Belmar eyes the downside of tax abatements

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BELMAR — School district and borough officials are in talks about changing the borough’s approach to future development agreements which, school officials say, have led to a shortfall in tax revenues.

Payment in lieu of taxes [PILOT] agreements are agreements that municipalities sign with developers in order to encourage development in an area that is seen as in need of redevelopment. Instead, they pay an annual service charge to the borough.

These agreements give developers a tax abatement on their overall local tax bill, often resulting in school and county governments receiving less in funding than they otherwise would.

According to Superintendent David Hallman, tax revenue from these agreements do not go to the district at a time when the district is desperate for more revenue. 

“It’s just us saying to the town we would like them to consider the school when they are looking at PILOT [agreements],” Mr. Hallman said. 

“They have had agreements in the past where [developers] don’t have to pay school taxes for a number of years and how that could negatively affect both the school and the taxpayers.

“We are just asking the mayor to talk to us when they make those decisions, but obviously they don’t have to do that, so we are just asking them to consider us.”

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