Monday, September 28, 2015

Candidate Steve Fulop Vows to Immediately Change PILOT Policy as Mayor, Immediately Forgets Policy Change After Election

This is a great read from Civic Parent about candidate Steve Fulop's promise to share PILOT revenue with the Jersey City Public Schools.

Candidate Fulop in 2013 (from Civic Parent)

The City’s tax abatement policy has longed robbed the school system of necessary resources. New real estate development tax revenue should be allocated in equal proportions to the County, City, and Board of Education. Instead, the City allocates 100% of revenue collected through tax abatements for municipal expenditures. Under Mayor Fulop, the policy will immediately change. A portion of the tax abatement revenue will be allocated to a dedicated, non-discretionary account for school funding. In this way, real estate development will help fund Jersey City public schools. (Bold added for emphasis)
The policy will immediately change?

Yeah right.  The promise was almost immediately forgotten.  In August, Fulop announced a new PILOT policy which changed the structure of PILOTs for different parts of Jersey City, but gave no PILOT revenue to the Jersey City schools.

In October, when Steve Fulop's first PILOT agreement was finalized for the "Journal Squared" megadevelopment, the broken promise became official. 
On October 22, 2013, Mayor Fulop announced the City’s plans for its first signature abatement: the redevelopment of Journal Square with the $666 million, three tower “KRE” deal, comprised of 1,840-rental units and 36,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. On November 13, 2013, three weeks after the announcement, the City Council voted on the abatement.
On the other hand, Fulop unleashes legal fury on the Port Authority for having PILOT agreements which he feels are not beneficial to Jersey City.

NJ's PILOT law was created to incentivize development where it would not otherwise occur.  

It seems to me that it this is increasingly not needed in Jersey City.  

After all, Steve Fulop just said at a recent building ceremony.
"We couldn't be more proud of the growth of Jersey City. The fact that residents fill these buildings up as soon as we build them speaks to the demand of Jersey City."


  1. I figured Fulop would at some point change his site to gear up for 2017, so I downloaded his 2013 campaign plans. The "education plan" includes the promise of re-allocating abatement funding to the schools, and you can find a copy here:

  2. Wow, this is really devastating. There it is in black and white that Fulop promised to share PILOT money.

    I was intrigued by the section "Advocating for School Construction Law Changes."

    When I saw the title I hoped it would be about ending the 100% state share for construction in the Abbott districts (including JC) and allowing some cost-sharing, but it is about allowing mixed-used buildings where schools could exist on the lower floors of high-rises.

    It's a very smart idea to allow schools to exist on the ground floors of tall buildings, but not what I was hoping for as the resident of a non-Abbott and as someone who cares about high-poverty non-Abbotts.

    The major contrast between JC is Freehold Boro. Freehold Boro's schools were built for 1100 kids, but now the pop is 1600 and rapidly growing. They've taken all the libraries, art rooms etc away. They ship kids to schools in other districts at huge expense. They just "pack the kids in like sardines."

    Freehold Boro rejected a bond referendum to build more classroom space. That's bad, but understandable since FB is already above its Local Fair Share, so the town is already overtaxed.

    In JC construction is 100% paid for by the state. In FB it would have only been 38%.

    The bond in Freehold Boro would have been for $32.9 million. It would have increased the average resident's school taxes by $278 a year.

    It's ridiculous that JC has a 0% construction share while Freehold Boro, already overtaxed, has a 62% construction share.