[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Five-Year Incentive for Residential Improvements
[Adopted 5-6-2003 by Ord. No. 13-2003; amended in its entirety 2-21-2012]
The Board of Commissioners finds and declares that the entire City is an area in need of rehabilitation. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.139 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 5:45-1.2, the Board of Commissioners finds that there is evidence of substantial Housing or Health Code violations in at least 25% of the dwelling units in the City, as provided for by N.J.A.C. 5:45-1.2(a)2; and in accordance with the City's Housing Element and Fair Share Plan dated March 2009, over 90% of the housing units in Union City were built prior to 1970, which exceeds the requirement that at least 25% of the dwelling units in the City be at least 40 years old, as provided for by N.J.A.C. 5:45-1.2(a)3. Specifically, according to the 2000 Federal Decennial Census, 69.4% of the dwelling units were constructed prior to 1960. Thus, the entire City of Union City is an area in need of rehabilitation, as provided for by N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.141.
Editor's Note: Section Two of this ordinance, which immediately followed this section, provided as follows: "Ordinance 13-2003, as hereby readopted, shall be amended to provide that the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City recognizes that the findings enunciated in the Preamble of Ordinance 13-2003 are findings of the State Legislature, to which the Board of Commissioners concurs, finds, and adopts same as valid policy reasons for enacting the tax incentive program."
The provisions of N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.139 to 54:4-3.149 are hereby adopted in the City of Union City, and the Board of Commissioners declares that the entire City shall be deemed an area in need of rehabilitation as provided for by N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.141 and N.J.A.C. 5:45-1.2.
"Qualified residential property" as defined by N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.140 shall mean any building used or to be used or held for use as a home residence, including accessory buildings located on the same premises and including condominiums, cooperatives and horizontal property regimes.
The other definitions provided for by N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.140 shall be applicable to this article.
Any applicant for an abatement under this article shall complete and submit to the Tax Assessor an application on the Assessor's form or a form prescribed by the Director of the Division of Taxation.
Qualified residential properties within the City of Union City shall be entitled to a property tax incentive for a period of five years. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.145c, for qualified residential properties within the City of Union City, upon application to and approval by the Tax Assessor, the City payments in lieu of taxes shall be due annually and computed according to the following schedule:
Beginning of first year: no payment.
Beginning of second year: an amount not less than 20% of taxes due.
Beginning of third year: an amount not less than 40% of taxes due.
Beginning of fourth year: an amount not less than 60% of taxes due.
Beginning of fifth year: an amount not less than 80% of taxes due.
Beginning of sixth year: an amount not less than 100% of taxes due.
Each approved application provided for by this section shall be evidenced by a financial agreement between the City of Union City and the applicant. The agreement shall be prepared by the applicant and shall contain all the requirements of this article. The agreement shall also provide for the applicant to annually pay to the City the amount in lieu of as provided for by this article and any additional charges that are due pursuant to § 381-5A(3) as applicable.
An owner of a newly constructed condominium or cooperative unit, owners of substantially improved residential structures and owners of a substantial conversion or alteration of a residential structure located in the City of Union City consisting of one-, two-, three- and four-dwelling units are entitled to avail themselves of the opportunity to gain a five-year tax incentive as provided for in this article when they meet the following qualifications:
To be eligible for a tax abatement, a dwelling house, condominium unit or unit in a horizontal property regime shall be occupied by the owner thereof, and that a cooperative shall be occupied by the residential shareholders therein, or in a case in which the aforesaid condition is not satisfied, the annual payment in lieu of taxes on the unit or dwelling house shall be increased by 1% above the amount otherwise chargeable under § 381-3 and that in the case of a cooperative, the annual payment in lieu of taxes shall be the amount chargeable under § 381-3, plus an amount determined by multiplying 1% of the amount chargeable under § 381-3 times the percentage of units not occupied by residential shareholders.
Substantial improvements or substantial conversions or alterations to residential property must have a minimum cost of $15,000 for residential property consisting of one and two dwelling units and a minimum cost of $25,000 for residential property consisting of three and four dwelling units.
Submission of an architect's certification which sets forth the cost of construction, certified to the governing body and the Tax Assessor, or a certified construction cost audit by an independent certified public accountant.
Approval by the Tax Assessor which shall be granted, provided that all the requirements of this article are satisfied.
The entry into a formal written agreement with the City.
Submission by the applicant of a certificate of occupancy.
For residential dwellings, submission by the applicant of two proofs of owner-occupancy. One such proof shall be a tax bill and/or deed. Other acceptable proofs may be a driver's license, utility bills, and/or car registration. Proofs submitted must be current and valid at the time of submission. Applicant must also submit a notarized affidavit stating that he/she presently resides in the property to receive an exemption and/or abatement. Proofs must be resubmitted annually no later than July 31 of each year to the Tax Assessor.
All provisions of this article are satisfied, as well as all other statutory and regulatory requirements.
The Chief Financial Officer, in conjunction with the Tax Assessor, shall develop application procedures for tax abatement applications within 60 days of the effective date of this article for approval by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.
The following conditions shall apply to all applications under this article:
The application shall be filed with the Tax Assessor within 30 days following the completion of the new construction, improvement or conversion alteration; and
Every application for tax abatement shall contain such information as the governing body deems appropriate together with all information required by this article and such other pertinent information as the City may require.
The Tax Assessor shall approve any application which complies with the provisions of this article and any other statutory or regulatory requirements. Any approved applicant shall be notified by the Tax Assessor.
All such abatements or projects shall be approved by the Tax Assessor and memorialized by an agreement for tax incentive for a particular property for a period of five years except as provided herein, upon which such property is erected and which is necessary for the fair enjoyment thereof. The incentive provided by this article shall take effect upon issuance of a certificate of occupancy to the owner, and it shall be recorded and made a permanent part of the official tax record of the taxing district, which record shall contain a notice of the termination date of the abatement.
Each approved abatement shall be evidenced by a financial agreement between the City of Union City and the applicant. The agreement shall be in a form prepared by the applicant and shall contain the representations that are required by this article and N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.139 et seq., together with such other information required by the City, including but not limited to any amount of payment due to the City pursuant to § 381-3 of this article. The agreement shall be approved by the Tax Assessor as to terms and conditions, and the agreement shall be approved by the Corporation Counsel as to form and shall be on file in the office of the City Clerk.
In addition to the payments required as provided by this article, the owner of the parcel of the qualified property granted abatement pursuant to this article shall be liable for all real property taxes assessed and levied against the land on which the qualified residential property is situated.
Any property which is granted a tax exemption abatement pursuant to this article shall be subject to an inspection by the City of Union City on an annual basis to ensure that such properties are in compliance with all ordinances, regulations, and safety codes of the City. Any property which is determined to be in violation of any ordinance, regulation, and/or safety code of the City shall be subject to rescission of this incentive by the Tax Assessor.
All projects subject to tax agreements as provided herein shall be subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations on pollution control, worker safety, discrimination in employment, housing provision, zoning, planning and Building Code requirements.
No abatement shall be granted pursuant to this article with respect to any property for which property taxes are delinquent or remain unpaid or for which penalties for nonpayment of taxes are due.
In accordance with § 381-5A(1), to be eligible for a tax abatement, a dwelling house, condominium unit or unit in a horizontal property scheme shall be occupied by the owner thereof, and that a cooperative shall be occupied by the owner thereof. If during any tax year prior to the termination of the tax abatement agreement the owner fails to meet the conditions for qualifying, except for a sale to a new owner who will occupy the unit, then the tax which would have otherwise been payable for each tax year shall be computed pursuant to § 381-5A(1). The Tax Assessor shall notify the Tax Collector forthwith who shall, within 15 days thereof, notify the owner of the property of the amount of taxes due.
The payment due according to this article shall be made in quarterly installments according to the same schedule as real property taxes due and payable. Failure to make these payments shall result in the termination of the abatement. In addition to the remedy set forth herein, the payments authorized by this article shall be enforced in the same manner as is provided for in real property taxes.
The Tax Collector, in conjunction with the Tax Assessor, shall be responsible to administer the terms of the agreement throughout the period of abatement.
The added assessment of Section 3 of P.L. 1941, c. 397 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-63.3) and the omitted assessment provisions of Section 9 of P.L. 1947, c. 413 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-63.20) and Section 1 of the P.L. 1968, c. 184 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-63.33) shall not be applicable to any property for which the owner-occupant has been granted a tax incentive under this Act.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.139 et seq.
No appeal shall be taken by the property owner from the valuation of the Tax Assessor or determination by the Tax Collector of equalized taxes otherwise due, except for mathematical or typographical errors.
[Amended 5-21-2013; 9-17-2013]
Upon completion of the passage and publication required by law, this article shall deemed to be in effect, shall be retroactive to January 1, 2013, and shall expire one year thereafter on December 31, 2013. All tax abatements that were approved prior to the effective date of this article shall continue until they are terminated in accordance with the terms of the tax abatement approved by the City tax assessor.