The North Bergen Commissioners at their meeting on Wednesday approved a 30-year tax abatement for a new project on River Road that will hold 293 rental apartments.
The high rise will be built by developer LWH, LLC on vacant land at 7601 River Road. Township Administrator Chris Pianese said the project will result in $900,000 in taxes for the township over the first 10 years.
“There’s a fine line between letting property sit idle or trying to get some good development in town to keep the tax rate stable,” he said.
The meeting covered a few other important issues, but ended abruptly due to continued clapping from the administration’s critics (see sidebar, “More on the DPW matter”).
Tax abatement agreements are sometimes controversial because they allow a developer to pay a certain amount to the town rather than be subject to the fluctuations of regular property taxes, like other residents. However, the municipalities benefit from the agreements because the taxes go directly to the town rather than being spread among the county and schools as well. Developers will still have to contribute a 5 percent fee to the county.
The agreements are meant as an incentive to spur development, often in blighted areas.
The abatement has a term of 30 years, with various phases requiring different levels of payment, and was introduced at the meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 12.
“There’s a fine line between letting property sit idle or trying to get some good development in town to keep the tax rate stable.” - Town Administrator Chris Pianese
The first payment of $870,000 will be made in July of 2014.
Construction should take place June 2014.
“It keeps them on schedule because regardless of where they are with construction, they pay this agreement based on the dates that are provided,” said Pianese.
Number of schoolchildren
There was some concern about the number of children added to the school district.
“In the event this particular building generates more than 20 school children, after 20, the developer LWH, LLC would have to pay the cost of the pupil being in the school system,” said Pianese.
He assured residents that the Palisade cliffs will be not be affected.
“There is no impact to the [Palisade] cliffs,” said Pianese. “There’s a fine line between letting property sit idle or trying to get some good development in town to keep the tax rate stable. I would say our development is far less aggressive than many other communities.”
Other meeting business
Also at the meeting:
-An ordinance was introduced to erect a stop sign for 73rd street and Jackson Street, facing eastbound.
-A settlement was made for Yovany Montoya in the amount of $820, because Montoya had damage to his car due to minor contact with a police vehicle.
-The township accepted $210,000 by the New Jersey Department of Transportation for North Bergen’s Emergency signal upgrades, including a new traffic light.
-A contract was awarded to H & L Systems, Inc. from Oct. 1, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2013 for the township’s data processing services. H & L Systems, Inc. will be paid $15,000 in equal monthly installments of $1,000 beginning Oct. 1, 2012.
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Meeting ends abruptly
The North Bergen commissioners’ meetings have become more lively since former public works director James Wiley was arrested earlier this month for having town workers do chores at his home while being paid by the town, including overtime at times. Wiley has pleaded guilty to the charges.
Critics of the administration of Mayor Nicholas Sacco have come to the meetings to ask questions and level criticism. Sacco and other town directors have said that the Public Works Department will be restructured.
At Wednesday’s meeting, two police officers were on hand along with a barrier that was placed between the elected officials and the public.
As a result of the DPW investigation, the commissioners passed a resolution for an interlocal agreement with the North Bergen Municipal Utilities Authority. This allows John Shaw, the superintendent of sanitation at the MUA, to work with Town Administrator Pianese to make recommendations for restructuring the department.
Shaw will spend 50 percent of his time working with the DPW and the rest at the MUA. The township will reimburse him 50 percent of his $115,037 salary on a month to month basis.
Several members of the public criticized the administration about the Wiley matter.
Sacco adjourned the meeting because some of his opposition kept clapping in response, which he said disrupted the meeting.