While Steven Fulop touts Bayfront’s 30-year tax abatement as progressive and the only means to gain affordable housing, the Jersey City mayor neglects to address the overall sacrifice to the community and taxpayers altogether. 

With rising property taxes and a housing shortage (for affordable places to live) this agreement falls short of progressive and should be considered for what it is; a corporate tax haven for billionaires. 

According to the tax abatement ordinance, only one, six story residential complex will be constructed out of 35 commercial buildings for development utilizing approximately 70 acres. 

Another 25 acres will set aside to create a new “Central Park” 

One hundred acres of community property plus a 30-year tax abatement in exchange for a meager 35% of one building when thirty-five multilevel properties are for-profit is outrageous. Consider for every dollar, residents receive fraction of penny while investing 100 percent of the land and resources.

The amount of taxpayer commitment of community property for commercial development and for-profit purposes is extraordinarily high in exchange for what some may consider “not enough” or “nothing” or “another tax burden.”

To top that off, there was no consideration set aside to create space for public housing or for the elderly and disabled which often rely on section 8 vouchers.

Given the fact this 100 acres of property was “repurchased” for 100 hundred million taxpayer dollars, this public land should be developed for 100% affordable housing in addition to public housing made available for elderly and people with disabilities. 

The notion that commercial real estate developers cannot profit without tax abatements is hogwash. Tax abatements should not be a tool to create a 30-year corporate tax haven on the backs of working families and seniors having to cope with escalating property tax and municipal fees. 

None of the plans made available to me explain the rents for these luxury places or the fees associated with renting there. The rents and costs should be transparent and easily understood. It should be 100% affordable.

Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano is trying to pass the 10% affordable housing mandate and is being opposed by the rest of the city council. When push comes to shove the council is quick to spend taxpayer money without due consideration to the residents that pay for it. 

At the current costs of rentals in Jersey City should consider bringing back rent stabilization or “rent control”

Finally, I’m not opposed to development. I disagree with how the tax abatement applies to commercial units and that we should sacrifice so much land and money for a meager penny of “affordable housing” while the rest is made into an essentially privatized community.

Route 440 needs more residential properties that are affordable. Jersey City already has two strip malls, including Hudson Mall, on 440 that can be developed or redeveloped. 

Rev. Raymond Angel Guzman-Caraballo is the founder of the Boricua Community Center.