No middle

Dear Editor:
If any property owner falls behind either in their taxes or water bills the city sells their liens and their property will be foreclosed with no exceptions. Unless of course you got a sweetheart deal that the city council gave Bramhall Urban Renewal recently. Originally, Bramball received a 30-year tax abatement in 1999 which required the payment of 15 percent to the city for affordable housing seventeen years ago.
Today, the Fulop administration has been more generous with affordable housing, instead of collecting 15 percent, the city is now charging 6.28 percent for new construction. Whether it is 6.28 percent or 15 percent, the tenants in the apartments still pay one third of their income in rent but the owners receive less income. Bramhall complained they cannot pay their utilities which also include the city’s payments of water and sewerage bills plus PSEG. They asked to deduct utilities from the city’s 15 percent payment.
So as these costs increase, Jersey City will receive nothing which also happened to public housing, their agreement was 10 percent with the deduction for utilities. There was no 5 percent payment to the county then, so public housing pays nothing to the city, board of education and county now for a number of years. While the city has no control over PSEG increases, it does have control over water and sewerage increases which has been going up since the privatization occurred in the 1990s. This administration also took the $31.5 million that the MUA wanted to return to ratepayers and place it in the budget at Fulop’s request in 2014.
Jersey City is opening the door for other low income housing that pays more than 6.28 percent to get a sweetheart deal. So if you are wondering why it is expensive to live in Jersey City, just remember that you are paying other people’s taxes and utilities bills too. The concept of using property taxes to finance government should change or there will be no middle left in Jersey City.
Developers want a guarantee whether low income housing or market rate that they can turn a profit, where is the guarantee for those without tax abatements?

Yvonne Balcer

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