As reported in the June 16, 2017 NAIOP WeekEnder, a bill is pending in the Assembly requiring five percent of each annual service charge under a PILOT agreement in connection with a residential redevelopment be remitted to the school district. At present, a municipality retains 95 percent of PILOT payments, the other five percent being remitted to the county. Conventional real estate tax payments are divided among the town, county, school district, and some other stakeholders, such as a fire district, municipal open space, etc. The splits vary, but the school district portion is substantial, often the largest share. To use one example, in Sayreville, the 2016 allocation to the school district is 55.74%; the municipal share is 26.49% and the county share is 14.79%. It is often contended that PILOTs are unfair to school districts because none of the PILOT payment is allocated to the school district. Indeed, school districts have challenged PILOT agreements in court. See, for example, the unreported 110 page, 2005 decision of Mercer County Assignment Judge Feinberg Hamilton Township Board of Education vs. Township of Hamilton and 240 Princeton Urban Renewal, LLC. Whether or not PILOTs truly adversely impact school district budgets is a matter of debate. Regardless of the merits of the debate, it is fair to ask if remitting five percent of PILOTs...
Crucial to New Jersey’s Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law is the time within which an application for the tax exemption or abatement must be filed with the municipal tax assessor. A recent Tax Court of New Jersey decision provides the first published opinion interpreting a crucial provision of the statute used to calculate such period of time. Under N.J.S.A. 40A:21-16, written application for a tax exemption or abatement must be made to the municipal tax assessor within 30 days (including Saturdays and Sundays) following the completion of an improvement, conversion alteration, or construction on the property for which tax abatement or exemption is sought. The statute defines “completion” of a project as the date on which same is “substantially ready for the intended use”.
There is no shortage of buyers anxious to buy distressed mortgages. The simple reason is the possibility of substantial profit if a loan can be purchased at a significant discount and there is a realistic possibility that the borrower or, if it forecloses, the lender, will be able to salvage the property. This is the first of two articles about counseling clients in acquiring distressed commercial mortgage loans. Bankruptcy, special assets such as condominium properties and UCC foreclosures are beyond the scope of these articles.
The New Jersey State Comptroller released a report Wednesday entitled “A Programmatic Examination of Municipal Tax Abatements.” The Comptroller’s report is critical of both five year abatements and long term abatements granted by municipalities and was being widely reported in the press yesterday. Referring to five year abatements (NJSA 40A-21-1 et seq.) and long term abatements (NJSA 40A-20-1 et seq.), the Comptroller’s report finds “numerous weaknesses in the regulation, implementation and oversight of these programs” including: PILOTs paid to municipalities are at the expense of counties, school districts and other taxpayers; there is lack of transparency and centralization of information about abatement agreements; criteria and processes for evaluating potential abatement agreements are weak; directly affected stakeholders are not adequately involved in the decision making process; municipal follow up on abatement terms and benefits is lacking; redevelopment areas in which abatements are granted are not periodically reviewed to account for neighborhood changes or improvement; municipalities often fail to use abatements to bring in the type of redevelopment that would address community needs or bring appropriate improvement; and the State does not closely monitor the use of abatements or offer significant guidance to municipalities on how to interpret relevant statutes or implement abatement programs.