Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More on Taxes and Finance

From a reader:

"You asked for some help with your math, so here is my take on the proposed Monarch property taxes. Please note that the current tax rate is $5.979 per hundred. Land: $1900 + Condo $69000 = $70,900 total assessed value X .05979 = $4239.11 in taxes X 40% = $1695.64 proposed/yr."

Sounds right to me. Agree? Disagree? (Update: Another reader points out that $5.979 is probably the total tax rate and the municipal rate is closer to my figure of $3.50. He raises the question of whether the tax abatement is only on the municipal portion or the whole amount. I'm guessing just the municipal portion, so maybe my figures are more accurate. Bernice )

Meanwhile, I looked in the back of the big yellow Book II in the tax assessor's office to learn more about exempt properties, those where no tax is collected. The value of all these properties is listed as $254,134,000. The categories of exempt properties include homes of disabled veterans, schools, city-owned properties, municipal buildings, cemeteries, houses of worship and parsonages, public housing, state- and federally-owned buildings, railroad property, hospitals, social agencies, PMUA properties, lodges and fraternal organizations and Union County College.

One unusual listing was Bogart Commerce Urban Renewal. Some may recall this as the commercial portion of the former Tepper's building, which has a residential part and also the city-owned basement. Listed among the Bogart exemptions were stores such as Aaron's, a rent-to-own place on Somerset Street. Horizons at Plainfield, first contemplated as senior housing and now 75 apartments, paid the city $56,641.42 for FY 2009 in lieu of taxes. Why Bogart Commerce is exempt demands more inquiry.

The other PILOTs for FY 2009 were from Presbyterian Homes, Netherwood Gardens, Cedarbrook Apartments, Liberty Village, Leland Gardens, Covenant House, Allen Young Apartments and the Park Madison governmental office building.

The infamous $1.7 million typo occurred in a listing of anticipated revenues that was sent to the state Local Finance Board. This year's budget committee should make sure to get the document with anticipated revenues as well as expenses, not just the big white binder that only talks about department and division budget needs.

Some council members have asked the administration a couple of times to provide some of these figures, but as reporters know, you can always go to original documents such as those big books on the assessor's counter to dig up information. It would be a courtesy for the administration to provide such information, but it's there for anybody, even an elected official, to track down. Some things do need the administration's help and that's where things have seemingly bogged down in recent years.

By the way, the major condo conversion at Meadowbrook Village several years ago did not attract buyers for all units. Many remained in possession of New Meadowbrook Village as rentals and some were purchased by non-profit agencies and thus came off the tax rolls.

The revolving door of finance directors undoubtedly has marred oversight of these issues. Mayoral appointee Bibi Taylor received council advice and consent Monday as director of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services, but the resolution was amended to indicate her term was concurrent with the mayor's term ending Dec. 31. The nomination of James Mangin for chief financial officer was withdrawn.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My my..Bernice. Are you not having fun pooping all over Plainfield.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of the commercial operations that are elements of the Tepper's redevelopment were part of the PILOT agreement. There was some talk of them opting out of the Pilot and paying regular real estate taxes several years ago. Don't know what happened.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, an odd question ..... will the condo's be charged by PMUA ??

5:10 PM  
Anonymous get rid of corruption in plainfield said...

Anon 5:10pm... That depends on who will foot the bill

7:13 PM  

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