City Budget: Has David washed his hands like Pontius "Pilot" Payments In Lieu of Taxes

as David washed his hands like Pontius "Pilot"  Payments In Lieu of Taxes
12/08/2002  Hoboken Reporter

Dear Editor:

It is rare these days I agree with anything Mayor David Roberts does. His recent reversal of his position on Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS), places us in agreement on how to lower property taxes, lower rents determined by property taxes and increase ratables in Hoboken. Increased ratables have always been a sound method of holding the line on property tax increases. The greater the ratables the larger amount of taxes paid by developers and large projects instead of individual homeowners or those with a small number of apartments to rent.

What I do not understand is why Mayor Roberts tried to stop new ratables in the first place. While serving as the 6th Ward Councilman under Mayor Anthony Russo, David voted for almost every PILOT (also known as tax abatements) offered at the time. Ratables went up helping lessen the burden on homeowners and renters. However, David was converted when running against Russo in the mayoral election in May of 2001. He sided with the anti-growth, anti-development and anti-everything faction in that election. After being sworn- in, the mayor did everything in his power to dissuade people from developing everything from small apartment projects to major new ratables through zoning changes, appointing anti-growth individuals to important city boards. Now Pontius has washed his hands of a no-growth policy in return for an increase in the tax base expansion policy.

However, Mr. Mayor, some important questions remain unanswered. With all the growth and PILOTS in the late '90s that you supported, what happened to all the taxes paid only to Hoboken municipal government during that period of time? Why hasn't that financial windfall help stabilize taxes in the 2001 and 2002 budgets? Will other Hudson County towns sue Hoboken like you had Hoboken sue Jersey City for using tax abatements? Will your new policy provide tax dollars to prevent a future tax increase for Hoboken taxpayers? Will these new tax dollars help hold the line on rentals? Will you stand by washing your hands once again when your anti-growth appointments to important city boards continue to block new development designed to lower our taxes and rents?

Michael Schaffer

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