The Jersey City Council approved a 25-year tax abatement to Journal Square Lofts Urban Renewal, a six-story, 40-unit project that at least one resident felt would cause overcrowding in classrooms.
Brigid D’Souza, a resident of Jersey whose children attend Jersey City public schools, challenged city council members to consider the impact of this development to the public school system.
“The number of kids who are living in these buildings will then have to attend the local schools which are already at or over capacity using trailers and some of these facilities are aging. So it’s not just that there is not enough space, it’s that the facilities require maintenance.”
D’Souza also pointed out the pressure on tax payers when state aid is retracted form Jersey City.
“But then there is a second problem where the pilot doesn’t contribute to the school tax levy.”
The project is said to bring in annual revenue of $818,517 at full capacity and forty jobs during construction and 2 permanent real estate jobs and is also expected to contribute $60,000 to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
According to Jersey City Ward F Councilwoman Dianne Coleman, this is “hard decision” but Journal Square needs it for revitalization.
However, Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman had a different view.
“I’m concerned about the student ratio concerning these tax abatements. I don’t think Journal Square, at this time, needs a 25 year [abatement].”
The final vote was 5-2 with Councilwoman-at-Large Watterman and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun voting against.
Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera and Ward B Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal were absent.