Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis is calling for a halt on large development projects, asking for the city council to vote down a payment in lieu of taxes agreement (PILOT) for a planned 18-story high rise on Avenue E at tomorrow’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It is undeniable that Bayonne needed to act boldly and aggressively to attract new tax revenue when my administration took office, and I am very proud of the steps we have taken to secure our city’s financial future,” Davis said in a statement.
“Now with a sufficient new revenue stream in place to protect our taxpayers and prevent major tax increases, we have the opportunity to take a step back and measure both the benefits and the costs of further development and to listen to the residents of our community to hear what they truly want for the future of Bayonne.”
New projects that would add significant density to residential neighborhoods like the proposed 18-story high rise on Avenue E between 16th and 17th Streets in the 2nd Ward would be paused to allow for more community feedback.
Furthermore, financial incentives for projects like this that are located in residential areas would not be submitted to the council. This PILOT vote is on tomorrow evening’s agenda.
In order to meet Davis’ goal of pausing major new residential developments, no new PILOT agreement applications will be presented for approval by the council until the administration has completed its review of the impact of the last eight years of development, his campaign said.
Projects related to commercial development that include direct job creation for Bayonne residents and those located at the MOTBY site would be exempt from this new directive and would continue to be submitted to the council for review and consideration.
Additionally, Davis thanked 1st Ward Councilman Neil Carroll and 3rd Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa, who are both seeking re-election on his ticket, for regularly voting against long-term tax breaks for developers.
“I have been an opponent of long-term PILOTs since I’ve served on the city council, and I’m thrilled to see Mayor Davis announce that the city will be pausing these kinds of agreements that I believe give away too much of our tax revenue potential to developers,” noted La Pelusa.
“Mayor Davis was correct that Bayonne needed to change eight years ago to solve our financial crisis, but now that we’ve reached this point we can take an honest look at what’s best for our residents. I’m glad that Mayor Davis sees the need to study the impact of the current PILOTs and protect taxpayers from these long-term agreements that may not benefit our residents.”
Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, a declared mayoral challenger, claimed that Davis backpedaled once he heard that tomorrow’s PILOT deal would face opposition.
“My campaign has won its first victory by forcing Jimmy Davis to understand that he can no longer govern by the back room deals and ignoring the residents of Bayonne. Clearly the Davis administration heard that a crowd of opposition was forming for tomorrow nights council meeting and decided to pull the plug instead of being embarrassed,” she said.
” … The reality is that every PILOT that was ever approved was signed off by the mayor before it even made it to the council for a vote. Every redevelopment plan was written and promoted and supported by Jimmy Davis. As a result, too many neighborhoods have already been negatively impacted by over development by out-of-town developers who benefited from the Davis PILOT tax program.”
She also vowed to have community input from day one of a project being announced through completion if elected.
Team Davis campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski said that Nadrowski is in no position to fire shots across the bow given her record on PILOT deals in the Peninsula City.
“Sharon Nadrowski has voted yes on every PILOT agreement that crossed her desk in the last eight years, including one for this very same project just a few weeks ago. It’s laughable that she now opposes the same PILOTs that she voted for again and again,” he said.
“Mayor Davis is taking a principled stance here to protect Bayonne from overdevelopment, and Sharon Nadrowski is proving that she’s completely out of touch with the needs of the community.”
The Bayonne City Council will host a hybrid meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Mayor Jimmy Davis campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski.