An Assembly panel on Thursday approved bipartisan legislation sponsored on the democratic side by Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Tim Eustace to provide tax relief to towns that are acquiring flood-prone homes through the state’s Blue Acres program.
“The homes being purchased by Blue Acres have been a burden to their towns after constant flooding and now they're coming off the tax rolls,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Towns should not be left on the hook to pay county and school taxes for a home that is no longer bringing in property taxes. This is a sensible way to help beleaguered homeowners and cash-strapped municipalities.”
“This is a simple solution to allow for towns to plan correctly for next year’s budget,” said Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Towns like Saddle Brook have dealt with enough flooding problems over the past few years. They should not have to pay the consequences of higher taxes due to a technicality while we attempt to alleviate the issue for them and others throughout New Jersey.”
The bill (A-3362) exempts certain properties acquired by municipalities after October 1 from county, school, and fire district taxes for the following tax year. In September, it was announced that Saddle Brook would receive $487,500 to assist with the purchase of eight flood-prone properties.
The funding comes from the state’s Blue Acres program, which helps provide for the acquisition of lands in the floodways of rivers, and their respective tributaries, for recreation and conservation purposes. Eligible flood prone properties are those that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage. Blue Acres acquisitions must be from willing sellers.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.