The West New York Board of Commissioners are expected to vote on a tax exemption for a local church at this evening’s public meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The Love of Jesus Family Church-Union, Inc., which has several locations in northern New Jersey, purchased the building at 5520 Jefferson St. in West New York for $725,000 on March 9th, 2000, tax records show.
According to a lawsuit filed in the Tax Court of New Jersey on April 1st, 2021, the municipal tax assessor was provided with a tax exemption application on November 1st of the same year, which never yielded a response.
“The church has been recognized as a church entity and non-profit organization since its inception. As such, it should be exempt from paying New Jersey property taxes pursuant to the New Jersey Property Tax Exemption for Religious Organizations,” Minister Jenice Durham wrote on behalf of the church’s board of trustees in a statement.
“The church has fulfilled and complied with every request from the township to obtain property tax exemption. However, despite attempts on the part of the church to amicably resolve the matter for years, the West New York township continues to present additional conditions to prevent the paperwork from being signed. Paying steep property taxes for years has put a strain on the church and the critical programs it provides for the community. Those programs are now in jeopardy.”
Durham also noted that their head pastor, Tania Fuentes, has received public service awards on the federal, state, county, and local level, as well as that the church has helped with food pantries, workshops, and back-to-school fairs – among other community events.
The Hudson County Board of Taxation also allegedly denied to hear their case, instead directing the matter to the state tax court.
This evening, the five-member board is expected to vote on a resolution to settle the matter by granting the church a tax exemption, which is generally a common practice in New Jersey.
According to Durham, they have already received a verbal commitment from Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez and the other four commissioners to approve the tax exemption.
The West New York Commissioners convene this evening at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting can be joined remotely via Zoom or via phone:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85329182318?pwd=YjB3YjlXOFg5Tm9yWUdnNXJYcFJ0UT09 Call-In Number: (929) 205- 6099
Meeting ID: 853 2918 2318 Passcode: 42860