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Township of Lakewood, NJ
Ocean County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 24-1, Tax Exemption and Abatement, was readopted March 8, 2007 by Ordinance No. 2007-11 and shall remain in full force and effect for a period of 10 years. This section was readopted March 8, 2018 by Ord. No. 2018-7 and shall remain in effect for a period of 10 years pursuant to and in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:21-1.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.1; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
This section shall be known as the Township of Lakewood Tax Exemption and Abatement of Eligible Structures Ordinance.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.2; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
The purpose of this section is to provide for exemption from real property taxation of qualified improvements, and/or conversions, or for construction of qualified commercial or industrial structures located in an area hereinbefore designated, or hereinafter designated, by the Township Committee, as an area in need of rehabilitation as defined below.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.3; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
As used in this section:
ABATEMENT
Shall mean that portion of the assessed value of a property as it existed prior to construction, improvement or conversion of a building or structure thereon, which is exempted from taxation pursuant to this section.
AREA IN NEED OF REHABILITATION
Shall mean a portion or all of a municipality which has been determined to be an area in need of rehabilitation or redevelopment pursuant to the "Local Redevelopment and Housing Act," (P.L. 1992, c.79), a "blighted area" as determined pursuant to the "Blighted Areas Act," (P.L. 1949, c.187), or which has been determined to be in need of rehabilitation pursuant to P.L. 1975, c. 104, P.L. 1977, c.12, or P.L. 1979, c.233, or which is located in the "Urban Enterprise Zone" pursuant to P.L. 1983, c.303.
ASSESSOR
Shall mean the officer of the Township of Lakewood charged with the duty of assessing real property for the purpose of general taxation.
COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE
Shall mean a structure or part thereof used for the manufacturing, processing or assembling of material or manufactured products, or for research, office, industrial, commercial, retail, recreational, hotel or motel facilities, or warehousing purposes, or for any combination thereof, which the governing body determines will tend to maintain or provide gainful employment within the municipality, assist in the economic development of the municipality, maintain or increase the tax base of the municipality and maintain or diversify and expand commerce within the municipality. It shall not include any structure or part thereof used or to be used by any business relocated from another qualifying municipality unless: the total square footage of the floor area of the structure or part thereof used to be used by the business at the new site together with the total square footage of the land used or to be used by the business at the new site exceeds the total square footage of that utilized by the business at its current site of operations by at least 10%; and the property that the business is relocating to has been the subject of a remedial action plan costing in excess of $250,000 performed pursuant to an administrative consent order entered into pursuant to authority vested in the Commissioner of Environmental Protection under P.L. 1970, c.33 (C.13:1D-1 et seq.), the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L. 1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), the "Solid Waste Management Act," P.L. 1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-1 et seq.), and the "Spill Compensation and Control Act," P.L. 1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.).
COMPLETION
Shall mean substantially ready for the intended use for which a building or structure is constructed, improved or converted.
CONSTRUCTION
Shall mean 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.
CONVERSION OR CONVERSION ALTERATION
Shall mean the alteration or renovation of a building or structure in such manner as to convert the building or structure from its previous use to use as a commercial or industrial structure.
EXEMPTION
Shall mean that portion of the Assessor's full and true value of any improvement, conversion alteration, or construction not regarded as increasing the taxable value of a property pursuant to this section.
IMPROVEMENT
Shall mean 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 work, and which does not change its permitted use. In the case of a commercial or industrial structure, it shall not include ordinary painting, repairs and replacement of maintenance items, or an enlargement of the volume of an existing structure by more than 30%. 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 section.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.4; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1; Ord. No. 2009-41 § 1]
a. 
From and after the effective date of this section, any person, corporation, partnership or other legal entity owning property, which property is located in areas defined in subsection 24-1.2 herein, may make a claim for a five year tax exemption with respect to certain improvements allowable by N.J.S.A. 40A:21-1 et seq. for eligible structures so located by filing with the Tax Assessor within 30 days following the completion of the improvement an application form on file in the Office of the Tax Assessor in the Township of Lakewood Municipal Building. The application form shall be the form prescribed by the Director of the Division of Taxation, Department of the Treasury.
b. 
In rendering its decision, the Township Committee shall review the application to determine if it meets the following criteria:
1. 
The property is located in the designated areas.
2. 
The improvement and rehabilitation of the subject premises will tend to increase opportunities for employment and ultimately broaden the local tax base.
3. 
The improvement and rehabilitation will tend to induce improvement, construction and rehabilitation of industrial and/or commercial facilities in the area.
4. 
All other reasonable factors consonant with the legislative findings set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:21-1 et seq.
c. 
After approval for exemption, the Tax Assessor's full and true value of the improvements shall not be regarded as increasing the value of such property for a period of five years after their completion, notwithstanding that the value of the industrial and/or commercial structure 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, unless there is damage to the structure through action of the elements sufficient to warrant a reduction.
d. 
The granting of such exemption shall be recorded and made a permanent part of the official tax records of the Township, which record shall contain a notice of the termination date of the exemption and the consequences of transfer of title.
e. 
Within 30 days after the execution of a tax agreement, the Township Clerk shall forward a copy of the agreement to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs.
f. 
Every application shall be accompanied by a two hundred fifty ($250.00) dollar nonrefundable application fee to defray the costs associated with the application, including but not limited to public advertising and mailing costs. This fee shall be nonrefundable in the event that the application is denied or withdrawn.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.5; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1; Ord. No. 2009-41 § 2]
From and after the effective date of this section, any person, corporation, partnership or other legal entity may make a request for tax abatement for construction on, or conversion of property located in the designated areas, which construction or conversion qualifies as a "commercial or industrial structure" by filing with the Township Committee through the Township Tax Assessor an application in the form on file in the Assessor's office. Applicants are encouraged to file the application with the Township before the commencement of construction. The form of the application shall be in the form prescribed by the Director, Division of Taxation, Department of the Treasury and shall provide the following information:
a. 
A general description of the commercial or industrial structure for which abatement is sought;
b. 
A legal description of all real estate necessary for the commercial or industrial structure;
c. 
Plans, drawings and other documents as may be required by the governing body to demonstrate the structure and design of the commercial or industrial structure;
d. 
A description of the number, classes and type of employees to be employed at the commercial or industrial structure site within two years of completion of the commercial or industrial structure;
e. 
A statement of the reasons for seeking tax abatement on the commercial or industrial structure, and a description of the benefits to be realized by the applicant if tax abatement is granted;
f. 
Estimates of the cost of completing such commercial or industrial structures;
g. 
A statement showing: (1) the real property taxes currently being assessed, at the commercial or industrial structure site; (2) estimated tax payments that would be made annually by the applicant on the commercial or industrial structure during the period of tax abatement; and (3) estimated tax payments that would be made by the applicant on the commercial or industrial structure during the first full year following the termination of the tax abatement agreement;
h. 
A description of any lease agreements between the applicant and proposed users of the commercial or industrial structure, and a history and description of the user's businesses;
i. 
A detailed statement setting forth why the availability of the five year tax abatement is an essential inducement to the applicant to construct the commercial or industrial structure;
j. 
A detailed statement setting forth the alternatives available to the applicant if the five year tax abatement is not granted; and
k. 
Such other pertinent information as the governing body may require.
l. 
Every application for tax abatement pursuant to this subsection and every application for continuance of tax abatement pursuant to subsection 24-1.13 shall be accompanied by a two hundred fifty ($250.00) dollar nonrefundable application fee to defray the costs associated with the application, including but not limited to public advertising and mailing costs. This fee shall be nonrefundable in the event that the application is denied or withdrawn.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.6; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1; Ord. No. 2009-41 § 3]
a. 
After receipt of a properly completed application, and all required supporting materials for commercial or industrial structure tax abatement, the Township Clerk shall place the matter on the agenda for a decision by the Township Committee. If the application is granted, an ordinance shall be authorized directing that an agreement for tax abatement for the particular commercial or industrial structure be entered into by and between the applicant and the Township.
b. 
In determining whether or not to grant or deny an application for commercial or industrial structure tax abatement, the Township Committee shall be guided by the standards as set forth in subsection 24-1.4b.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.7; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1; Ord. No. 2011-32 § 1; Ord. No. 2017-18]
Upon adoption of an ordinance granting tax abatement for a particular commercial or industrial structure located in a designated area, the Township Committee may enter into an agreement with the applicant for the 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 to be computed by one, but in no case a combination, of the following formulas:
a. 
Cost Basis. The agreement may provide for the applicant to pay to the municipality in lieu of full property tax payments an annual amount equal to 2% of the cost of the commercial or industrial structure. For the purposes of the agreement, "the cost of the commercial or industrial structure" shall be defined as only the cost or fair market value of direct labor and all material used in construction, expansion or rehabilitation of all buildings, structures, and facilities at the commercial or industrial structure site, including the costs, if any, of land acquisition and land preparation, provision of access roads, utilities, drainage facilities, and parking facilities, together with architectural, engineering, legal, surveying, testing and contractor's fees associated with the commercial or industrial structure; provided that the applicant shall cause such costs to be certified and verified to the Governing Body by an independent and qualified architect, following the completion of the commercial or industrial structure.
b. 
Gross Revenue Basis. The agreement may provide for the applicant to pay to the municipality in lieu of full property tax payments an amount equal to 15% of the annual gross revenues from the commercial or industrial structure. For purposes of the agreement, "annual gross revenues" means the total annual gross rental and other income payable to the owner of the commercial or industrial structure from the commercial or industrial structure. If in any leasing, any real estate taxes or assessment on property included in the commercial or industrial structure, any premiums for fire or other insurance on or concerning property included in the commercial or industrial structure, 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.
c. 
Tax Phase-In Basis. The agreement may provide for the applicant to pay to the municipality in lieu of full property taxes an amount equal to a percentage of taxes otherwise due, according to the following schedule:
1. 
In the first full tax year after completion, no payment in lieu of taxes otherwise due;
2. 
In the second tax year, an amount not less than 20% of taxes otherwise due;
3. 
In the third tax year, an amount not less than 40% of taxes otherwise due;
4. 
In the fourth tax year, an amount not less than 60% of taxes otherwise due;
5. 
In the fifth tax year, an amount not less than 80% of taxes otherwise due.
d. 
No Appeal. The agreement shall provide that during the term that the agreement is in effect the applicant agrees not to file a tax appeal or in any way contest the assessed value of the land, or the value of any abated or non-abated improvements as set forth in the agreement.
e. 
Once an abatement is granted, all appropriate taxes and abatement charges must be maintained and be current. If taxes and abatement charges are not current, the holder of the abatement shall be given 30 days after notice to bring the taxes and abatement charges current. Failure to do so will result in an irrevocable forfeiture of the abatement.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.8; Ord. No. 2006-49 § 1; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
All tax abatement agreements entered into by the Township of Lakewood pursuant to the terms of this section shall require the applicant to obtain a building permit and commence construction of the commercial or industrial structure within three years from the date of the tax abatement agreement. At the conclusion of said three year period, any approval for exemption or abatement shall lapse, unless the applicant, on or before 60 days prior to said expiration date, files a written request for an extension and said extension request is granted by the Lakewood Township Committee.
All tax abatement agreements entered into by the Township of Lakewood pursuant to the terms of this section shall be in effect for a period of not more than five full years next following the date of completion of the commercial or industrial structure.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.9; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
All commercial or industrial structures subject to the agreements for tax abatement as provided herein shall be subject to all applicable Federal, State and local laws and regulations, including, but not limited to pollution control, worker safety, discrimination in employment, zoning, planning and building code requirements.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.10; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
That percentage which the payment in lieu of taxes for tax abated property bears to the property tax which would have been paid had an abatement not been granted for said property under the agreement shall be applied to the valuation of the property to be included in the valuation of the municipality for determining equalization for County tax apportionment and school aid during the term of the tax abatement agreements covering such properties, and at the termination of such an agreement for a property the reduced valuation procedure required under this section shall no longer apply.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.11; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
The abatement of real property taxes provided by the Township pursuant to this section shall apply to property taxes levied for municipal purposes, fire district purposes, school purposes, County government purposes and for the purposes of funding any other property tax exemptions or abatements on properties located in the designated areas.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.12; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
Within 30 days after the execution of a property tax abatement agreement as provided hereunder, the Township Clerk shall forward a copy of the agreement to the Director, Division of Local Government Services, Department of Community Affairs.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.13; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
a. 
If during any tax year prior to the termination of the tax agreement, the property owner ceases to operate or disposes of the property, or fails to meet the conditions for qualifying, then the tax which would have otherwise been payable for each tax year shall become due and payable from the property owner as if no exemption and abatement had been granted. The Governing Body of the municipality shall notify the property owner and Tax Collector forthwith and the Tax Collector shall within 15 days thereof notify the owner of the property of the amount of taxes due.
However, with respect to the disposal of the property, where it is determined that the new owner of the property will continue to use the property pursuant to the conditions which qualified the property, no tax shall be due, the exemption and abatement shall continue, and the agreement shall remain in effect.
b. 
At the termination of a tax agreement, a commercial or industrial structure shall be subject to all applicable real property taxes as provided by State law and regulation and local ordinance; but nothing herein shall prohibit a commercial or industrial structure, at the termination of an agreement, from qualifying for and receiving the full benefits of any other tax preferences provided by law.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.14; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
The Assessor shall determine, on October 1 of the year following the date of the completion of an improvement, conversion or construction, the true taxable value thereof. Except for property subject to tax agreement, the amount of tax to be paid for the first full tax year following completion shall be based on the assessed valuation of the property for the previous year, minus the amount of the abatement, if any, allowed pursuant to this section, plus any portion of the assessed valuation of the improvement, conversion or construction not allowed an exemption pursuant to this section. Subject to the provisions of the adopting ordinance, the property shall continue to be treated in the appropriate manner for each of the five full tax years subsequent to the original determination by the Assessor.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.15; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
Any additional improvement, conversion or construction, completed on a property granted a previous exemption or abatement pursuant to this section during the period in which such previous exemption or abatement is in effect, shall be qualified for an exemption, or exemption and abatement, just as if such property had not received a previous exemption or abatement. In such case, the additional 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 valuation of the property from which any additional abatement is to be subtracted.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.16; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
No exemption or abatement shall be granted, or tax agreement entered into, pursuant to this section with respect to any property for which taxes are delinquent or remain unpaid, or for which penalties for nonpayment of taxes are due.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.17; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
No exemption or abatement shall be granted pursuant to this section except upon written application filed with the Township Tax Assessor and approved by the Assessor and municipal governing body. Every application shall be on a form prescribed by the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury, and provided for the use of claimants by the Township of Lakewood, and shall be filed with the Assessor within 30 days, including Saturdays and Sundays, following completion of the improvement, conversion or construction. Every application for exemption or abatement, which is filed within the time specified, may be approved and allowed by the Governing Body to the degree that the application is consistent with the provisions of the adopting ordinance or the tax agreement, provided that the improvement, conversion or construction for which the application is made qualified as an improvement, conversion or construction pursuant to the provisions of this section and the tax agreement, if any. The granting of an exemption or abatement, or tax agreement shall be recorded and made a permanent part of the official tax records of the Township, which record shall contain a notice of the termination date thereof.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.18; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
The Township Tax Collector shall include a notice describing the exemption program or exemption and abatement program provided for by this section in the mailing of annual property bills to each owner of property located in the areas in which exemptions, or exemptions and abatements are allowed pursuant to this section during the first year following adoption of the section.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.19; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
The municipal governing body shall report, on or before October 1 of each year, to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs and to the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury the total amount of real property taxes exempted and the total amount abated in the municipality in the current tax year for each of the following:
a. 
Improvements or conversions to commercial and/or industrial structures;
b. 
Construction of commercial and/or industrial structures under tax agreements.
In the case of paragraph b above, the report shall state, instead, the total amount of payments made in lieu of taxes according to each formula utilized by the municipality, and the difference between that total amount and the total amount of real property taxes which would have been paid on the commercial or industrial structure had the tax agreement not been in effect, for the current tax year.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.20; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
Unless preempted by, or otherwise not in compliance with New Jersey State Tax Laws or Statutes, no exemption or abatement granted by any prior ordinances or law shall be affected or terminated by this section, but shall remain in effect for the time and under the terms granted as if the ordinance had not been superseded or repealed.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.21; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
If any subsection, part, phrase or provision of this section or the application thereof to any person, commercial or industrial structure or circumstances, be adjudged invalid by any Court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall be confined in its application to the subsection, part, phrase, provision or application directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of this section or the application thereof to other persons, commercial or industrial structures or circumstances.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.22; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
a. 
Statement of Purpose. The purpose of the inclusion of this subsection is to specifically define the guidelines for the granting of tax abatement in order to encourage industrial and commercial growth in a systematic and orderly fashion in accordance with the Township Master Plan.
Tax abatement may be granted at the discretion of the Township Committee, which, after weighing all of the pertinent facts, shall make a decision giving proper weight to those areas which may not properly develop without the assistance of tax abatement.
b. 
Additional Criteria.
1. 
Location. Industrial and commercial structures located in a designated area as previously set forth in subsection 24-1.2 are eligible for tax abatement.
2. 
Time. Applications for tax abatement must be filed with the Township Tax Assessor within 30 days, including Saturdays and Sundays, following completion of the improvement, conversion, alteration or construction. Failure to meet this criterion will result in automatic denial of the application.
[Ord. No. 98-54 § 21.23; Ord. No. 2007-11 § 1]
This section is retroactive to January 18, 1994, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:21-1 et seq., P.L. 1991, c.441. All exemptions and abatements, and all tax agreements that have been entered into since that date are hereby deemed by the Township Committee to be valid and are continued under this section, unless preempted by or otherwise not in compliance with New Jersey State Tax Laws or Statutes. All exemptions and abatements, and all tax agreements entered into prior to January 18, 1994 are also continued, to the extent that all such abatements and exemptions, and all such tax agreements have not expired or terminated. Exemptions and abatements granted, and tax agreements entered into subsequent to the effective date of this section, shall be effective commencing the first full tax year after approval, and for tax years thereafter.
[Ord. No. 2010-30 § 1]
It is the purpose of this section to implement the provisions of P.L. 2003, c. 114, which authorizes the governing body of a municipality to adopt an ordinance imposing a tax at a uniform percentage rate not to exceed 3% on charges of rent for every occupancy on or after July 1, 2004, of a room or rooms in a hotel subject to taxation pursuant to subsection (d) of section 3 of P.L. 1966, c. 40 (N.J.S.A. 54:32B-3) which shall be in addition to any other tax or fee imposed pursuant to statute or local ordinance or resolution by any governmental entity upon the occupancy of a hotel room.
[Ord. No. 2010-30 § 1]
There is hereby established a Hotel and Motel Room Occupancy Tax in the Township of Lakewood which shall be fixed at a uniform percentage rate of 2% on charges or rent for every occupancy of a hotel or motel room in the Township of Lakewood of a room or rooms in a hotel subject to taxation pursuant to subsection (d) of section 3 of P.L. 1966, c. 40, N.J.S.A. 54:32B-3 (sales tax). The Hotel and Motel Room Occupancy Tax shall be in addition to any other tax or fee imposed pursuant to statute or local ordinance or resolution by any governmental entity upon the occupancy of a hotel room.
[Ord. No. 2010-30 § 1]
The Hotel and Motel Room Occupancy Tax authorized herein shall not be imposed on the rent for an occupancy if the purchaser, user or consumer is an entity exempt from the tax imposed on an occupancy under the "Sales and Use Tax Act" pursuant to subsection (a) of section 9 of P.L. 1966, c.30 (C.54:32B-9).
[Ord. No. 2010-30 § 1]
In accordance with the requirements of P.L. 2003, c.114:
a. 
All taxes imposed by this section shall be paid by the purchaser.
b. 
A vendor shall not assume or absorb any tax imposed by this section.
c. 
A vendor shall not in any manner advertise or hold out to any person or to the public in general, in any manner, directly or indirectly, that the tax will be assumed or absorbed by the vendor, that the tax will not be separately charged and stated to the customer, or that the tax will be refunded to the customer.
d. 
Each assumption or absorption by a vendor of the tax shall be deemed a separate offense and each representation or advertisement by a vendor for each day that the representation or advertisement continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
e. 
The tax imposed by this section shall be collected on behalf of the Township by the person collecting the rent from the hotel or motel customer. Each person required to collect the tax herein imposed shall be personally liable for the tax imposed, collected or required to be collected hereunder. Any such person shall have the same right in respect to collecting the tax from a customer as if the tax were a part of the rent and payable at the same time; provided that the Chief Financial Officer of the Township shall be joined as a party in any action or proceeding brought to collect the tax.
[Ord. No. 2010-30 § 1]
Any person violating the terms of this section, whether as principal, agent or employee of another, shall, upon conviction in the Municipal Court of the Township of Lakewood in the County of Ocean, be subject to the penalties as provided in Chapter 1, Section 1-5, General Penalty, in the discretion of the Judge of the Municipal Court of the Township of Lakewood.
[Ord. No. 2015-16; Ord. No. 2017-23 § 1]
When used in this section, the following terms shall be defined as indicated:
ABATEMENT (OR TAX ABATEMENT OR EXEMPTION OR TAX EXEMPTION)
Shall mean the exemption of property from real estate taxes, subject to the payment of an annual service charge in lieu of taxes, authorized pursuant to the provisions of the Long Term Tax Exemption Law, (N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1 et seq.). Where an abatement or exemption is authorized pursuant to the provision of the Long Term Tax Exemption Law, real estate taxes levied on the value of land shall continue to be assessed for the purpose of general taxation, except as otherwise provided by State statute.
ACT
Shall mean the Long Term Tax Exemption Law (C.40A:20-1 et seq.).
AGREEMENT (OR FINANCIAL AGREEMENT)
Shall mean the contract entered into between the Township of Lakewood and an entity, pursuant to the Act.
APPLICATION
Shall mean the information and data required to be submitted by an entity requesting an abatement or exemption as required by the Township.
CERTIFIED AUDIT
Shall mean a financial statement or report of the fiscal operations of a project, including but not limited to revenues and expenses, which shall be submitted annually pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:20-9(d). The contents of an audit shall be prepared in a manner consistent with the current standards of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, shall fully detail all items required by applicable statutes, and shall be certified as to its conformance with such standards by a Certified Public Accountant who is licensed to practice that profession in the State of New Jersey.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Shall mean the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Lakewood.
ENTITY
Shall mean an urban renewal entity meeting the qualifications set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:20-5.
INDUSTRIAL PROJECT
Shall mean:
a. 
A combination of land, improvement and equipment which have been integrated into a functioning unit intended for the assembling, processing and manufacturing of finished or partially finished products from raw materials or fabricated parts but shall not include warehouses; and
b. 
Where the Township Committee determines that the project will maintain or provide gainful employment within the Township, assist in the economic development of the Township, maintain or increase the tax base of the Township and maintain or diversify and expand commerce within the Township.
PILOT REVIEW PROFESSIONAL
Shall mean accountants and auditors that are specifically retained by the Township of Lakewood pursuant to proposals from such licensed professionals for the purposes of reviewing long tax exemption applications.
PROJECT
Shall mean the work or undertaking which has as its purpose the redevelopment of all or any part of a redevelopment area, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:20-3(e).
PRONOUNS.
He or it shall mean the masculine, feminine or neuter gender, the singular as well as the plural, as proper meaning requires.
PROPERTY
Shall mean the real property and improvements thereon which existed prior to the execution of a financial agreement.
TAX ASSESSOR
Shall mean the Assessor for the Township of Lakewood.
TOWNSHIP
Shall mean the Township of Lakewood, New Jersey.
TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE
Shall mean the Township Committee of the Township of Lakewood, New Jersey.
[Ord. No. 2015-16]
This section sets forth the procedures to be followed by the Township in the review and consideration of applications for abatement or exemption of real estate taxes, and the administration of financial agreements authorized by the Township Committee. This section is intended to apply to residential, industrial and commercial projects. Should there be any conflicting provisions in this section with the provisions of the State of New Jersey Long Term Tax Exemption Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1 et seq., the provision of the Long Term Tax Exemption Law will be controlling. N.J.S.A. 40A:20-12 shall govern permissible annual service charge amounts and permissible durations of any long term tax exemption or abatement. However, this section does not commit or require the Township to approve any application submitted in accordance herewith. In considering each application, the Township shall consider, in part, the benefits of the development project for the Township and the impact of any tax abatement and/or exemption requested on the budget of the Township.
[Ord. No. 2015-16; Ord. No. 2017-23 § 2]
a. 
Form of Application. All applications shall be submitted by an entity utilizing the application form on file with the Office of the Township Clerk. The application form may be revised from time to time. An application shall include but not be limited to: identification of the property by metes and bounds, tax map block and lots and corresponding street address for which the exemption is sought, including a survey or plotting from the tax map, the requested duration of the exemption, the purpose for which the project shall be used, a detailed description of the improvements to be made to the property, an estimate of the total project cost or total project unit cost, where applicable, as defined by the Act, a 10 year projected pro forma for the project, an estimated schedule for commencement and completion of construction, a copy of the resolution granting final site plan approval, and a declaration that the proposed project is located within a redevelopment area or area appurtenant thereto an Urban Enterprise Zone, or is for a redevelopment relocation housing project and any other information which the application may require.
In addition, the application shall set forth the representations of the entity as to the assessments on the property for land and improvements as of the date of the filing of the application, the tax levy on the property for the year in which the application is filed, and the status of all municipal taxes, fees and charges due and payable to the Township arising from or imposed on the property. A complete explanation as to the expected methods and sources of financing the project shall also be included.
The application shall further contain statements of disclosure in the form contained in the application as to all parties, including parent and subsidiary companies having any interest in the property and/or project, or any other tax exemption or financial agreement then in force and effect in which any of those parties have any interest, and as to any other contracts or agreements with the Township in which any of those parties have any interest, and if so, provide the Federal Identification Number of each party listed.
The application shall contain the certification of the entity that contraction of the project has not and will not commence prior to approval of exemption and execution of financial agreement between the Township and the entity.
The application shall also include an estimate by the entity as to the number and type of jobs to be created by the project during the period of construction and the number and type of permanent jobs to be created by the project within one year after the completion date. The application shall contain the affirmative action plan of the entity and a certification by the entity that such plan complies with the affirmative action requirements of the Township.
The application shall also include the certification of the entity that the proposed project meets the requirements of the laws of New Jersey for exemption. Where a property is required to be declared "in need of redevelopment" by the Township and a redevelopment plan is required to be adopted by the Township as a prerequisite to the grant of an exemption, the entity shall further certify that the proposed project complies with the redevelopment plan as adopted.
The application shall also include a proposed financial agreement prepared by the entity, which shall include at minimum the terms and conditions required by the Act.
Seven copies of an application shall be submitted with all copies executed in the original by an authorized agent or officer of the entity. Where the entity is a corporation or company, the signature on the application shall be certified as to its authenticity and authority by the submission of a notarized corporate or company resolution, affixed with the seal of the corporation or company and the signature of the secretary of the corporation of company, or similar bona fide evidence.
b. 
Application Fee. No application for abatement or exemption submitted pursuant to this section shall be accepted unless it is accompanied by full payment of the required application fee. Such fees shall include a payment of $5,000.00 specifically earmarked for the retention of the services of a PILOT Review Professional, and $2,000.00 for each application requested. The application fee shall be received for processing the application. Further, the administrative fee for processing a request for the assignment and assumption of a tax exemption and financial agreement shall be 2% of the annual service charge for the current year. Checks shall be certified and payable to the Township. The application fee shall be nonrefundable.
c. 
Submission. All applications for abatement or exemption shall be submitted to the Township Manager either in person or by certified mail, at his office.
[Ord. No. 2015-16; Ord. No. 2017-23 § 3]
a. 
Distribution of Application. Upon receipt of any application, the Township Manager shall forward one copy of the application to the Executive Director of Economic Development, one copy to the PILOT Review Professional, one copy to the Tax Assessor, one copy to the Tax Collector, one copy to the Township Clerk and one copy to the Township Attorney. The final copy of the application shall be retained by the Township Manager and shall be placed on permanent file with that office.
b. 
Development Review. Upon receipt of an application, the Executive Director of Economic Development shall conduct a complete review of the project outlined therein. Such review shall take into consideration the propriety, accuracy and validity of the description(s), plan(s) and estimate(s) submitted, the degree to which the project complies with the Township's development goals as expressed in the master plan, zoning ordinances, redevelopment plans, the necessity of tax abatement, and the feasibility of the project.
Based on the review, the Executive Director of Economic Development shall submit his recommendation to approve or disapprove the application. Such recommendation shall include any changes to the application that may be deemed necessary by the Executive Director of Economic Development, as well as set forth the reasons for the recommendation.
c. 
Financial Review. Upon receipt of an application the PILOT Review Professional shall conduct a financial review of the application including a cost and benefit analysis of the proposed project. In addition, the PILOT Review Professional shall obtain written certifications from municipal officials as necessary to review and substantiate the information contained within the application. Those certifications shall include the following:
1. 
Certification of the Tax Assessor as to:
(a) 
The taxes levied on the real property included within the project in both the year in which the application was filed and the immediately preceding year.
(b) 
The precise identification of all real property included within the project, including the metes and bounds description, all tax block and lot designations and corresponding street addresses, as well as a survey or plotting of the property on the official tax map.
(c) 
The owner of record as recorded in the office for each tax lot included within the project.
(d) 
The tax assessment for land and improvements then in effect for each tax lot included within the project.
(e) 
The total amount assessed on all real property included within the project in the calendar year immediately preceding its acquisition by the Township, the Township's agent, the entity or the entity's agent.
2. 
Certification of the Tax Collector as to:
(a) 
The current status of payments due for real estate tax services charges and/or municipal liens of any type arising from the property included within the project or from any other property owned by the entity.
(b) 
The taxes levied on the real property included within the project in both the year in which the application was filed and the immediately preceding year.
(c) 
The current status of payments due for any financial agreement then in force and effect which the entity is a party.
The PILOT Review Professional, Tax Assessor and Tax Collector shall submit their findings along with the recommendation to the Township Manager. Such recommendation shall state the basis or reasons supporting their recommendation.
d. 
Legal Review. Upon receipt of an application, the Township Attorney shall conduct a review as to the form and legality of the application. In addition, the Township Attorney shall obtain written certifications from municipal officials as necessary to substantiate the information contained in the application.
At a minimum, such certifications shall include the following:
1. 
The certifications provided in paragraph c above.
2. 
Certifications of the Secretary of the Board of Adjustment identifying whether the use proposed for the project conforms to the Zoning Ordinance of the Township.
3. 
Certification of the Secretary of the Planning Board, if applicable, identifying whether the project is located within a redevelopment area and/or Urban Enterprise Zone and identifying whether the project has received final site plan approval from the Planning Board.
The PILOT Review Professional shall also review any financial agreements then in force and effect to determine the extent to which each party to the application is a party to any other agreements with the Township and whether they are current on their obligations in those agreements.
Upon receipt of the aforesaid certifications and the review thereof, the Township Attorney shall make a determination as to the propriety of the application. Applications shall be deemed proper in those cases where they are presented in the property form, satisfy the requirements of this section and all other applicable statutes and ordinances, and for which no delinquency has been found with respect to any payments due to the Township.
Where an application is deemed proper, the Township Attorney shall prepare an ordinance in the form necessary to authorize the exemption and shall review, revise and modify the form of the financial agreement, as appropriate.
Where an application is deemed improper or deficient, the Township Attorney shall prepare a correspondence outlining those aspects of the application that are deficient and shall forward the correspondence with the application, the certifications and the recommendation of the PILOT Review Professional and the Executive Director of Economic Development to the Township Committee for consideration.
e. 
Township Committee Consideration. Upon receipt of an ordinance to authorize a financial agreement, the application together with all of the documents which were submitted by the applicant, the certifications and review required by this section, the Township Committee shall place the application on its agenda for consideration. Upon action by the Township Committee, an ordinance may be adopted, rejected or returned to Administration for correction, modification or further information. Notice of the adoption of an ordinance granting exemption and approving a financial agreement shall be published, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:20-12.
[Ord. No. 2015-16]
a. 
Form of Financial Agreement. A financial agreement shall be in the form appropriate to the nature of the project approved by the Township Committee. The financial agreements shall at a minimum set forth the identification of the affected property, the nature and magnitude of the improvements to be constructed or developed thereon, the service charges to be paid to the Township and the conditions thereof, the duration of the exemption and the grounds for termination of the exemption. The financial agreement shall in all cases provide that any transfer in the ownership of an entity that is greater than 10% or that would materially change the terms of the financial agreement shall be void unless disclosed to the Township in an annual disclosure statement or in correspondence sent to the Township in advance of an annual disclosure. The financial agreement shall require the timely submission of a certified audit of the total project cost and a certified audit of the fiscal operations of the project, and shall require timely payment of all municipal taxes, fees and charges arising out of the agreement or in any way arising out of the property. The financial agreement shall provide that the failure to comply with the requirement to submit certified audits, make payment of municipal taxes, fees and charges, or failure to comply with any material condition of the agreement, shall be grounds for the Township to terminate the agreement, and/or to exercise such other remedies as may be provided by statute, municipal ordinance or the financial agreement.
The financial agreement shall further provide for the reconciliation of the estimated annual service charges and administrative fees that are to be paid to the Township, based on the submission of a certified audit.
b. 
Execution of Financial Agreement. Upon adoption of an ordinance by the Township Committee authorizing exemption, it shall be the responsibility of the Township Clerk to insure that the financial agreement is fully executed. No financial agreement shall be considered to be in force and effect unless and until it has been signed by the entity, the Mayor or Deputy Mayor, and dated and certified by the Township Clerk by his or her signature and affixing the Municipal Seal.
c. 
Distribution of Executed Financial Agreement. When a financial agreement has been fully executed, the Township Clerk shall be responsible for distributing certified copies thereof to the entity, the Tax Assessor, the Tax Collector, the Construction Code Official and the Township Attorney. The Township Clerk shall retain one executed copy which shall be placed on permanent file with this office, where it shall be available for examination during regular business hours. Further, the Township Clerk shall forward a certified copy of all ordinances approving an exemption and the accompanying Financial Agreement to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:20-2.
[Ord. No. 2015-16]
During the period of construction of a project, the Tax Assessor and the Construction Code Official shall each be responsible for oversight of the project as outlined below.
a. 
Permits and Inspections. Upon receipt of an executed financial agreement, the Construction Code Official shall cause permits to be issued upon the application of the entity and shall cause inspections of all work activity to be conducted in the manner provided by applicable municipal ordinances. The Construction Code Official shall notify the Township Manager of any failure by the entity to properly apply for permits, to begin or complete construction within the time frame set forth in the financial agreement. When permits are issued, the Construction Code Official shall be responsible for notifying the Tax Assessor, Tax Collector and the Township Manager of such issuance.
b. 
Quarterly Report to Assessment. From the date of the execution of a financial agreement until the issuance of a permanent certificate of occupancy for the project, the Construction Code Official shall report to the Tax Assessor each quarter as to the status of permit and construction activity on the project. Upon the total or partial completion of construction, the Construction Code Official shall issue a certificate of occupancy in appropriate form, and shall be responsible for filing a copy of every certificate with the Tax Assessor, Tax Collector and the Township Manager.
c. 
Assessments and Taxes. When a permanent certificate of occupancy is issued for a project granted exemption pursuant to the Act, the Tax Assessor shall reflect the improvements and the land thereof, as authorized, on the Exempt Property List or as otherwise required by State statute. Further, the Tax Assessor shall exempt the assessment of all improvements covered by the financial agreement during the period the exemption remains in effect. Assessments for land shall remain taxable throughout the term of the exemption, except as otherwise provided.
At any time that the Tax Assessor causes the assessment of the improvements or land of a project to be removed, in whole or in part, from taxable to exempt status, he shall so notify the Tax Collector in writing so as to insure the commencement and payment of annual services charges, pursuant to the terms of the financial agreement.
d. 
Collection and Audit. Upon receipt of an executed financial agreement, the Division of Revenue Collection shall note within its books of account a record of the execution of the agreement and the dates provide for commencement and completion of construction. The Tax Collector shall thereafter continue to levy taxes and collect payment thereof on the property until the occurrence of the following:
1. 
In the event that a certificate of occupancy is issued for the project, the Tax Collector shall immediately cease to levy or collect taxes on the portion of the assessed value covered by the certificate of occupancy and shall instead commence billing the entity the estimate annual service charge as required by the financial agreement. Where the financial agreement is authorized pursuant to the Act, taxes on the value of the land shall continue to be levied and collected according to the laws of New Jersey, except as otherwise authorized.
When a certificate of occupancy for a project is issued, in addition to the steps outlined above, the entity shall submit to the Chief Financial Officer, Tax Collector and the Township Clerk a copy of a certified total project cost audit prepared by a certified public accountant and the independent and qualified architect's certification required by the Act, within 90 days from the date of issuance of the certificate of occupancy.
The Chief Financial Officer shall review the certified total project cost audit and the architect's certification and make a determination as to the acceptability of the audit. If the audit is deemed unacceptable it may be performed by the Township's designed auditor and the cost thereof shall be borne by the entity. The Township shall bill the entity for the cost of the audit. Once the audit is accepted, if its findings cause any change in the basis to be used in the determination of the annual service charge, net profit or excess profits, the Township shall bill the entity for any adjustment. The Chief Financial Officer shall also maintain a copy of an approved certified total project cost audit with the permanent files of the Department of Finance office.
Upon adoption of an ordinance authorizing amendment to the financial agreement, the Township shall bill the entity for the cost of the audit services and for any additional service charges resulting from an adjustment of the estimate service charges, and thereafter annual services charges or excess profits, if owed, shall be billed to the entity. The Township Clerk shall be responsible for distributing and filing executed copies of the financial agreement, as amended, in the same manner as set forth in subsection 24-3.5c of this section.
2. 
In the event that the entity fails to commence or complete construction of the project within the time required by the financial agreement, fails to make payment of annual service charges as required by the agreement, or otherwise fails to satisfy a material condition of the agreement, the Township shall thereupon take steps necessary to terminate the financial agreement and to advise the Tax Assessor and the Tax Collector of the actions to be taken regarding the assessment and collection of real estate taxes. The Township adopt an ordinance necessary to authorize the termination of the financial agreement. Upon adoption of such an ordinance, the Township Clerk shall be responsible for filing and distributing the ordinance in accordance with the procedures established by subsection 24-3.5c of this section.
[Ord. No. 2015-16]
After construction of the project is completed and the issuance of a permanent certificate of occupancy, the entity shall operate the project in conformance with the terms of the financial agreement. The Department of Finance shall be responsible for oversight and administration of the financial agreement during the term of the exemption, in accordance with the procedures set forth as follows:
a. 
Billing and Payment. During the term of an exemption, the Tax Collector shall bill service charges quarterly. The bills prepared by the Department of Finance shall reflect the taxes due on the value of all land included within the project and all service charges, or other fees or charges due on the improvements, respectively. If authorized by law, the land upon which housing is constructed, acquired or rehabilitated by an entity, may be exempt from taxation during the term of the financial agreement. Irrespective of the date of issuance, any bill for annual service charges or other municipal charges shall be deemed to have been issued on the first day of each calendar quarter and to be due and payable within 30 calendar days thereafter. Where annual service charges are billed on the basis of estimated or projected figures, any payments thereof shall be reconciled upon the submission of a certified audit. In such instance, the entity shall make any additional or required payments within 90 days after the close of its fiscal year. Any additional payment by an entity shall be submitted along with a statement by a certified public accountant, attesting that the additional payment was the actual amount due based upon the gross revenue or total project cost as computed in accordance with provision of the act and the financial agreement.
All payments due to the Township arising out of the financial agreement which are not paid as of the date due shall be subject to the same charges for penalties and interest as arrears then in effect for nonpayment of real estate taxes.
The Department of Finance shall accept all payments made pursuant to an effect and valid financial agreement and shall maintain books of account as to each agreement. Except as otherwise required by law, the Department of Finance shall apply payments received for real estate taxes in the following order: first, amounts due for penalties and interest on taxes, and then amounts due for the principal of tax payments. As to payments received for service charges, first, amounts due for penalties and interest, and then, amounts due for the principal of service charges directs to the Department of Finance.
In addition to payment of the annual service charge an entity shall be required to pay an annual administrative fee to the Township. The requirement to pay an annual administrative fee shall be included as a covenant in all deeds to a purchaser or transferee of a project or unit owner thereof. The annual administrative fee shall be 2% of the annual service charge payable and due on or before February 1st of each year. In the event of an entity or owner of a property granted exemption pursuant to the Act does not pay the annual administrative fee, such delinquency shall be grounds for rescission or termination of the exemption.
b. 
Annual Audits. Where required by the Act, other applicable law or by the financial agreement, an entity shall submit a certified audit prepared by a certified public accountant of the financial performance of the project. A certified audit shall be submitted each year within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year of the entity to the Department of Finance with a simultaneous copy to the Township Clerk for archival purposes. As part of or in addition to the submission of a certified audit, the entity shall submit a statement prepared by a certified public accountant attesting to the net profits and the percentage of excess profits utilized to maintain reserves authorized pursuant to the provisions of the Act. The Department of Finance shall review each audit upon submission and make a determination as to any adjustment required in the annual service charge, net profit and/or excess profits.
The certified audit shall be submitted to the Chief Financial Officer for review. If the Chief Financial Officer determines that an audit is acceptable, it shall be used as the basis for the adjustments of any taxes, charges or fees outlined in paragraph a of this subsection. If it is determined that a certified audit is not acceptable, the Department of Finance shall notify the entity, and the entity shall have responsibility to cure the deficiencies identified and to submit a corrected or restated audit. As part of the audit process, in the event that the certified audit is determined to be unacceptable, the entity shall have responsibility for the payment of a fee to offset the Township's cost for review of the certified audit. This fee shall be billed by the Department of Finance as part of the annual service charge and shall be payable under the same terms as that charge.
c. 
Noncompliance. If an entity fails to comply with the requirements for submission of a certified audit and/or timely payment of real estate taxes and service charges during the term of the financial agreement, the Department of Finance shall have responsibility to enforce the terms of the financial agreement through the following procedure. Such procedure shall not be the Township's sole remedy, but rather shall be used in addition to such other remedies as may be provided by the laws of New Jersey and the terms of the financial agreement.
1. 
In the case where any payment due to the Township pursuant to a financial agreement, whether arising from real estate taxes or service charges is in arrears for a period of six months or more, the Department of Finance shall notify the entity or responsible party that unless the total amount due including penalties and interest and subsequent charges are brought to current status within a period of 30 days from the date of the notification, the exemption and financial agreement shall be rescinded. If the entity fails to comply with such notice, the Department of Finance shall recommend that to the Township Committee that an ordinance rescinding the exemption and financial agreement be adopted, and shall notify the Tax Assessor of the pending action.
Where an exemption and financial agreement is rescinded, the entity shall have 30 calendar days to seek reinstatement of the exemption and financial agreement, which shall only be permitted when all obligations of the entity or person receiving the benefit of an exemption are satisfied and made current. Upon satisfaction of all obligations, the Department of Finance shall recommend to the Township Committee that an ordinance be prepared to reinstate the exemption and financial agreement for the remainder of its term.
It shall be the responsibility of the Township Clerk to file and distribute copies of all ordinances to rescind or reinstate an exemption and financial agreement.
2. 
In the event of any nonpayment as outlined in paragraph c1 of this subsection, in addition to the remedies outlined therein, the entity by signing the financial agreement agrees that the Township shall have the same rights to enforce liens and commence foreclosure proceedings against its project as though the nonpayment were real estate taxes. The Township may exercise such rights by following the procedures established by State statue and local ordinances for the collection of delinquent real estate taxes.
3. 
Where any certified audit required to be submitted pursuant to a financial agreement is delinquent for a period of 30 days or more from the date required to be submitted, the Department of Finance shall notify the entity that unless the audit submitted in proper form within 30 days from the date of notification, the exemption and financial agreement shall be rescinded. If the entity fails to comply with the notice, the Division of Revenue Collection shall recommend to the Township Committee that an ordinance rescinding the exemption and financial agreement, be adopted which shall cause the project or unit thereof to be assessed according to the general laws of taxation.
Where an exemption or financial agreement is rescinded the remaining procedure shall be the same as set forth in paragraph c1 of this subsection. However, the Township, at its option may choose not to exercise its right to rescind or terminate, but instead cause an equivalent audit to be conducted by qualified personnel under the Township's direction. Where this option is elected, the Township shall utilize the resulting audit as the basis for billing as if it had been submitted by the entity. Further, the Township shall have the right to bill the entity for the cost of conducting an audit. Exercise of this option by the Township shall not in any way preclude or waive the right of the Township to terminate an exemption for any other default.
4. 
Where an entity or other person fails to comply with any other material condition of a financial agreement, the Department of Finance shall notify the Township of the default. The Township shall thereupon take appropriate steps necessary to declare the exemption and financial agreement void or take such other legal or equitable action.
[Ord. No. 2015-16]
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, an exemption shall be granted for the following projects:
a. 
Construction or development of a residential project consisting of five or more units and not exceeding a period of 30 years;
b. 
Construction or development of an industrial project not to exceed a period of 30 years; and
c. 
Construction or development of a commercial project not to exceed a period of 30 years.
[Ord. No. 2015-16]
During the terms of an exemption, in lieu of any taxes to be paid on the project improvements, buildings or land, as authorized by law, an entity shall make payment to the Township of an annual service charge. The annual service charge required to be paid by the entity shall be in accordance with the following:
a. 
The annual service charge for low and moderate income housing projects shall not be greater than 15% of the annual gross revenues generated from the operation of such projects.
b. 
The minimum annual service charge for all other housing projects shall not be less than 10% of the annual gross revenues generated from the operation of such projects.
c. 
The minimum annual service charge for commercial and industrial projects shall not be less than ten (10%) of the annual gross revenues generated from the operation of such projects.
d. 
Where annual gross revenues cannot be reasonably determined because of the nature of the development, ownership, use of occupancy of a project, the annual service charge may be calculated on the basis of the total project cost or total project unit cost. However, the annual service charge for low and moderate income housing projects shall not be greater than 2% of the total project cost or total project unit cost. For all other housing projects the annual service charge shall be not less than 2% of total project costs or total project unit costs. For industrial and commercial projects the annual service charge shall not be less than two (2%) of total project costs or total project unit costs.
However, this section does not commit or require the Township to approve any application submitted in accordance herewith. In considering each application, the Township shall consider, in part, the benefits of the development project for the Township and the impact of any tax abatement and/or exemption requested on the budget of the Township.