Will Teterboro be broken up?
By Jennifer Vazquez / Reporter
TETERBORO (Dec. 2, 2010) — Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-38) introduced new legislation Nov. 12 that looks to address the concerns that the business community has regarding the ongoing efforts of merging not only Teterboro, but other localities throughout the state.
In an interview with The Leader, Wagner said the plan is meant to complement the previously introduced consolidation legislation that aims to merge municipalities, like Teterboro, with neighboring towns for cost-efficient purposes.
The newly introduced legislation will protect businesses from the inevitable tax increases that would come as a result of a merger, according to Wagner.
“If two towns or three towns consolidated, the town that you are in would be the rate that would still be in effect,” Wagner said. “It’s making a general statement to pave the way for consolidation … the same thing we promised residential homeowners will now apply to businesses.”
This legislation came about when Wagner saw how local businesses grew concerned over consolidation because of the non-residential tax hikes that would have likely come into play.
Wagner’s Chief of Staff Chris Hillman offered further details.
“A3539 was introduced today (Nov. 22) and will be referenced to a committee when we return to Trenton in December,” he stated in the e-mail. “The bill, which will amend current law which allows for residential property tax relief in the case of consolidation, will add some non-residential properties to current laws put on the books in 2007. Vacant land would not be considered for tax relief unless it is in the process of being built.”
Wagner is a sponsor and strong supporter of a plan that will split up Teterboro, a community of little more than 1-square-mile and with a number of residents that barely reaches 100.
The municipality would be shared among four neighboring towns: South Hackensack, Little Ferry, Moonachie and Hasbrouck Heights. Portions of South Hackensack may meet the same fate in the land legislation, with extra land going to Wood-Ridge.
Though the consolidation plan has received much criticism, especially from those who feel their local identity will be stolen by merging with neighboring municipalities, Wagner fully stands firm backing the measure.
“I honestly think our voters don’t want to lose the identity of their towns,” Wagner said. “But they are also struggling with property tax relief. … I don’t think (they are losing their identity) because your town and your neighborhood is your town and your neighborhood. I think people are looking for what is the most efficient way of delivering government services.”
Adding, in a press release, the assemblywoman stated that “if we cannot find a sensible way to consolidate a tiny place with a handful of residents such as Teterboro, then we have little hope of promoting local government efficiency throughout the rest of New Jersey.”