Ordinance No. 16-07

Introduced: April 11, 2016
Public Hearing: May 9, 2016
Status: Adopted

An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey establishing the eligibility of commercial and industrial structures for twenty (20) year tax exemptions and abatements pursuant to the long term tax exemption law, N.J.S.A. 40a: 20-1, et seq.

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Long Term Tax Exemption Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1, et seq., a municipality having areas in need of redevelopment may, by ordinance, provide for the exemption and/or abatement of real property taxes, to encourage and provide incentives for the construction and redevelopment of commercial and industrial structures; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon desires to provide real estate tax incentives for commercial and industrial structures within said areas in need of redevelopment (“Redevelopment Area”) as that term is defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:20-3; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1, et seq. provides for the exemption or abatement of property taxes for improvements made in a redevelopment area;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

1. Definitions.

The definitions contained in N.J.S.A. 40A:20-3 are incorporated herein by reference as if set forth at length. As used in this Ordinance, words shall have the meanings as so defined unless a different meaning is expressed.

2. Tax Exemptions and Abatements Authorized.

The Township hereby authorizes the utilization of exemptions and abatements in accordance with Article VIII, Section I, Paragraph 6, of the New Jersey Constitution and establishes the eligibility of commercial and industrial structures for up to twenty (20) year tax exemptions and abatements in areas in need of redevelopment as authorized by N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1, et seq.

3. Improvements to Commercial and Industrial Structures.

Improvements to commercial and industrial structures are eligible for a tax exemption and/or abatement for a period of up to twenty (20) years commencing with the completion of the improvement. Any such exemption and/or abatement shall be subject to the owner and Township entering into a financial agreement pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:20-4 and N.J.S.A. 40A:20-9. The Tax Assessor’s full and true value of the improvement shall be regarded as not increasing the value of the property notwithstanding that the value of the property to which the improvement is made is increased thereby. During the exemption and/or abatement period, the assessment on the property shall not be less than the assessment existing thereon immediately prior to the improvements, unless there is damage to the structure through action of the elements sufficient to warrant a reduction.

4. Construction of New Commercial and Industrial Structures.

Construction of new commercial and industrial structures shall be eligible for tax exemption and/or abatement for a period of up to twenty (20) years commencing with completion of the project. Any such exemption and/or abatement shall be subject to the owner and Township entering into a financial agreement pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:20-4 and N.J.S.A. 40A:20-9.

  1. The applicant shall furnish to the municipality all the information required by N.J.S.A. 40A:20-8. In addition, every applicant shall file the application form prescribed by the Director of the New Jersey Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury, with the Tax Assessor, as a condition to approval, within thirty (30) days, including Saturdays and Sundays, following the completion of the improvement or project. Every application for exemption and/or abatement so filed shall be approved and allowed by the Tax Assessor to the degree that the application is consistent with the provisions of this Ordinance and the financial agreement, provided that the improvements or project for which the application is made, qualifies as such, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1, et seq. and the financial agreement. The granting of an exemption and/or abatement and financial agreement, if appropriate, shall be recorded and made a permanent part of the official tax records of the taxing district, which record shall contain a notice of termination date thereof.
  2. No tax exemption and/or abatement shall be granted unless approved by resolution of the Township Council on an individual basis after review, evaluation, and approval of each application for compliance with the terms of this Ordinance and the underlying statute, rules and regulations.
  3. The financial agreement shall conform to the requirements set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:20-8.

5. Eligibility for Additional Construction or Improvement.

An additional improvement or construction, completed on a property granted a previous exemption and/or abatement during the period in which such previous exemption and/or abatement is in effect, shall be qualified for an exemption and/or abatement, just as if such property had not received a previous exemption and/or abatement. In such case, the additional improvement or construction shall be considered as separate for the purposes of calculating exemptions and/or abatements, except that the assessed value of any previous improvement or construction shall be added to the assessed valuation as it was prior to that improvement or construction for the purpose of determining the assessed valuation of the property from which any additional abatement is to be subtracted.

6. Applicability of Statutory Regulatory Provisions.

Every application for exemption and/or abatement and every exemption and/or abatement granted shall be subject to all the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1, et seq., and all rules and regulations issued thereunder.

7. Applicability of Federal, State and Local Laws.

All tax abatement and/or exemption agreements shall provide that the applicant is subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

8. Cessation or Disposition of Property.

If during any tax year prior to the termination of the tax exemption and/or abatement agreement, the applicant ceases to operate or disposes of the property or otherwise fails to meet the conditions of eligibility, the tax otherwise due if there had been no exemption and/or abatement shall become due and payable by the property owner. The Tax Assessor shall notify the property owner and the Tax Collector forthwith and the Tax Collector shall within fifteen (15) days thereof notify the owner of the property of the amount of taxes due. However, with respect to sale or other disposal of the property which it is determined that the new owner of the property will continue to use the property pursuant to the conditions which were set forth in the tax exemption and/or abatement agreement, the exemption and/or abatement shall continue.

9. Default in Tax Payments.

In the event of default by the applicant, including but not limited to the failure to make timely payments of applicable administrative fees and service charges to the Township, the Township shall notify the applicant, in writing, of said default. The applicant shall have thirty days to cure any default. Following the thirty day cure period, the Township shall have the right to proceed against the property pursuant to the In Rem Tax Foreclosure Act, N.J.S.A. 54:4-1, et seq., and/or may cancel the financial agreement upon thirty days notice to the applicant.

10. Taxes Upon Termination.

At the termination of a tax exemption and/or abatement agreement, a project shall be subject to all applicable real property taxes as provided by state law and local ordinance.

11. Payment of Application Fees.

No application for tax exemption and/or abatement shall be accepted by the municipality unless accompanied by full payment of the required application fee. Such fees shall be based on total project cost as set forth in a schedule on file with the Office of the Municipal Clerk. These fees shall be received as compensation for the legal review and related work required by the municipality’s departments and agencies.

12. Ordinance Sent to Department of Community Affairs.

The Municipal Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to forward a certified copy of this Ordinance to the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

13. Ineligibility.

No exemption and/or abatement shall be granted, or tax agreement entered into with respect to any property for which property taxes or any other municipal charges are delinquent or remain unpaid or for which penalties for nonpayment are due for a period of at least one year, or for any property not being used in conformance with local, state or federal ordinance, regulation or statute.

14. Appeal.

Appeal of any determination made by the municipality under the terms of this Ordinance shall be made to the Sussex County Board of Taxation.

15. Construction of Ordinance.

Where consistent with the context in which used in this ordinance, words importing the singular shall include the plural; words importing the plural shall include the singular; and, words importing one gender shall include all other genders.

16. Inconsistent Ordinances Repealed.

Should any provision of this Ordinance be inconsistent with the provisions of any prior ordinances, the inconsistent provisions of such prior ordinances are hereby repealed, but only to the extent of the inconsistencies. This Ordinance specifically replaces and supersedes Ordinance 16-2014.

17. Severability.

In the event that any provision of this Ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such declaration of invalidity shall not affect any other provision or application of this ordinance which may be given effect, and, to realize this intent, the provisions and applications of this ordinance are declared to be severable.

18. Captions.

Captions contained in this Ordinance have been inserted only for the purpose of facilitating reference to the various sections, and are not intended and shall not be utilized to construe the intent and meaning of the text of any section.

19. Application Fee Schedule.

The application fee is to be paid at the time that an application is submitted for tax exemption and/or exemption and abatement.

The application fee shall be calculated as a percentage of the estimated cost of the improvements and shall be equal to 0.25% of the estimated cost of the improvements. The minimum application fee shall be not less than $1,500 or more than $25,000.