Monday, December 04, 2017

How much can the city afford to keep giving?

Former Senator Seeks Tax Abatement For Downtown Property

The above item appears on the docket for the December 7, 2017 Trenton City Council meeting. We find it appalling that Golden Swan Urban Renewal, LLC, whose principal is former Senator Robert Torricelli, would ask the city to reduce the property taxes for his "investment" property on S. Warren Street.

Back in August of this year, Kevin Moriarty, revisted the topic of what he called the Revaluation of La-La Land. It was a topic he'd written about it in January, twice in fact.  And now Torricelli wants a long-term tax abatement.

Well, we say "Too bad!"  Senator Torricelli has taken more than enough from Trenton. It's time he starts paying his fair share.

The Golden Swan property was acquired by Torricelli (through his Woodrose Properties Golden Swan LLC) in 2005. He bought it from the city of Trenton for the grand sum of one dollar. In December of 2007, the city granted Torricelli UEZ funds to do some of the renovation work on the buildings. (This was all covered in some of our earliest postings on this blog. You can find one story here and another here.)

EDIT: courtesy of Kevin Moriarty, we now have a copy of Ordinance 17-80 wherein the developer is requesting a 10 year tax abatement so he can essentially replace some of the buildings systems and convert rental office space to rental residential space. He is doing this under threat of abandoning the project altogether if he doesn't get the abatement because the properties are not profitable. 

It was pointed out at the time that there were some serious monetary contributions that flowed from Torricelli to then Mayor Doug Palmer's campaign and foundation. Not that that in anyway influenced the city's decision to sell the property for $1 and then throw in UEZ money later on.

After a decade, with a Subway store located on the ground floor and some office and residential space above, Torricelli is coming to the city, again; hand out; looking for a "long-term tax abatement."  All the while, the everyday folks are scrambling to meet their newly increased property tax bills. Doesn't quite seem fair, does it?

Now, we can't point to any possible contributions from Torricelli to current Mayor Eric Jackson's campaign or private foundation that may have influenced the decision to bring the tax abatement to council for approval. But only because Jackson has not filed the required tax returns and election reports where such contributions, if there were any, might show up.

What we do know is this, any member of Trenton's governing body who votes to approve this long-term tax abatement is showing that they care more for a non-resident investor who has continually made money off of the city's largesse than they do for the people who actually voted them into office. The best move the council could take would be to vote this ordinance down immediately.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are correct, Jim. Vote it down.