Bayonne Mayor Davis: Contrary to popular belief, tax abated properties do pay taxes

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Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis partnered with Provident Legacy Real Estate Services to host a public forum about future redevelopment plans, tax abatements and the city’s multi-million structural deficit.

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“The misconception with tax abatements, I will say, is a lot of people believe that they don’t pay taxes: the truth is they do. They’re calculated differently, that’s all, but they pay taxes,” Davis said at the forum, located at 177 Broadway, on Monday evening.

Davis used the old Resnick’s property as a prime example of what he was talking about.

“If you take the Resnick’s property, and the houses that were purchased by the developer, they paid roughly I think $80, $82,000 a year in property taxes. The building, when it’s built, will pay $380,000.”

Later, Davis explained that a $24 million structural deficit isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, admitting that it will cause “major financial problems” until the debt is eliminated.

“I got sworn in July 1, 2014. They handed me the key to City Hall. I put it in, opened up the door, and we were short $24 million. Every tax dollar I collected I was still short $24 million. Until we get that down to zero, we have major financial problems,” he said.

Davis further stated that the current deficit is at about $18 million, and after all the projects in the works are completed, it will be down to about $8 million.

The Peninsula City mayor explained some of this in more detail during an appearance on our live show last month.

His upcoming opponent in the May 8th mayoral race, former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, has repeatedly taken aim at the Davis administration’s willingness to hand out tax breaks.

In his latest campaign ad, Team O’Donnell says that the mayor and at least one of his running mates lied about their stance on abatements four years ago.

In a statement released after the meeting, Davis announced the city’s 2018 Road Infrastructure Improvement Plan, which includes major reconstruction of two sections of Broadway. The plan also consists of new paving on several other city streets.

One of two project phases, is being funded primarily by $1.1 million in grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

With regards to the city’s new redevelopment plan, in 2018, the Bayonne Department of Public Works filled over 4,000 potholes in an existing Pothole Repair effort, the mayor’s office said.

“Over the last four years our team has worked to make needed investments in our city’s infrastructure, from revitalizing our parks and recreation facilities to upgrading sewer infrastructure, to improving our roads and transportation systems like we are doing now,” Davis said in the statement.

“Thanks to state grant funding we are able to make these necessary improvements without costing Bayonne taxpayers, and thanks to the $10 million in new tax revenue our economic redevelopment plans are generating we will be able to make many more upgrades over the next few years.”

One major upgrade needed, where real estate professionals expressed concern, pertained to 17th, 18th, and 19th Street between Broadway Avenue and Avenue C.

In December 2017, the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Task Force, Jersey City Police Department, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and Hudson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Raeqwan Cromartie for allegedly shooting a man in broad daylight between 19th St. and Ave C.

Since then, Davis closed the Deli & Grocery store where the incident occurred and implemented surveillance to avoid future crime.

The city is currently seeking a “developer with creative vision” to enhance real estate along those streets, the mayor added.