The town of Secaucus is home to the largest number of businesses in the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission district (HMDC). The HMDC was formulated in an effort to control growth and development within the jurisdiction of the district. The legislation formulating for HMDC also provides for a tax-sharing formula which mandates that the taxes derived from our industry be shared with the other members of the district. There are many of us that feel that the tax-sharing formula treats the town of Secaucus unfairly.
The town of Secaucus has been the beneficiary of a massive increase in the tax ratables over the course of the last 30 years. This increase has been largely due to the growth of our meadowlands. We have experienced several quality-of-life issues that can be directly related to this growth. Some of these issues are as follows: traffic congestion, overcrowding, erosion of our small-town image and loss of wetlands.
Our current administration, led by Mayor Dennis Elwell, has been very successful in striking a balance between our growth-related issues and our resident's quality-of-life. The administration has been searching for ways to ensure that the town maintains its excellent services at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers. The town's recent hiring of a lobbying firm in an effort to secure legislation that will allow the town to impose a hotel tax is an excellent example of this balance.
The increased business growth, in the meadowlands, has resulted in the construction of numerous new hotels. These hotels are frequented by transient guests that are doing business in the meadowlands. At the current time, the town is not legally permitted to impose a tax on the guests staying at these local establishments. The imposition of a small tax on the hotel "room nights" could generate an additional 1 to 2 million dollars of revenue for our town. This revenue could be used to enhance the quality-of-life of our residents with no additional cost to our taxpayers. The revenue could be used to: stabilize property taxers, improve our educational system, enhance our children's recreational programs, provide additional police protection and/or enhance senior citizen programs.
Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto is sponsoring a bill that will allow the town of Secaucus to impose a local hotel tax. The tax would be similar to the hotel tax currently being levied in many of our larger towns and cities. I encourage all of our residents to support the hotel tax concept. I also applaud the vision and foresight of Mayor Elwell's administration in finding creative ways to enhance our community's quality-of-life with no cost to our residents. I am also confident that Assemblyman Impreveduto's strong leadership and fine legislative reputation will be key factors in the success of the hotel tax bill.
Joseph F. Kane