Above Featured Image: Proposed 180 Unit Apartment Complex To Be Built By Scarborough Properties At Pleasantville Yacht Club On Site Of Old Pleasantville High School. Last week, Sean Scarborough told City Council members that he needed the tax breaks “to equalize the taxes he would pay in neighboring towns like Absecon, Egg Harbor Township, and Northfield”. Pleasantville has the eighth highest real estate tax rate in New Jersey.
Last week, Pleasantville introduced an ordinance to give a 30 tax break for 180 apartments to be built by Scarborough Properties by the Pleasantville Yacht Club.
This tax break is called a P.I.L.O.T. or “Payment In Lieu of Taxes”. In New Jersey, real estate taxes pay most of the cost of local and county government and public schools. Pleasantville, in Atlantic County, has the eighth highest real estate tax rate in New Jersey. It collects 4.794% of the assessed value of each parcel of real estate in the town each year. A property in Pleasantville assessed at $180,000 pays $8,629 in county, local, and school taxes each year.
Each of the 180 apartments to be built by Scarborough Properties will be worth more than $180,000. Under the proposed P.I.L.O.T. tax break, each until will pay $1,800 to $2,100 per year during the first five years. Then each unit will pay slight increases based on increases in the City’s regular tax rate during the next 25 years.
The proposed units will have one or two bedrooms. Many of those units will house families with school age children. Last year, Pleasantville reported that it spent roughly $22,732 on each student in its public schools. The taxes collected from ten units under the proposed P.I.L.O.T. plan would not be enough to pay for one new child in the Pleasantville Public Schools.
The New Jersey State Constitution requires all real estate to be assessed and taxed at the same rate. That is why we filed a lawsuit earlier this year to set aside special tax breaks for Atlantic City casinos.
However, that part of the New Jersey Constitution does not seem to apply to this project in Pleasantville. That is because our State Constitution was amended several times since 1947 to create several exceptions to this rule. They include tax breaks for veterans, farmers, and senior citizens. They also include tax breaks for projects for the “redevelopment of blighted areas”.
We normally oppose all special tax breaks. First, every tax break for one property owner forces everyone else to pay more. Our NJ State Constitution in 1875 originally said that all property should be assessed and taxed equally with no exceptions. New Jesey’s leaders at that time believed that government becomes complicated, expensive, and corrupt when elected officials are allowed to give favors to some at the expense of others.
On December 5, the Pleasantville City Council voted 5 to 1 in favor of this 30 year tax break plan. It will hold its second and final vote on Monday, December 19. If this tax deal good for Pleasantville? Do the numbers add up?