The Jersey City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to cancel a 20-year tax break for the owner of the Amazon warehouse due to violations of their project employment and contracting agreement (PECA).
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The measure was approved unanimously (9-0) last night without any discussion from the council, which is standard procedure on first reading.
While the property opened in December 2020, Jersey City Office of Tax Abatement and Compliance Coordinator of Monitoring and Evaluation John Rusciano said in a December 9th, 2022 letter that the facility was in default of the PECA agreement.
“After reviewing the limited documentation that the worksite submitted and its repeated obstruction of our monitoring attempts it is evident that this property is in Non-Compliance with its PECA … The ‘Good Faith’ requirement of the PECA is met when a project provides documentation attesting to the affirmative steps it took in order to adhere to the PECA goals,” he wrote.
“As such, this Office must find that this project exhausted any and all reasonable means necessary during the period in question in order to achieve and/or comply with those sections of their executed PECA. It should be noted that this Office has not received any tangible ‘good faith” to consider for the period in question to date.”
The letter continues that the goal having of 51 percent of their work force made of up Jersey City residents has not been met (51 percent of which must be minorities), and therefore, the default notice will not be withdrawn.
Subsequently, the same office issued a notice of termination on February 15th of this year since the issues raised in the notice of default were not corrected.
Also of note, that letter said that the council would consider terminating the agreement in April.
The 20-year tax abatement was granted to Exeter Thomas McGovern Land Urban Renewal, LLC by the governing body on August 16th, 2017 and the single story building was constructed at 295 Thomas McGovern Drive, the ordinance notes.
Built within the Liberty Harbor Redevelopment Zone, the property includes approximately 95,808 square feet of industrial space, 87 parking spaces, and a 15-space loading dock.
The annual service charge fee agreed upon was $137,005.44, a $2,740.10 administrative fee, a $6,850.27 Hudson County fee, and finally a $44,524.80 contribution to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.