Jersey City’s contradictory housing policies
Dec 03, 2017 | 335 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor:

Two public ads were in the local paper recently. The first one is from the Jersey City Public Housing Authority, announcing applications for affordable housing. For a family of four they must meet the guidelines: no greater than $68,800, which is actually higher than the average $58,000 income for Jersey City’s residents.

The second ad was the tax lien for homeowners that the city will sell this December for 2017 delinquent water and tax bills. This ad is seventeen oversized pages (34 regular pages.)

The public housing ad is touting affordable housing, while the second ad shows the names of people who own homes and are struggling to pay their bills, but they are denied affordable housing. They are paying the taxes for Public Housing, as well as the full tax cost associated with other affordable housing, rent control, plus any tax abated luxury condos.

The late Mayor Glenn Cunningham wanted public housing to contribute $100,000 to the city’s coffers. But he passed away and the subject was dropped. Public housing had a special deal written in their abatement contract that allowed utilities to be subtracted from their payment in lieu of taxes to the city, and as those costs increase, the city received nothing. Ironically, water is considered a utility and properties are being put into lien for nonpayment of water for the small homeowner. The laws must be changed, informing homeowners of their cost for subsidizing all tax abatements, on their tax bill.

This is also a clear example that the city’s tax abatement policy is a failure. Taxes are artificially high because tax abatements are not ratables but contracts, which keeps the tax rate high. I personally think it is scandalous that this city touts itself on building affordable housing while it confiscates property through high taxes and water bills for the small homeowners so others could have housing.

Yvonne Balcer

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