[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Woodbury as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 12-8-2008 by Ord. No. 2092-08]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Art. I, Abatement for Improvements, adopted 2-24-1998 by Ord. No. 1844-98, and former Art. II, Abatement for Commercial Improvements in Historic District, adopted 2-24-1998 by Ord. No. 1845-98.
All previous ordinances adopted by the City of Woodbury relating to abatements and exemptions for properties located in areas designated in need of rehabilitation are superseded by the within article.
The City Council hereby determines to utilize the authority granted under Article VIII, Section I, Paragraph 6, of the New Jersey Constitution and the law to establish the eligibility of single-family dwellings, commercial and industrial structures for exemptions and abatements as provided in this article within the area designated as in need of rehabilitation.
This article authorizes the City of Woodbury to grant exemptions and abatements to commence and take effect in the 2009 tax year and thereafter.
The City Council adopts the definitions as set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:21 et seq. relevant to this article.
The City Council hereby determines to provide for the exemption from taxation of improvements to dwellings more than 20 years old. In determining the value of real property, the City shall regard the first $25,000 in the Assessors full and true value (market value) of improvements for each dwelling unit primarily and directly affected by 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 the exemption period, the assessment on the property shall not be less than the assessment thereon existing immediately prior to the improvements, except if there is damage to the dwelling through action of the elements sufficient to warrant a reduction.
The City Council hereby determines to provide an exemption from taxation of improvements to commercial and industrial structures as set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:21-8 and in accordance with provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:21-9 through 40A:21-12. Such an improvement, as defined under N.J.S.A. 40A:21-3n, shall not include ordinary painting, repairs and replacement items or an enlargement of the volume of the existing structure by more than 30%. The exemption shall be granted for a five-year period and shall not increase the value of the property by the value of the improvement, notwithstanding that the value of the property to which the improvement is made is increased thereby. During the exemption period, the assessment on the property shall not be less than the assessment thereon existing immediately prior to the improvement, unless there is damage to the structure through action of the elements sufficient to warrant a reduction.
This article authorizes the exemption for improvements to commercial and industrial structures to be granted only by the governing body by resolution on an individual basis after review, evaluation and approval of each application if the market value of the improvement is in excess of $250,000. In the event an improvement has a market value of $250,000 or less, the authority to grant the exemption shall be vested in the City Tax Assessor. Application forms for such exemption shall be available at the offices of the Municipal Clerk and Tax Assessor.
The City Council hereby determines to grant exemptions for the new construction of commercial and industrial structures, or the enlargement of the volume of an existing commercial or industrial structure by more than 30%, pursuant to the procedures set forth in the law and in this article, for a five-year period. Such exemption shall not mean the conversion of an existing building or structure to another use.
Applicants for tax exemption for new construction of commercial or industrial structures, or the enlargement of existing commercial or industrial structures by more than 30%, hereinafter referred to as the "project," shall provide the Municipal Clerk and Tax Assessor of the City of Woodbury with an application setting forth the following information:
A general description of a 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 by the governing body to demonstrate the structure and design of the project;
A description of the number, classes and type 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 exemption and abatement for the project, and a description of the benefits to be realized by the applicant if a tax agreement were granted;
Estimates of the cost of completing such project;
A statement showing:
The real property taxes currently being assessed at the project site;
Estimated tax payments that would be made annually by the applicant on the project during the period of the agreement; and
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.
If the project is a commercial or industrial structure, a description of any lease agreement between the applicant and proposed users of the project, and a history and description of the users' businesses;
Such other pertinent information as the governing body may require on a case-by-case basis.
Based on such application, the governing body may enter into a written agreement on a discretionary basis with an applicant for the exemption of local property taxes. The agreement shall provide for the applicant to pay the municipality, in lieu of full property taxes, 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 full year after completion: an amount not less than 20% of taxes otherwise due;
In the third full year after completion: an amount not less than 40% of taxes otherwise due;
In the fourth full year after completion: an amount not less than 60% of taxes otherwise due;
In the fifth full year after completion: an amount not less than 80% of taxes otherwise due;
The application and agreement shall be approved by a resolution adopted by the governing body. Municipal bills for payments in lieu of taxes shall be adjusted to incorporate tax rate changes from year to year.
The Clerk of the City of Woodbury is authorized to forward a copy of all executed abatement agreements entered into pursuant to this article to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs within 30 days of the date of execution.
In the event a property owner subject to a tax agreement ceases to operate or disposes of the property or fails to meet the conditions for qualifying for the exemption, the local property taxes due for all the prior years subject to exemption and for the current year shall be payable as if no exemption had been granted. The Tax Collector of the City of Woodbury shall notify the property owner within 15 days of the date of disqualification of the amount of taxes due.
In the event property subject to a tax agreement has been transferred to a new owner and it is determined that the new owner will continue to use the property pursuant to the qualifying conditions, no tax shall be due, the exemption shall continue and the agreement shall remain in effect. As a condition for such continuation of the exemption, the new owner must apply for the assignment of the agreement by letter submitted to the Municipal Clerk and Tax Assessor of the City within 30 days of ownership transfer. Such assignment must be approved by resolution of the governing body.
The City Council hereby determines that an additional improvement, conversion or construction completed on a property already granted a previous exemption pursuant to this article during the period in which the previous exemption or abatement is in effect shall qualify for an additional exemption. The additional improvement, conversion or construction shall be considered as separate for purposes of calculating the exemption, except that the assessed value of any previous improvement, conversion or construction shall be added to the assessed valuation as it was prior to that improvement, conversion or construction for the purpose of determining the assessed value of the property for which any additional exemption is to be subtracted.
No exemption shall be granted or tax agreement entered into pursuant to this article for any property for which property taxes are delinquent or remain unpaid, or for which penalties for nonpayment of taxes are due. As a condition for the continuation of an exemption already granted during the five-year period, property taxes must be kept current. In the event that a tax delinquency for such property exists for more than a sixty-day period, the City Tax Assessor is authorized to notify the affected property owner that the exemption has been terminated and the full value of the property will be subject to property taxes under the local property tax law from the date of delinquency.
As a further condition to granting an exemption, a property owner shall be required to waive the filing of any tax appeal for the subject property for the life of the exemption. In the event a tax appeal is filed for the subject property during the five-year exemption period, the exemption shall cease as of January 1 of the tax year for which the appeal is filed.
Every application submitted pursuant to this article shall be on a form available at the offices of the City of Woodbury Tax Assessor and Municipal Clerk and shall be filed with the Clerk and Tax Assessor of the City of Woodbury, as a condition for approval, within 30 days, including Saturdays and Sundays, following the completion of the improvement, project, conversion or construction.
All exemptions granted hereunder shall be in effect for a five-year period commencing with the date of completion of the improvement or project.
At the termination of an exemption authorized pursuant to this article, the subject property shall be subject to all applicable real property taxes as provided by state law, provided that nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit the project or improvement at the termination of the agreement for tax exemption from qualifying for and receiving the full benefits of any other tax preference provided by law.
This article shall apply to the entirety of the City of Woodbury. All applications seeking exemption under the various categories of property, including those in the Historic District, encompassed by this article may require additional approvals by the City of Woodbury Planning Board and any other entity created to ensure consistency with building standards, including those of the Historic District. Such approvals relating to the Historic District standards shall be submitted in conjunction with the filing of the application for the exemption under this article.
This article shall take effect January 1, 2009, upon final passage, approval and publication as provided by law.