BYRAM TOWNSHIP, NJ --- The Byram Township Council met together this past Tuesday to discuss township business.
A major topic of discussion was the Verizon v. Hopewell lawsuit.
“Hopewell has a lawsuit against Verizon because if it drops below 51 percent of dial tone, they don’t believe they need to pay their taxes,” said Mayor James Oscovitch.
The New Jersey State League of Municipalities said on its website, Verizon's claims are "unsubstantiated". Click here for more information. In the New Jersey Tax Court in June, the judge ruled Verizon is not required to pay the Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT), and the league reported it, and Hopewell Borough are weighing their options. Click here for the statement by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
The league and Hopewell Borough may appeal the court decision, the league said.
“$37,335.50 is what they are not planning to pay to us. It started in 2009. Hopewell was the one initially impacted into changing the law. The 2009 to 2011 municipalities have been impacted. We are encouraging our legislators now being notified that Verizon will no longer provide a dial tone to 51 percent of the town,” said Sabatini.
Verizon and another company, Century Link, have both been paying taxes to the town for years. It turns out that Century Link has not had to pay as much as they have been.
“Verizon is the highest rated,” said Sabatini.“Their telephone poles and lines are still out there.”
“When someone doesn’t pay taxes their home goes into foreclosure,” stated councilman Carlos Luaces. “They should have to pay tax on their part of the property.”
“What this means now is we raise 11 percent of the towns collectables,” said Sabatini.
All were in favor of this agreement.
In other business:
Township manager Joseph Sabatini addressed the council and public that their best practices inventory is completed. Byram Township answered a total of 50 questions and received a 48 out of 50, making their total score 96 percent. The township can now receive 100 percent of their state payment.
“I am very confident with my staff,” stated Sabatini.
“I want to thank every one who supported Byram Day. It was a very successful day. The weather didn’t cooperate on Saturday, but I think it was a good idea to move it to Sunday,” said Sabatini.
All the council members in their reports agreed on how successful Byram Day was.
“I want to thank all of the volunteers at Byram Day,” said councilwoman Marie Raffay.
“It was very nice to see everyone come together, my little daughter now wishes every day was Byram Day," added councilwoman Nisha Kash.
Councilman Scott Olson and Luaces both attended a meeting at the Mansfield Trail Dump Superfund Site with the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
An extensive study of toxic substances and disease samples were produced over a six to seven year period for citizens to see what containments are in their drinking water. Fortunately, the results represented positive news.
“The results showed 10 to the negative six,” said Olson. “Which is one in ten million would get cancer and the other result showed fetal heart defects. We had cleaned up the contaminated materials on the site and this threat is not as dangerous as they feared.”