Sweetheart deals in Hoboken
Mar 16, 2014 | 773 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

I would like to submit this letter as a public service announcement for the taxpayers of the City of Hoboken. As you may know, May 1, 2014 is the deadline for registering an appeal of your Property Reevaluation.

As you review your current property assessment, I think it's important to note that the owners of the Hoboken University Medical Center's buildings, Medical Properties Trust, (NYSE: MPW) a Real Estate Investment Trust, located in Birmingham, AL, has received a 55 percent decrease in their taxes.

Last year, Medical Properties Trust requested a reassessment of their three Hoboken properties (300-336 Willow Ave., 307 Willow Ave. and 122-132 Clinton St.) and received a substantial decrease in their tax rate to the tune of $1.1 million, unlike a maneuver available for the typical Hoboken taxpayer.

Recently, when the City Council questioned the decrease, the Hoboken Tax Assessor explained when a rate is struck; a universal formula is used to determine the new tax rate. After one month there was a vague application for a further reduction allowing Medical Properties Trust to receive another bite of the apple.

When the mayor first proposed the sale of the hospital, a primary public relations spin was restructuring the hospital from a "not for profit" to a "for profit" institution to allow the city to receive an additional annual anticipated tax revenue of $2,000,000.00.

In the end, all of this maneuvering resulted in a million dollar savings for Medical Properties Trust, a for-profit, publically traded corporation. The city realized only $895,000.00, from the expected $2,000,000.00, a 55 percent decrease in one year.

The typical Hoboken taxpayer who likely facing a reevaluation resulting in substantial increase in property value and a proportionally increase in the tax base. Keep in mind tax increases effect both owners and renters with some reporting a 200 to 300 percent tax increase.

For all taxpayers affected by our current revaluation, please register your appeal before May 1, 2014. The Medical Properties Trust decrease should definitely be included in the conversation.

It goes without saying, any property owner, if given the chance, would appreciate the opportunity to participate in the same sweetheart deal offered an Alabama real estate investment trust.

First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano

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