SOME GOOD NEWS ON THE NEW JERSEY TRANSIT PROPOSED BUS MAINTENANCE FACILITY IN RIDGEFIELD PARK
Last year, the Village was suddenly faced with what some would call an INVASION of Ridgefield Park by New Jersey Transit. During the past 20 years, various proposals had been made to develop the 50+ acre site located just south of the Hampton Inn on Route 46 (the old Lincoln Paper site). Ultimately, a new development commonly referred to as the "Skymark" site had been approved by the Village Planning Board and was moving towards the first stages of development. Then, the developer experienced some financial reverses and the project halted. Suddenly, New Jersey Transit spied the site and decided that it would be a good location for its Northern New Jersey Bus Maintenance Facility.
With very little advanced warning to the Village, and little consideration for our interests, New Jersey Transit took ownership of 30 plus acres and notified the owner of the remaining parcel that they intended to that land as well. Upon completion of their first acquisition, their ownership of said property made the property TAX EXEMPT. The Village immediately suffered a loss of $1 million in real estate tax revenues. And we were faced with the continued loss of $1 million each year thereafter. Moreover, we would also lose all of the additional tax revenues that would have been generated with the new Skymark development.
More recently, the Village had a meeting with representatives of New Jersey Transit which was somewhat positive in that they have indicated that upon completion of their new bus maintenance facility, new income will flow to the Village as a result of a public-private partnership. However, that will be several years in the future. In the meantime, the Village will continue to lose $1 million for each year going forward.
TEMPORARY RESCUE FROM THE STATE
Through the efforts of our State Senator, Paul Sarlo, and Governor Phil Murphy, the State Legislature has included in this year's State Budget funding to assist Ridgefield Park in order to make up for the real estate tax shortfall for the years 2021 and 2022. THANK YOU TO GOVERNOR MURPHY AND SENATOR SARLO!
We recognize that this is a short term solution. But, it gives us and New Jersey Transit some breathing room to work towards a long term solution for the eventual construction of the NJ Transit bus maintenance facility in Ridgefield Park. We hope that the long term solution will provide the necessary revenues to the Village to make up for the loss of taxes that we would have otherwise collected for this property and its eventual development.
Mayor and Board of Commissioners