1/8/2014 - Council to Consider Abatement Ordinance For Upper Main Street Rehabilitation Area


John Labrosse, Mayor
January 8, 2014 


Council to Consider Abatement Ordinance For Upper Main Street Rehabilitation Area

(Hackensack, NJ) -- The city council introduced an ordinance on January 7 that provides five-year tax abatements for redevelopment projects in the city’s Upper Main Street Rehabilitation Area. The ordinance is designed to further incentivize and expedite redevelopment under the city’s rehabilitation plan that was adopted last year. 
Upon final adoption the ordinance will authorize the city to enter into short-term tax abatement agreements for improvements made by developers and residents located within the designated rehabilitation area. The city’s rehabilitation zone encompasses a 139 acre parcel from State Street to Upper Main Street. 

Interim City Manager and Economic Development Director Anthony Rottino said that the ordinance is the next step in turning the city’s rehabilitation plan into a reality. 

“With short- term abatements already factored into city code, there will be less haggling between developers and the city,” said Rottino. “This ordinance will provide the tools needed to encourage redevelopment while creating certainty for developers and the city’s taxpayers.” 

Rottino noted the ordinance formalizes the abatement process and eligibility criteria for seeking tax incentives to redevelop within the Upper Main Street corridor. 

“Potential developers working in the rehabilitation zone will know what to expect,” said Rottino. “They will know that if they meet certain criteria they will be eligible for a five-year tax abatement and no more. The abatements are not automatically granted.” 

Mayor John Labrosse said the five-year abatement ordinance establishes a process that protects the taxpayers while also offering needed financial incentives to developers to bring their projects to Hackensack. “The limited abatements are a tool we can use that is fair to both developers and residents,” said the mayor. 

“We don’t want to create a situation where businesses or residents living in a certain area of town are haphazardly paying significantly less in property taxes over several decades than people living in other parts of town,” added Labrosse. 

Councilman Leo Battaglia said the short term tax incentives will help encourage growth in the Main Street corridor without adversely affecting local taxpayers or the city’s schools 

“Without incentives future growth would likely be limited and our tax base will shrink” said Councilman Battaglia. “This ordinance establishes a process whereby the city will conduct detailed financial analysis of each project to ensure that it provides a net positive benefit to the city.”

Battaglia added that it would be “unfair to have development projects that contribute significantly to the school population and not have the owners of those abated properties contribute to the cost of educating our children over long periods of time.” 

By state law, municipalities can offer abatements up to 30 years for various projects in areas declared to be “areas in need of redevelopment.” These long-term tax abatements would not be available to properties designated only as part of an “area in need of rehabilitation” or provided under the city’s proposed ordinance. An area “in need of redevelopment” is a more far reaching designation in which buildings in the area are deemed “blighted” – a condition more narrowly defined by a 2007 State Supreme Court ruling. Any tax abatements granted in areas of the city determined to be blighted will be determined only on a case-by-case basis after careful financial analysis. 

This 5 year abatement program will sunset in 10 years unless renewed.