Bloomfield officials this week approved a PILOT program for
a proposed self-storage business to open near the Hope Depot.
PILOTs, an acronym for Payment in Lieu of Taxes, have been under recent scrutiny from residents, with the topic coming up in critical comments in a number of public comments in meetings. Councilman Michael Venezia recently announced a Sept. 24 public forum on PILOTS to address concerns and questions.
Nonetheless, most officials favored the project, saying the township stood to benefit more from the PILOT than it would from tax payments.
The agreement calls for a five-year series of payments to Bloomfield where the township would receive phased in payments of $675,000, according to a developer’s estimate. Officials said the property currently has a $62,0000 annual tax bill.
“With the pilot program we’re making more than we would have done,” Tax Assessor Joseph Pisauro said. “And you’re still collecting on the land tax.”
Unlike a standard New Jersey property tax bill, which is apportioned to the municipality, the school district and the county, payments made through a PILOT go only to the municipality. Officials said that the storage facility wouldn’t burden the school system.
“It doesn’t affect the schools,” Township Administrator Ted Ehrenberg said at a Township Council meeting. “There’s a limited use of water supply. It’s in an area that if that wasn’t in there I don’t know what else would be used for it.”
Councilman Bernard Hamilton objected to using the PILOT program for a self storage business.
“I personally don’t want to see us extend this kind of service towards this kind of property,” Hamilton said.
He indicated he’d like Bloomfield apply PILOTS to more community-minded projects.
“We don’t have a recreation facility,” Hamilton said. “We don’t have public pool. I think if you’ve going to do a pilot of this magnitude we should take a good look at it.”
Both Mayor McCarthy and Councilman Nicholas Joanow noted that the property under consideration, 104 Orange St., had attracted little interest from developers.
“I’m not thrilled about giving away the pilot but at the end of the day if we can come out with revenue and no impact on those areas I will support this project,” Joanow said.
The council voted in favor of the PILOT with Hamilton providing the only dissenting vote.