[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Lumberton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 12-1-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-11-013]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Art. I, Route 38 Commercial Corridor, adopted 4-6-1998 by Ord. No. 1998-15.
The Township of Lumberton may enter into agreements with property owners and/or developers for tax abatement and/or exemptions on commercial and industrial improvements or projects, pursuant to the provision of P.L. 1991, c. 441, as amended, for periods not to exceed five years.
The following definitions shall govern agreements for tax abatement and/or exemption entered into by the Township of Lumberton and developers:
Definitions. The following words shall have the following meanings, consistent with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:21-3:
- That portion of the assessed value of a property as it existed prior to construction or improvement of a building or structure thereon, which is exempted from taxation pursuant to this Act.
- Substantially ready for the intended use for which a building or structure is constructed or improved.
- The provision of a new commercial or industrial structure, or the enlargement of the volume of an existing commercial or industrial structure by more than 30%, but shall not mean the conversion of an existing building or structure to another use.
- That portion of the Assessor's full and true value of any improvement or construction not regarded as increasing the taxable value of a property pursuant to this article and the Five Year Exemption and Abatement Law, L. 1991, c. 441, as amended.
- A modernization, rehabilitation, renovation, alteration or repair which produces a physical change in an existing building or structure that improves the safety, sanitation, decency or attractiveness of the building or structure as a place for human habitation or work, and which does not change its permitted use. In no case shall it include the repair of fire or other damage to a property for which payment of a claim was received by any person from an insurance company at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding the filing of an application pursuant to this Act.
The following procedures shall be followed in applying for the benefits authorized by the article:
All improvements and construction, as defined above, shall be exempt from local real property taxes, if approved by the Township Committee after proper application has been made pursuant to L. 1991, c. 441, to both Committee and the Tax Assessor. Application shall be made upon the forms prescribed by the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury.
Applicants shall be encouraged to apply for tax exemption and/or abatement on improvements and construction prior to the commencement of construction of the improvement or construction, provided that the applicant must file a proper application with the Township Committee and the Tax Assessor within 30 days of the completion of the improvement or construction in order to be eligible for tax exemption thereon. The Tax Assessor will simultaneously file with the Mayor and Township Clerk copies of the application.
Every properly completed application for exemption of one or more improvements or construction projects, which is filed within 30 days of the completion of the improvement or construction project, shall be considered by the Committee and Assessor to the degree that the application is consistent with the provision of the adopting ordinance or tax agreement, provided that the improvement, conversion, alteration or construction for which the application is made qualifies as an improvement, a conversion, alteration or construction pursuant to the provisions of the Five Year Exemption and Abatement Law, L. 1991, c. 441 (N.J.S.A. 40A:21-1 et seq.), and the tax agreement, if any. The granting of an exemption, or exemption and abatement, or tax agreement shall be recorded and made a permanent part of the official tax records of the municipality, which records shall contain a notice of determination date thereof.
New construction. Applicants for tax exemption and abatement for new construction of commercial or industrial structures shall provide the municipal governing body with an application setting forth:
A general description of the project for which exemption and abatement is sought;
A legal description of all real estate necessary for the project;
Plans, drawings, and other documents as may be required for the Township of Lumberton to demonstrate the structure and design of the project;
A description of the number, classes, and types of employees to be employed at the project site within two years of completion of the project;
A statement of the reasons for seeking tax abatement on the project, and a description of the benefits to be realized by the applicant if a tax agreement is granted;
Estimates of the cost of completing such a project;
A statement showing: 1) the real property taxes currently being assessed at the project site; 2) estimated tax payments that would be made annually by the applicant on the project during the period of the agreement; and 3) estimated tax payments that would be made by the applicant on the project during the first full year following the termination of the tax agreement;
A description of any lease agreements between the applicant and proposed users of the project, and a history and description of the users' business; and
Such other pertinent information as the Township Committee may require, which shall simultaneously be filed with the Tax Assessor and Township Clerk.
Determination of value. In determining the value of property, the Township shall regard up to the Assessor's full and true value of the improvements as not increasing the value of the property for a period of five years, notwithstanding that the value of the property to which the improvements are made is increased thereby. During this exemption period, the assessment on the property shall not be less than the assessment thereon existing immediately prior to the improvements, unless there is damage to the structure through action of the elements sufficient to warrant a reduction. Notwithstanding anything else herein contained in this article to the contrary, it is specifically provided that any exemption for improvements shall be authorized on an individual basis as to review, evaluation and approval of each application by the governing body.
Tax agreements. Upon adoption of this article, and upon its reaching its effective date as provided for in Article V, Section 3, below, the governing body may enter into a written agreement with the applicant for exemption and abatement of local real property taxes. The agreement shall provide for the applicant to pay to the municipality in lieu of full property tax payments an amount annually to be computed by one, but in no case a combination, of the following formulas:
Cost basis: The agreement may provide for the applicant to pay to the municipality in lieu of full property tax payments an amount equal to 2% of the cost of the project. For the purposes of the agreement, "the cost of the project" means only the cost of fair market value of direct labor and all materials used in the construction, expansion, or rehabilitation of all buildings, structures and facilities at the project site, including the costs, if any, of land acquisition and land preparation, provision of access roads, utilities, drainage facilities, together with architectural, engineering, legal, surveying, testing, and contractors' fees associated with the project; which the applicant shall cause to be certified and verified to the governing body by an independent and qualified architect, following the completion of the project.
Gross revenue basis: The agreement may provide for the applicant to pay the municipality in lieu of full property tax payments an amount annually equal to 15% of the annual gross revenues from the project. For purposes of the agreement, "annual gross revenues" means the total annual gross rental and other income payable to the owner from the project. If in any leasing, any real estate taxes or assessments on property included in the project, any premiums for fire or other insurance on or concerning property included in the project, or any operating or maintenance expenses ordinarily paid by the landlord, are to be paid by the tenant, then those payments shall be computed and deemed to be part of the rent and shall be included in the annual gross revenue. The tax agreement shall establish the method of computing the revenues and may establish a method of arbitration by which either the landlord or tenant may dispute the amount of payments so included in the annual gross revenue.
Tax phase-in basis: The agreement may provide for the applicant to pay the municipality in lieu of full property tax payments an amount equal to a percentage of taxes otherwise due according to the following schedule:
In the first full year after completion, no payment in lieu of taxes otherwise due;
In the second tax year, an amount not less than 20% of taxes otherwise due;
In the third tax year, an amount not less than 40% of taxes otherwise due;
In the fourth tax year, an amount not less than 60% of taxes otherwise due; and
In the fifth tax year, an amount not less than 80% of taxes otherwise due.
Editor's Note: Article V, Section C, of this ordinance stated that "this ordinance shall take effect after proper passage in accordance with the law."
Disqualification from exemption/abatement. No exemption or abatement shall be granted, or tax agreement entered into, pursuant to this article or the statute authorizing this article with respect to any property for which property taxes are delinquent or remain unpaid, or for which penalties for nonpayment of taxes are due; or for which other municipal charges (water, sewer, land use escrow fees, etc.) are due.
All tax agreements entered into by the Township pursuant to this article shall be in effect for no more than five full tax years next following the date of completion of the project.
Any agreement entered into pursuant to this article shall be subject to the condition that all taxes and other municipal charges (water, sewer, land use escrow fees, etc.) shall be kept current to the extent same are assessed. In the event taxes and charges go unpaid for more than six months beyond the date upon which become due, then the agreement shall become null and void, and the abatement/exemption agreed to therein shall expire and be lost to the property owner and/or developer; and the property shall be restored to full assessment. This condition shall be binding and effective notwithstanding the absence of any reference to same in the tax abatement/exemption agreement with the owner/developer.