Wednesday, December 16, 2009

City Yields to Condo Owners on Pilot Tax Scheme

The council, which was in full attendance this evening, approved an ordinance amending its tax agreement, which is a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), with Paramount Homes, owners of the North Beach condominium development in the northeast end of the City. The same deal is being struck with the owners of Wesley Grove's condominiums, said attorney Tom Hastie, who represents the City in redevelopment zone matters.

Under the revision, individual owners will pay $12, down from $15.20, per thousand of the sales price they paid for their properties. There are still about 60 unsold units in the North Beach complex for which the builder pays a lower rate of tax, a construction rate.

Little was mentioned of the iStar take over of Asbury Partners. City manager Terence Reidy complimented the Asbury Park Press for a "very accurate report" and repeated that the event was "a positive step". He estimated it will take one week for iStar's "paperwork to go through" after which it will have 100% of Asbury Partners' membership.

Commerce director, Thomas Gilmour, asked and received the council’s commitment to hold a special meeting December 24th to ensure that the city gets its application in for a $15 million low interest environmental loan tied to Federal Stimulus money.Reidy said the city could receive another $5 million as part of the proposal, but that it is “highly competitive.” January 15th is the cut off for the stimulus funds, said Gilmour. “After that we have zero chance of getting stimulus money.”

The city is considering dispensing with its fees on fire sprinkler systems in multi-unit buildings. The council seemed amenable to eliminating the fee, which, Reidy said, only yields about $25,000 - $26,000 a year. Apparently the system was set up to compensate the city for water used in the event the sprinklers were activated. Council member James Bruno pointed out that water companies capture those costs today anyway.

Whether to limit beach concerts from Memorial Day to the second week in September will be deliberated by the council. Gilmour said visitors come to enjoy the beach and some object to loud music. Deputy Mayor John Loffredo likened the request to the noise complaints on Cookman and called for consideration of the revenues to be lost if a music venue outlaws music. “We have to look at the revenues we’re getting,” council member Sue Henderson agreed. The revised pending noise ordinance was once again carried, this time until the second meeting of January.

He also noted that Asbury Park has been recognized with an award for its sustainable city efforts. Out of all the towns in NJ, only 28 were selected for this award.

At the council’s next meeting, it will introduce a resolution supporting marriage equality for NJ.

Mayor Ed Johnson said the Board of Education will, at its Jan. 5th meeting, honor Asbury Park’s Blue Bishops, the State Champs, and the Pop Warner Division Champs. “They are genuine Asbury Park heroes,” declared the Mayor.

A liquor permit renewal was approved for Chico Rouse’s new club, Chico’s House of Jazz, on Lake Avenue, which he hopes to open for New Year’s Eve. A liquor extension was approved for Langosta Lounge to use the space formerly occupied by the Stacey Gemma clothing store on the boardwalk, for the night of December 19th.

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