Thursday, October 29, 2015

Some Details on PILOT Revenues

Plainfield received $1.6 million last year through "payment in lieu of taxes" or PILOT agreements.

Most of the PILOT plans involved apartment complexes. Here's the list from the 2015 Municipal Data Sheet, with last year's anticipated revenues and what was realized in cash.

Presbyterian Homes, $170.000 anticipated, $170,142.03 realized.
Cedarbrook Apartments, $227,380 anticipated, $247.023 realized.
Liberty Village, 87,000 anticipated, $111,754.74 realized.
Leland Gardens, $260,000 anticipated, $269,933.19 realized.
Covenant House, $30,000 anticipated, $32,585.40 realized.
Horizon at Plainfield, $105,000 anticipated, $105,619.30 realized.
Allen-Young Apartments, $150,000 anticipated, $105,619.30

There was a listing for "Netherwood," presumably Netherwood Gardens, with no figures.

On a separate page for revenues, there were two listings for Park-Madison, the UCIA-owned office and commercial complex at West Front Street and Park Avenue. One lists anticipated revenues for 2014 as $386,000, with $391,336.82 realized. The other Park-Madison PILOT was expected to bring in $61,000 and realized $71,107.83.

See a post with 2008 PILOT figures here.

The city had several issues with the developer of the Park-Madison building, as noted in this 2006 Plaintalker post. To date, some remain unresolved, such as the clock placement. In 2013, UCIA Director Dan Sullivan handed over a check for $1.09 million representing a settlement over disputed PILOT payments and other issues.

Of course, these figures alone don't tell the whole story of PILOTs. In a state publication, former Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer calls for transparency at the inception of a PILOT and follow-up by the municipality to make sure they are working as intended. His report also found state guidance lacking on tax abatements.

The report is well worth reading by anyone interested in the use of tax abatements. It is A Programmatic Examination of Municipal Tax Abatements from the Office of the State Comptroller, published in 2010.



  1. Great reporting Bernice! Interesting to see that each of the PILOTS brought in MORE than anticipated in tax revenue.

    When the City Council was debating the PILOT for the $50 Million Dollar South Avenue project it was presented to them that the 12 properties as they currently stand would bring in 3 million dollars in taxes over 10 years. If developed those same properties could bring in 10 million dollars – if not more.

    Why would the Council vote this down, why would council candidate John Campbell and both his parents speak out against it and help to defeat it? They spoke as if it’s a giveaway - I feel they just don’t understand development. And Plainfield suffers.

    Recently I heard Candidate Campbell change his position on the PILOT and now say he’s against it because it doesn’t have a retail aspect. But at the same time he uses Jersey City and Asbury Park as examples of what we should do. Ninety percent of Jersey City’s redevelopment is residential. And ALL of Asbury Park’s is residential.

    What they are doing in Asbury is creating smart growth around their downtown. This in turn put more foot traffic in the town and that spurred investment to rehab the aging mix-use properties. The retailers came and now they are attracting customers from outside their city for their stores and restaurants. WOW, who knew?

    Asbury is very similar to Plainfield, (of course they have the advantage of having an ocean) and they have had big setbacks during the recession - but their politics has curbed them too. They’re finally getting it right.

    We need to get our Politics right! We finally have some forward momentum; good things are starting to happen. We need to keep moving forward - we can’t go back once again. We must stop electing people who make promises they can’t deliver and promote concepts they don’t understand. We cannot make a risky change on the council. Otherwise, Plainfield suffers.

  2. If PILOTs were used to create smart growth around Plainfield's downtown, they might be justifiable, but only might as PILOTs are always just a subsidy benefitting the few- the landlord and favored politicians. But Gateway is on the periphery of Plainfield. Meanwhile, a builder is constructing an apartment building next to Plainfield Plaza with no PILOT. Cudos to him for not demanding a subsidy at taxpayer expense.

    About the Leland Garden PILOT specifically. I thought it was for 10 years at graduated payments, and that it was approved over 10 years ago. Was it renewed? There are about 400 apartments there, and a payment of $270k- maybe $700 per unit per year-is shockingly low and unfair to other tenants and landlords (like me) who pay $3,200 per year per unit in property taxes. No wonder the BOE is opposed to PILOTs in general with all those kids there and no revenue coming in. Indeed, $270k doesn't even cover Leland Garden's share of police, fire, and road repair.

    Also, who polices the PILOT to ensure that the terms are followed? Originally, Leland Gardens was given the PILOT to preserve it as moderate income housing, but rents have more than doubled. Who protects the interests of the tenants and the city?

    1. Can you say who you are so we can check facts. These "facts" of yours don't sound right. Thanks.