Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Liberty Village Subsidies At Risk?

Image: Housing Authority of Plainfield

Rents in a 96-unit subsidized housing complex could go market rate if the City Council does not grant approvals a new owner needs in order to take charge of it.

A request to change a "payment in lieu of taxes" or PILOT agreement for Liberty Village sparked controversy Monday when the council failed to move it to the April 15 agenda for approval.

Unless Liberty Village Estates Urban Renewal LLC can get approvals needed for a HUD contract by May 1, the subsidized housing complex could move to market rate rents, an attorney for the company said.

Carlos Sanchez, the city's deputy city administrator for economic development, said the prospective new owner intends to increase the PILOT payment from 6.28 percent to 10 percent.. The new owner also would provide a new community room, a camera monitoring system, upgraded electrical and plumbing systems, a new laundry facility and sidewalk improvements. 

The PILOT agreement dates back to 1982, with a 50-year term. The action requested from the council was simply to amend the agreement. Council President Bridget Rivers, who opposed the deal Monday, asked Sanchez whether it was for a tax credit, but Sanchez again explained it was a PILOT.

The contract of the current owner, Liberty Community Associates, expires on May 6. Sanchez said the owner failed a HUD inspection, attaining a score of about 50 when it should have been closer to 90. The prospective owner, which he called "a new entity with a lot of experience," expects to bring the score up to 85. 

When an attorney for the new company stressed the need for resolution by May 1, Rivers said, "I'm so tired of 'time constraints, time constraints, time constraints'," and insisted on hearing from Housing Authority of Plainfield Director Randall Wood. Although Sanchez had said HAP had the right of first refusal for the sale but did not exercise it, Rivers said she was told something different.

"We never bowed out,"" Wood said. "I don't know who these gentlemen are at all."

Wood acknowledged that the complex had problems, saying the owners had an intermediary who passed away.

"It was null and void for a whole year," he said.

He also said HAP was interested in acquiring the complex, but most likely could not match the $9.2 million sales price that the new owner offered. 

After saying for the last time she would not support the resolution, she said it could be added to the agenda as a new item on April 15 if five council members agreed then. On Monday, the consensus fell short of four in favor of moving it to the agenda, with Rivers and William Reid  saying "no" and Cory Storch, Rebecca Williams and Tracey Brown saying "yes." Vera Greaves was absent and Gloria Taylor did not arrive until the meeting was almost over.

Despite Wood's demurrals, after he and attorneys for the new owner met outside, Wood and attorneys William Eaton and Isac Sassoon all urged the council to reconsider and agree Monday to move the PILOT resolution to the agenda. But Rivers remained adamant, saying it would happen next week.

The regular meeting is 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 15 in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.


  1. Great ! And how do I get a discount on my rent ?? I love this Council that gives away other peoples' money!

  2. Gloria wants to run for council, yet she arrives so late? What's up with that?

  3. Why are they getting a PILOT. How much are they paying now vs the current tax roll and what is the increase? So what if it goes to market rates? Thats what section 8 vouchers are for. To help those in need pay the difference in rent. Maybe getting market rates will help clean up the hood?? Its not exactly filled with Plfds finest. Remove some of the dealers and gang bangers so regular people can live there safely with out the gunshots.

  4. Nice to know that Rivers could care less about providing the people in her ward a safe and better place to live.

    How does she get elected? I guess the people of the 4th Ward expect little, so they get it.

    "The new owner also would provide a new community room, a camera monitoring system, upgraded electrical and plumbing systems, a new laundry facility and sidewalk improvements. " HEY 4th Ward, she voted no on this. Guess you don't deserve any better.

  5. Talk to our Mayor Adrian Mapp. He supports this pilot. these people had a 50 year pilot, now this administration is giving away more of your money. This is a shame. This Mapp administration needs to go. I can not believe this council is giving a PILOT to these people

  6. Rebecca Williams is anon 10:50.

  7. Mayor Mapp is the worst Mayor I have ever seen. He would never put this is his ward. Why waste tax credits on existing properties. Let's get some new businesses here so we can have some real economic development here. Mayor Mapp what are your real goals for the residents of Plainfield.

  8. they are going to pay more to the city for their 50 yr pilot agreement THAT HAS BEEN IN PLACE FOR 32years, improve the damn place and Rivers has a problem with it... classic. AND she is entertaining the notion of trying to spend $9 MILLION to take it off the city tax rolls....very few people have the ability to one up themselves with half wit notions like the King Bill Reid... congrats Rivers.
    Oh... and again... I have a problem with wasted tax payer money and time again in the comment..so it must make me a racist. To all the people living in the crap hole... Give Rivers a high five...she thinks you deserve less than others and she's not afraid to make sure you get it.

  9. Rob that does not make you racist, some other stuff does, but not that.

    1. entertain me..... such as ??? But before you reply... how about your name

  10. Rob where is the SHEET. Please wear it. But don't forget one for your friend Adrian.

    He is very sad because he don't know the minute he stop putting food on your people table his honeymoon will be over.

    1. almost as sad as your grammar.... your eighth grade English teacher would be proud "anonymous"

  11. Mapp is a man of his word, he just must get all these political favors out of the way.When he does and there is some money left to do things in the city everything gonna be alright man. Be patient it cannot be to many people left that he owe.