Tag Archives: Redevelopment

Visioning?

What’s up with the so-called “visioning workshop” the Mayor & Council have set for next Thursday, June 27, from 7 to 9 pm, at Borough Hall, 54 Fairmount Avenue?

They’re testing public support for a plan to build ASAP at least 500 more apartments on River Road, near the 245-apartment Ivy project at the corner of River and Watchung.

To achieve that, they would offer developers a 30-year property tax break, prompting them to build even if the market is weak, and forcing us taxpayers to assume the risk that the rents won’t keep up with rising municipal costs.

The alternative is for the Borough Council to wait and see if the River Road property owners choose to build more apartments without a tax break, which the owners won’t do unless, until, and to the extent they (and their lenders) think they can get rents high enough to pay regular property taxes and still make a nice profit.

(Either way, the apartments will be at least 15% -20% affordable, and the developer won’t give the Borough a riverside park – or anything else – for “free.”)

With the 245-unit Ivy project sitting half empty next door and big apartment buildings going up all over the state, should the Borough plunge ahead with a scheme to build a 500-apartment project that may or may not produce enough revenue to cover Borough costs?

Or might it be wiser to wait and see how many more apartments the market can support at River Road?

Deadlines

There are many different ways to meet state mandated affordable housing obligations, but unless the Mayor & Council get a jump on the deadlines, their options will be severely limited.

That’s why the Mayor has scheduled a public workshop for June 27: to let the public have its say before unveiling her plans.

Are the Mayor & Council taking the steps necessary to get a good result for the Borough?

Ask them!

  1. Are you are investigating lower-density, environmentally superior options, like converting existing market rate apartments to affordable ones?
  2. If not, why not? What are you waiting for?
  3. Are you unaware that waiting means forfeiting options?
  4. Are you unaware that if you procrastinate too long, we’ll be forced to accept more huge projects like the Ivy – or even bigger.
  5. If you’re resigned to accepting more big projects, what are you doing to make sure we get a better deal this time?

Here are the deadlines facing the Mayor & Council (additions and corrections welcome):

03/31/24 – Deadline for BNE to report Total Project Costs to the Borough Council within 90 days of Substantial Completion of the Ivy project

05/01/24 – Deadline for the Borough to bill the developer of the Ivy apartment project on River Road for the second quarterly payment of the annual property tax substitute known as a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), which was unpaid as of 06/10/2024

06/18/24 – Deadline for the Borough to report non-residential fees collected for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund

06/30/24 – Deadline for the Borough to submit to the Morris County Superior Court and Fair Share Housing Center a quarterly report on the progress of the 15-unit, 100% affordable project to be built on Bowers Lane in Post Office Plaza

07/18/24 – Last chance for the Morris County Tax Board to approve rolling reassessment of property in Chatham Borough

08/01/24 – Deadline for the Borough to seek State Department of Taxation approval for rolling reassessment of property in Chatham Borough

08/01/24 – Deadline for the Borough to bill the developer of the Ivy apartment project on River Road for the third quarterly payment of the annual property tax substitute known as a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), which has gone unpaid as of 06/10/2024

09/16/24 – Deadline for the Borough to report residential fees collected for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund

09/30/24 – Deadline for the Borough to submit to the Superior Court and Fair Share Housing Center a quarterly report on the progress of the 15-unit, 100% affordable project to be built on Bowers Lane in Post Office Plaza

10/20/24 – Deadline for the state to announce the Borough’s affordable housing quota for Fourth Round 2025-2035

11/01/24 – Deadline for the Borough to bill the developer of the Ivy apartment project on River Road for the quarterly payment of the annual property tax substitute known as a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), which had gone unpaid as of 06/10/2024

12/31/24 – Deadline for the Borough to submit to the Superior Court and Fair Share Housing Center a quarterly report on the progress of the 15-unit, 100% affordable project to be built on Bowers Lane in Post Office Plaza

01/31/25 – Deadline for the Borough to adopt a resolution accepting an affordable housing quota for Fourth Round 2025-2035

03/01/25 – Deadline for “interested parties” to challenge the Borough’s Fourth Round 2025-2035 affordable housing quota in a new dispute resolution program

03/31/25 – Deadline for filing the Periodic Report on Total Project Costs, due within 90 days of Substantial Compliance under the terms of the December 2023 financial (PILOT) agreement for the Ivy at River Road

3/31/25 – Deadline for the IVY to submit the Auditor’s Report to the Borough and Dof LG at DCA

03/31/25 – Deadline for the Borough to begin construction of the 15-unit, 100% affordable apartment project on Bowers Lane in Post Office Plaza.

03/31/25 – Deadline for the Borough to submit to the Superior Court and Fair Share Housing Center a quarterly report on the progress of the 15-unit, 100% affordable project to be built on Bowers Lane in Post Office Plaza

06/30/25 – Deadline for the Borough to file its Housing Element & Fair Share Plan or risk losing its immunity from builders’ remedy and exclusionary zoning lawsuits

08/31/25 – Deadline for Fair Share challenges to the Borough’s Housing Element

12/31/25 – Deadline for “interested parties” to challenge the Borough’s Housing Element

03/15/26 – Deadline for the Borough to adopt all the ordinances, rezoning, and redevelopment areas required by the Housing Element

03/31/26 – Deadline for the Borough to get a Certificate of Occupancy on the 15-unit, 100% affordable project on Bowers Lane in Post Office Plaza

09/26/26 – Deadline for the Borough to get a judge to renew and extend its immunity from builders’ remedy lawsuits and exclusionary zoning challenges

Sources:

https://www.newsbreak.com/share/3489430077474-new-round-of-affordable-housing-regulation-requirements-to-kick-off?_f=app_share&s=i1&pd=0EKN9Y6I&lang=en_US&send_time=1718234102&trans_data=%7B%22platform%22%3A0%2C%22cv%22%3A%2224.23.1.1%22%2C%22languages%22%3A%22en%22%7D&sep=new_web_share_0531-v2

Can we stop reckless overdevelopment?

Can we stop the overdevelopment that is beginning to choke the roads of Chatham Borough, pollute our air, inflate our taxes, and even threaten to swamp our schools?

All we need to do is to hold our new Mayor & Council accountable for not selling us down the river again, as they did with the monstrosity at the corner of Watchung Avenue and River Road.

We can do that. You can help.

Tell the Mayor & Council not to make any more concessions to the would-be overdevelopers. Make them promise not to sign any more PILOT agreements, waiving the developer’s property taxes at the expense of the rest of us. Make them promise to do their due diligence and hold out for terms favorable to the Borough.

Even if you cannot go to the next Council meeting https://www.chathamborough.org/resident/calendar/mayor-council-meeting-13-1710199800 you can email the Mayor & Council: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] https://www.chathamborough.org/resident/calendar/mayor-council-meeting-13-1710199800 [email protected]. [email protected]. [email protected] 

What the heck is this all about?

Our new Mayor and Borough Council are working on another big development project on River Road. See for yourself here: https://patch.com/new-jersey/chatham/election-2023-carolyn-dempsey-chatham-borough-council%20

A third big River Road project will soon follow. https://chathamchoice.org/2024/01/what-are-the-options-for-river-road/

Thanks to blunders by both parties over many years, our leaders have little control over new construction in Chatham, but they can and must exercise what power they still have to protect us from reckless overdevelopmnent. https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/1399493/2022-05-27-HEFSP_amendment.finaladopted.pdf

We need to start asking questions, demanding answers and promises, and holding our Mayor & Council accountable now, before they make any irreversible decisions.

Strong, sustained, public scrutiny and pressure can inspire and empower our elected representatives to stand firm in negotiations with tough real estate sharks, backed by teams of experts wielding state laws that give developers the upper hand.

Are you wondering why the Council would even consider another project at River Road, given the massive, 245-unit Ivy apartment project that just went up at the corner of River and Watchung?

Simple: Knowing that both political parties have so weakened our zoning laws that they cannot prevent construction of two more giant apartment projects at River Road, the Mayor & Council aspire only to gain some influence over the new projects by adopting some new redevelopment plans. https://patch.com/new-jersey/chatham/chatham-marks-some-river-road-lots-need-redevelopment

They’d have you believe it’s the only way to make sure the new developments will provide housing options for retirees, millennials, and low income families, as well as some free public “amenities” – like maybe a trail along the Passaic River. See for yourself here: https://patch.com/new-jersey/chatham/election-2023-carolyn-dempsey-chatham-borough-council%20

Of course, that’s mostly wishful thinking.

As at the Ivy, the new developments will be out of the reach of most retirees, millennials, and young families, because almost all of the apartments will be offered at market rates, with monthly rents between $3,000 for one bedroom apartments, and $7,000 for three bedroom units. How many downsizers or young families can afford that?

Only 15% of the new apartments will be set aside for low and moderate income families. That means Chatham would have to accept 1,000 new units (a more than 30% increase in density) to get even 150 units toward our ever increasing affordable housing quota.

Chathamites won’t get first dibs on the affordable apartments, either. But Chatham taxpayers will suffer higher density, pollution, and lower quality of life. And that’s a best-case scenario, which the Mayor & Council could achieve only with deft negotiation.

If the Council doesn’t stand strong, but rather succumbs to the developer’s standard demand for a 30-year PILOT property tax exemption, that will mean higher taxes for everyone else and it will leave the Borough on the hook to meet increasing demands for municipal services.

Negotiated PILOT payments-in-lieu of taxes should help with those expenses, but it’s the Borough that will bear 100% of the risk that the revenue projections won’t pan out, as is happening at similar projects that have been reduced to offering discounts: https://www.woodmontstation.com/

If the statewide luxury apartment construction frenzy leads to a glut, causing the bubble to burst and rent rolls to plummet, it will be a disaster for Chatham Borough.

Of course, by then the developer will be long gone, and Borough taxpayers will be left holding the bag.

What about the nice public “amenities,” like the riverside trail our Mayor wants to see along the Passaic? It could happen.

Then again, once the Council adopts a redevelopment plan, the would-be developer will begin to chip away at the requirements, until there’s nothing left for the public, as happened with the monstrous 245-apartment Ivy project.

The lesson is clear: Our Mayor & Council should negotiate the best possible deal, and refuse to finance it with a PILOT tax break no matter how many sweet promises the developers make.

In short, while our Mayor & Council cannot prevent more development at River Road, they need not and must not sacrifice the long-term well-being of the Borough by waiving any more requirements or granting any PILOT agreements.

If a developer won’t build without a PILOT, that means it’s a bad deal and the Borough shouldn’t get involved.

Next: What are the options for River Road?

Our new Mayor hopes a big real estate developer will help Chatham fix up the land along the Passaic River for free!

https://patch.com/new-jersey/chatham/election-2023-carolyn-dempsey-chatham-borough-council%20

But to get that “free” help, what would we need to sacrifice in lower quality of life, more traffic, pollution, crowded schools, higher municipal and school costs?

And is it really “free” if in return we must grant the developer a PILOT tax exemption, causing higher property taxes for the rest of us?

Shall we plunge ahead on blind faith or shall we first do our due diligence?

The big question

Delighted to see some fresh faces at the May 8 Borough Council meeting. Kudos to the four newcomers who stepped up to the microphone that night to talk about the biggest issue facing the Borough, namely:

Shall we use our Borough PILOT revenue from the new River Road development to reduce our property taxes and pay for urgent necessities like fire trucks? Or shall we spend that money on luxuries and gifts?

Before that night, every Borough resident who spoke out asked the Council to use our PILOT money for property tax relief and urgent necessities like fire trucks.

We heard a different point of view at that May 8th Council meeting, where three Borough residents – and a lady from Chatham Township – asked the Borough Council to spend some of our Borough PILOT money on gifts to our joint School District.

(Click here https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=129 and start around minute 1:07:00)

That’s understandable: Education is a worthy cause. If the schools need more money, then they should have it. And vigorous discussion can help foster informed decision-making.

Yet judging from the comments made at that Council meeting, we are nowhere near ready to make an informed decision about our Borough PILOT money. Some of the speakers seemed downright confused.

For instance, most of the speakers didn’t seem to realize that the PILOT money is OUR money – a Borough asset. If we give it away, we’ll have to raise our Borough property taxes to pay for necessities like fire trucks.

Also, most of the May 8 presentations to the Council rested on the mistaken assumption that the School District is is short on funds and has nowhere else to turn for help.

That simply isn’t the case.

In fact, the School District has far greater resources than does Chatham Borough – including a $86.3 million annual budget and the option to raise additional funds from Borough and Township taxpayers alike, using ballot questions like the two we’ll vote on this November.

https://chathamchoice.org/2023/04/what-does-it-take-to-educate-4000-children-teens/?preview=true

As such, simply gifting scarce Borough funds to the School District makes no more sense than giving them to the local Post Office, New Jersey Transit, the Morristown hospital.

Important as those institutions are, they aren’t municipal functions, and neither is the School District. The Council has no business diverting scarce Borough resources to any non-municipal purpose without voter approval.

What’s more, the Borough Council has no right to meddle in School District affairs. It should stay in its own lane, and defer to the proper authority on local education: the School Board.

If the School District needs more money, the Township and Borough should share the expense – the same way they share every other cost of operating the schools- following the normal process the School Board has been using for years:

Residents pitch their ideas to the School Board. If the Board deems an expenditure worthwhile, it either fits it into its regular guaranteed annual budget, or else floats a ballot question, giving Borough and Township residents alike the chance to decide if the idea justifies raising our taxes. That’s the normal procedure. The Borough Council plays no role in that..

If the Council is determined to overstep its traditional role and consider diverting our Borough PILOT funds for a gift in excess of the Borough’s fair share of school expenses, it certainly should not do so without the consent of residents.

The Council should put the question on the ballot and let Borough voters decide.

At the very least, the Council should provide a timely forum for vigorous, robust public debate before even considering earmarking our Borough PILOT money for any particular purpose.

The Borough Council and voters alike should beware of making such an important choice based on false assumptions. For instance:

PILOT PAYMENTS: MYTH versus REALITY

MYTH: Only a selfish cheapskate – who values money more than the education of our children – would oppose gifting our Borough PILOT money to the School District.

MYTH:  The School District deserves a portion of our Borough’s River Road PILOT money, because the District would have received nearly two thirds of the property taxes from River Road if it paid property taxes.

REALITY:  Not so. It’s a question of accountability. For the Council to gift money to the School District is to do an end run around voters, diminishing the community’s voice in our schools – and potentially subjecting them to partisan political control. 

REALITY: Not so. Given the 2% cap, the School District wouldn’t be entitled to any additional property tax revenue if River Road were a taxpaying development.

MYTH: Even if the School District isn’t legally entitled to a portion of the PILOT money, the Council should gift the District PILOT money in light of the additional schoolchildren at River Road.

REALITY: Nonsense. Absent voter approval, the School District’s portion of property taxes remains exactly the same whether enrollment plummets or soars. Why should the possibility of additional school children at River Road change that rule?

MYTH: If the Borough doesn’t promise to share our PILOT money with the School District, the quality of education will suffer.

REALITY: Nonsense. The School Board president has admitted it’s impossible to predict how much – or even if – the River Road project might increase school expenses. If it does increase expenses significantly, the District will budget for it – or else float a ballot question to raise more money, just like every other district in the state.

MYTH: If the Borough Council doesn’t share our PILOT money with the School District, it will unfairly burden Township residents with the cost of educating additional Borough school children at River Road.

REALITY: Preposterous. Borough residents are required to help bear the cost of educating additional children from new Township developments like the Enclave. How is it unfair for Township residents to help bear the cost of educating additional children from a new Borough development like River Road?

Tell your Mayor & Borough Council what you think!

[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]

For the response click here: https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=130 (Minute 2:14:45)

For more detail, check out this letter: 

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/it-s-our-money-use-borough-pilot-revenues-to-reduce-property-taxes-and-cover-necessities

Care to dig deeper? Click here: 

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/chatham-borough-council-do-the-right-thing-concerning-pilot-not-merely-what-s-legally-permissible-or-expedient

Good news about the River Road Project

Our Borough Council got some good news at its April 10 meeting.

Retired Bloomfield Fire Captain Robert Penn reported that the apartment project going up on River Road is far safer than he had expected. Check out his words at minute 1:29:28:

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=123

With that, Captain Penn put to rest most of the fire safety concerns he had raised at the March 27 Council meeting.

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=121 Go to minute 1:56:56

Of course, our volunteer fire fighters are still hobbled by ancient fire trucks and have no good way to put out fires in the growing number of electric cars.

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=121 Go to minute 53:00

Winds of change?

Can your town suddenly decide to zone one lot differently from its neighbors? No. That’s “spot-zoning.” It’s illegal in New Jersey.

But there is an exception if the lot is arguably “blighted” or “in need of redevelopment,” according to a state law designed to help poor towns attract new construction. It allows what amounts to legalized spot-zoning.

For years, real estate developers have abused that exception.

They’ve used it to get around normal zoning laws in towns that have no trouble attracting investors.

They’ve used it to sweep away normal zoning rules for properties that aren’t blighted or needy at all.

They’ve used it to qualify for whopping property tax breaks that enrich the developers at the expense of residents.

Sometimes they’ve used it to get title to public land without the normal checks and balances.

The courts usually turn a blind eye to that kind of abuse.

Now it seems the state Supreme Court is beginning to tighten up the criteria for designating a property “in need of redevelopment.”

In a case published this month, the Court rejected the designation of the West Orange library as an “area in need of redevelopment” within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-5(d) simply because it was old, out of style, and needed repair. The Court also put to rest the idea that the mere assertion that a place is dilapidated, obsolescent, etc. will suffice, or that courts should defer to the township’s judgment on that score.

https://www.njcourts.gov/sites/default/files/court-opinions/2023/a_45_21.pdf

To satisfy N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-5(d), the township must show both:

1) evidence of “dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use or obsolete layout”; and

2) that, as a result, the premises “are detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the community.”

Great news for anyone concerned about reckless overdevelopment,

Priorities & accountability

UPDATE: Turned out Captain Penn was 100% right about the Borough’s emergency need for new fire vehicles, according to the November. 2023 report by the experts the Council paid to study the issue. On July 8, 2024, the Council voted to spend $1.2 million on a new truck, some 40% more than it would have cost if they’d acted when first alerted to the issue.

Why would our Chatham Borough Council even consider gifting our River Road PILOT money to anyone when we’re in such desperate need of fire trucks and other necessities?

That was the elephant in the room at the Monday, 3/13 meeting of our Borough Council.

River Road

The elephant got loose during a presentation by a principal of BNE, the developer of the massive, stick-built apartment project going up at the corner of Watchung Avenue and River Road.

Asked if our volunteer fire department has the equipment, the manpower, and the training necessary to fight a real fire at River Road, the presenter, a principal with the developer, BNE Real Estate Group, said, “Yes, currently Chatham Borough has what they need to fight a fire in that building.” See the video linked below starting about 1:18:00.

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=119

Is that true? No.

Brave, dedicated, and skilled as they are, our volunteer firefighters need more personnel, more training, and far newer fire trucks than Chatham Borough has – or can provide anytime soon, according to longtime, respected Borough resident Robert Penn, a former captain in the Bloomfield Fire Department who worked in the fire service for 44 years and has taught classes in Building Construction and Advanced Firefighting Tactics and Strategy. (Go to minute 37:46 in the following video:0)

https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=106

Chatham’s fire trucks are so old and obsolete that they pose a risk to the safety of residents and fire fighters alike, says Penn.

https://patch.com/new-jersey/chatham/fire-safety-concerns-prompt-chatham-resident-call-new-equipment

In the event of a real fire at the River Road development, our volunteers would have to wait for help from surrounding towns.

The problem isn’t new or partisan. It dates back at least a decade, when the other political party controlled the Council. It will take years to get the necessary equipment.

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/a-firefighter-s-response-to-mathiasen-s-letter-on-post-office-plaza

https://www.newjerseyhills.com/robert-penn-requests-chatham-look-into-replacing-outdated-apparatus/image_f38c5cac-6f49-5c16-acb2-4ced7f6655ba.html

https://www.newjerseyhills.com/chatham_courier/news/chatham-to-hire-consultant-to-help-craft-fire-apparatus-replacement-plan/article_1bbc2229-7f63-521e-a17a-a33703f740d9.html

Popular Borough Council Member Len Resto is working on getting the fire trucks we need. It will cost a bundle. The Council should use our PILOT money for tax relief and fire trucks, not for gifts. Certainly not without the informed consent of Chatham residents.

That the Council would even consider giving away our PILOT money without our consent is mind boggling. It’s a great example of what can happen when we don’t hold our elected representatives accountable for their decisions.

If the Council explains the situation, and residents vote to give away our PILOT money anyway, that’s their choice. But residents are entitled to know what’s at stake before any decisions are made.

Check out this letter:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/it-s-our-money-use-borough-pilot-revenues-to-reduce-property-taxes-and-cover-necessities

For more information, click here:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/chatham-borough-council-do-the-right-thing-concerning-pilot-not-merely-what-s-legally-permissible-or-expedient

Do the right thing

What will Chatham Borough Council do with the Borough’s PILOT revenues from the River Road project?

Will the Council do the right thing?

Find out here: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/it-s-our-money-use-borough-pilot-revenues-to-reduce-property-taxes-and-cover-necessities


Learn more here: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/chatham-borough-council-do-the-right-thing-concerning-pilot-not-merely-what-s-legally-permissible-or-expedient

Attend the 3/13 Council meeting in person or on Zoom here: https://www.chathamborough.org/component/dpcalendar/event/mayor-council-meeting-13-1678750200?Itemid=809

Take the high road

The Chatham Borough Council is drooling over the prospect of getting millions in PILOT revenue from the massive, 259-unit rental housing project under construction on River Road.

Those PILOT revenues rightfully belong to the taxpayers of Chatham Borough.

Our Borough Council should use the taxpayers’ PILOT money to lighten our tax burden, not to wield more power.

If the River Road project were subject to regular property taxes, it would increase the Borough’s tax base, possibly reducing our property taxes.

But the BOE wouldn’t get any of that additional tax revenue – not unless the taxpayers voted to give it to them.

That’s exactly what the Council should do with the PILOT payments.

Instead, the Borough Council is negotiating to allocate some of the PILOT money outside normal channels and without public scrutiny or consent.

That prospect doesn’t sit well with longtime Borough resident Bill Heap, a respected Planning Board member and successful businessman.

“PILOT money is our money, and you have an obligation to be transparent,” Mr. Heap told the Borough Council on Jan 23, urging them to run the decision by voters, at minute 36:05: https://chathamborough.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=106

But so far, the Council seems bent on simply divvying up the taxpayers’ PILOT money in the back room and without public scrutiny.

For instance, they’re prepared to hand over some of the taxpayers’ PILOT money to the School Board.

That would be bad for Chatham Borough and for the School Board.

It would deprive the Borough of funds it needs to meet absolute necessities, like new fire apparatus.

Gifting Borough funds to the School District could leave the School Board beholden to the Council and ensnare our schools in party politics.

Our School Board shouldn’t put itself in that position. The School Board already has ways to get all the money it needs.

Even with declining enrollment, the School Board automatically gets 102% of last year’s budget, plus whatever it takes to meet certain other expenses.

With school parents making up the biggest voting block, the School Board can raise additional funds simply asking the taxpayers to vote on that by the normal, aboveboard process of referendum or second question.

Here’s how Bill Heap explained the issue at the December 12 School Board meeting, at minutes 2:27:29 and 2:50:20:

You think that simply giving PILOT payments to the Board of Ed might reduce our property taxes? No. It wouldn’t reduce our taxes at all.

The Board of Ed would get the PILOT money ON TOP of AT LEAST 102% of last year’s school budget, to which they’re entitled by law.

What’s more, at least half of any PILOT funds given to the schools would, in effect, benefit nearby Chatham Township, though it bears none of the burdens associated with the River Road project.

Bill Heap’s argument against allocating PILOT money to the Chatham schools without public consent has the support of Stewart Carr, a civic-minded, longtime Township resident and registered municipal advisor.

Mr. Carr has urged the Board of Ed to “take the high road and not ask the municipality for extra [PILOT] money, but rather ask the taxpayers directly for that money.”

Check out this clip from the Feb 6 meeting of the BOE, at minute 1:26:31

Chathamites who are in-the-know agree that the Borough Council should not spend the PILOT money without the approval of residents:

Do you approve of the Council’s plans to divvy up the PILOT money without consulting the public?

Would you prefer that the Borough Council let us decide how to use our money – or simply use it to reduce taxes?

Don’t wait until it’s a done deal!

Come to the Borough Council meetings on Feb. 13, and Feb. 27, 2023 at 7:30 PM, Borough Hall, upper level, 54 Fairmount Avenue.

Also tell the Mayor & Council here: https://chathamborough.org/government/mayor

Tell the School Board here: https://www.chatham-nj.org/page/63