Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Group Opposes Special Tax District

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Group Opposes Special Tax District

Article excerpt

PATERSON - Several property owners are mounting opposition to a plan to create a special tax district in the South Paterson business area to pay for extra security and maintenance.

The group, led by a director of one of Paterson's most influential real estate firms, said it doesn't want to be part of the new tax district because members' industrial properties on Getty and Madison avenues have little in common with the retail businesses and restaurants on Main Street that are pushing the initiative.

Ekaterina Valiotis of Alma Reality called the irregular boundaries of the proposed district a "money grab" designed to include properties like her Getty Avenue warehouse to boost revenue for extra security and cleanup in the Main Street commercial area. "We've been put in the district for our high assessment values," Valiotis said.

But the consultant who wrote a study proposing the creation of the new district said Main Street property owners pushing for the initiative see the area around Getty and Madison avenues as part of the same community.

"Everybody should be working together to improve that area," said Stuart Koperweis of Millennium Strategies.

In a special improvement district, landowners pay a property tax surcharge to generate funds for programs that benefit the area. The City Council must approve the creation of such a district and approve its annual budget, which is crafted by representatives of the property owners.

Paterson already has two special improvement districts - one downtown and another in the Bunker Hill industrial section of the 4th Ward.

A third district was created in the Sandy Hill neighborhood south of the downtown, but the council has rejected its budget proposal, partly because of the extra taxes that would be imposed on residential properties.

In addition to the proposal for the new special improvement district in South Paterson, Koperweis also wrote a report recommending the creation of a district along the 21st Avenue business strip in the People's Park neighborhood. Koperweis has said that the two proposed districts would include about 150 properties each.

The council had been planning to vote on the two proposed districts in June, but complaints aired by some South Paterson property owners may delay that plan. …

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