucus taxpayers currently contribute $2.6 million annually to the Meadowlands tax-sharing pool, and the town is the largest contributor in the district. In the past, annual payments were sometimes as high as $3 million. Secaucus has contributed more than $68 million to the pool since 1973, when the tax-sharing formula went into effect.
According to an NJMC spokesman, North Bergen is expected to contribute $849,612 to the regional tax sharing pool this year; Moonachie is expected to contribute $415,962; Carlstadt is expected to contribute $2,064,062; Little Ferry is expected to pay $525,913; Lyndhurst’s expected payment this year is $642,091 (year); and South Hackensack is expected to contribute $320,720.
The first installments of these payments were due to the state last week.
In addition to East Rutherford and Rutherford, North Arlington, Ridgefield, Jersey City, and Kearny also receive money from the tax pool. Teterboro, which is also part of the Meadowlands District, neither contributes nor receives money from the tax-sharing pool. – E. Assata Wright