Business & Finance

Sparta Township Lays out Next Step in Special Tax Assessment Quandary

Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Debra Nicholson addressing the township council in August 2016 representing residents affected by the special assessment Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Township attorney Thomas Ryan laid out the next steps in the legal battle over the Glen Lake Dam special tax assessment at the council meeting on Tuesday night. 

Glen Road resident Ken Gartner came to the microphone to ask about the township’s plan to handle the issue following the court’s rejection of the special commission. 

“We are happy about the ruling,” Gartner said.  “But now we’re left with attorney bills and tax bills.”

Sign Up for E-News

Gartner said the process was "not as transparent as the council said it would be," including several closed session discussions not available to the public.  Additionally, Gartner said he had to resort to making Open Public Records Act or OPRA requests to get relevant documents and that some of those requests were even denied. 

As was noted in the court ruling, Gartner pointed out there were conflicts of interest that caused concern.  Councilman Jerry Murphy’s vote to authorize the members of the special commission was part of the judges findings in the court documents.  Gartner also said the “President of the Glen Lake Beach Club is a tenant in the Laddey Clark and Ryan building,” calling that a conflict of interest as well.

Mayor Gil Gibbs deferred to Ryan for a response to Gartner’s comments.

Ryan said they were going to request a stay from the court,  "to protect Sparta from potential litigation from those who have already made the special tax payments." 

Further, Ryan said the township was “filing a motion for reconsideration,” the first step of an appeal.  The township will also be seeking additional guidance from the court to find “which methodology he wants us to use,” according to Ryan.  Finally, the township will be asking the state for clarification on how to deal with the loan; payments that have been made and payments that are coming due.

The commission's methodology and their findings were rejected in a court ruling by Judge Stuart Minkowitz received by Sparta’s Township Attorney on December 4, 2017.

The Glen Lake Beach Club was required to make improvements to the dam by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. In 2011, the state provided the loan through the Dam, Lake and Stream Project Fund but required the township to sign as a co-borrower because the township can assess and collect taxes and place liens.  The township created a special commission to determine which property owners would be responsible for the special tax levy to cover the cost of the loan.

February 9, 2016 the Sparta Township Council created a Board of Assessment Commissioners, with consultant Scott Holzauer to determine which properties would be subject to the special assessment and the amount each would be required to pay.

In August the township council remanded the commission’s recommendation when the Glen Lake Beach Club provided boxes of documents to their attorney Eileen Born.  The purpose of the remand was to review the documents to assure the list of properties to be included in the special assessment was as accurate as possible. 

The commission responded to then Mayor Christine Quinn and the council members in a letter dated August 19, 2016.   Born met with the commission’s consultant Scot Holzhauer and the commissions attorney Angelo Bolcato. 

“The boxes also included membership ledgers from the 1970s through the 1990s,” the letter said.

They also noted the “public comments from property owners who reside along the south side of Glen Road who disagree with the determination that they are subject to the special assessment.” Born searched the Sussex County Clerk’s electronic deed database to determine ownership history of the properties. 

That search identified 12 properties requiring further investigation.  From there, according to the letter, six properties were determined to have been members of the association “at some point in time.”

The commission’s report was accepted by the township council at the end of August.  The property owners deemed to be part of the Glen Lake Beach Club special assessment were billed and have been required to make payments to the township. 

Those payments, in turn, have been paid to the state, according to Ryan. 

“We don’t know when we will be able to address the taxes,” Ryan said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: DWI Sparta Man Crashes in his Own Yard

April 25, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Sparta man faces driving while intoxicated charges after crashing his car into a tree.  On April 22 around 4 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Erick Finley went to the home of Mitchell Panten, 61, on Sagamore Trail following up on the report of an accident, police say.

Finley found Panten had hit the tree in his front yard when backing into his driveway.  Panten was ...

Sparta Police: Drug Charges for Sparta Woman After Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – A Sparta woman is facing drug charges after a traffic stop on Route 15.  On April 21 around 11:10 a.m. Sparta Cpl. Joe Antonello stopped Marina Scheer, 20, because the license plate on her green Toyota was bent making it impossible to read, according to police.

When Antonello spoke with Scheer he smelled marijuana in the car.  Scheer said there had been a passenger ...

Plane Crashes into Lake Aeroflex in Sussex County Park

NEWTON, NJ—A one-manned plane crashed into Lake Aeroflex in Kittatinny Valley State Park around 11:30 this morning.

“I heard the plane cut out, then I saw it turn left and flatten out, and then it landed in the lake,” passerby Justin Leyman said. “It took the rescue crews about a minute or so to get the pilot out of the lake."

The plane was completely ...

The Issue of Alternatives to Elected School Boards

April 14, 2018

The time of electing local school boards should come to an end. According to the National School Boards Association, “the local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school ...

Newton Mayor’s continued attacks

Mr. Levante has once again made himself out to be the victim and attacked numerous people in the process.  His latest social media antics lashed out against current council members, council candidates and TAPInto Newton.  With this considered, I have a few comments for him:

First, you have indeed facilitated some positive changes in Newton.  I have not found many people ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic


Fri, May 4, 7:00 PM

Sparta Evangelical Free Church, Sparta

Veritas Christian Academy presents The Music Man

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, May 6, 7:00 AM

Liberty State Park, Jersey City

11th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for ...

Health & Wellness


Thu, May 10, 6:00 PM

First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, Sparta

Creating a Pollinators Garden - Talk & Plant Sale

Education Home & Garden

Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


The Halsted Players Present Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. as Their Spring Musical

April 26, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—Just beyond the second star to the left in the sky lies Neverland, the place where Peter Pan and the lost boys live. The place where you never have to grow up. This is the setting for this year's Halsted Player’s spring musical.

Directed by Meg Penny, Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. is based on the play by J.M Barrie and the 1953 Disney film, with music that ...

TAPinto Paterson Video: Paterson Police Officer Tamby Yagan Laid to Rest

April 25, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- The precision of well over 1000 police officers coming to attention was a sad reminder of the all too frequent line of duty deaths the profession faces on an annual basis.

According  to “Officer Down Memorial Page”, 135 law enforcement officers lost their lives on duty in 2017.

The pipes and drums played in unison, honor guards raised their flags, a New ...

7 Tips For Using Mirrors in Your NJ Home

Mirror, mirror on the wall, how to decorate with them, if at all? First of all, mirrors serve as the perfect complement to nearly any space, so should definitely be incorporated in your New Jersey home decorating.  Secondly, if used thoughtfully, mirrors add considerable value to a space both aesthetically and functionally. So how should you bring on the mirrors? Team Nest Builder offers ...

You Could WIN a New Roof Through No Roof Left Behind

If you live in Sussex, Morris or Warren County and your home needs a new roof, you’re in luck! Jeff Alte Jr. Roofing & Siding will be giving away a free roof to a family in one of these counties through the national No Roof Left Behind program.

Nominations are being accepted through May 31st online only.  Nominate yourself or anyone you know who needs a new roof. Nominees must ...

Buying a Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in Majority of US

Great news for first-time New Jersey home buyers! The results of the 2018 Rental Affordability Report from ATTOM show that buying a median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 54% of U.S. counties analyzed for the report.

The updated numbers show that renting a three-bedroom property in the United States requires an average of 38.8% of income.

The least ...

Home Buying Myths Slayed

Team Nest Builder wants YOU to know the truths about buying a New Jersey home!

Some Highlights:

The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!

Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.

88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!

The credit score requirements for mortgage ...

Buy A Home To Build Your Family's Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate, on average, by 3.6% per year and to grow by 18.2% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. Team Nest Builder wants you to understand what that means for homeowners and their equity positions.

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home ...

Now’s the Time to Buy Your NJ Luxury Home

House no longer fits your needs? Planning on buying a New Jersey luxury home? Now is the time to do so!

Recently, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing released its Luxury Market Report which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.  The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds the number of people searching to purchase these ...

Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders April 25, 2018 Meeting

NEWTON, NJ - Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders April 25, 2018 meeting video.


April 11, 2018 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders Meeting

NEWTON, NJ - April 11, 2018 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting. 

Reduce Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer

April 26, 2018

Morristown Medical Center’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center presents “Protecting Your Colorectal Health” on Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion, 333 Mount Hope Avenue in Rockaway. Admission is free.

This popular, educational program presents an opportunity to hear up-to-date presentations from leading experts in ...