BAYONNE, NJ - One former city council candidate is crying foul in regards tax breaks given to some residents in the First Ward.
Following a 2016 authorization by the Bayonne City Council, a number of homes near the Bayonne Bridge saw temporary 20 percent tax reductions during heavy construction of the six-year $1.7 billion project. With construction completed in February 2019, these taxes are back to their original rates for 2020.
The project, the likes of which several officials said had never been undertaken in the United States before, added an additional 64 feet of clearance, critical in efforts to allow the world’s largest container ships to call on terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
However, Peter Franco, who lost out to Councilman Neil Carroll III in November, said he believes that these tax breaks were artificially prolonged in order not to interfere with the special election in November.
Franco, contends that since the Bayonne Bridge reopened in earlier in the year this reexamination of the tax break should have taken place on Oct. 1, prior to the November special election for First Ward Council seat in which he garnered 685 votes to Carroll's 1,460.
Bayonne City Attorney Jay Coffey disagrees with Franco, saying that the Oct. 1 date is to establish the taxes for those properties in the upcoming year.
“So, taxes on those properties were assessed for 2019 on Oct. 1, 2018,” Coffey said.
“Since the bridge was still under construction in 2018, we could not restore the taxes,” until the year following the examination that determined they should return to previous rates, Coffey said.
“Those properties will revert to full taxes in 2020,” Coffey said.
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