Mayor Steven Fulop Jersey City
Mayor Steven Fulop Jersey City

As the saying goes, when life delivers you lemons, make lemonade.

In a Facebook post this morning, Mayor Fulop announced some “good news” for taxpayers.  As part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to “lower taxes & of course our public facing city services,” the city would be giving the average homeowner an “$88 further reduction in their taxes” on their fourth quarter property tax bill.

In fact, some residents are arguing that the mayor should have called it what it is, a tax refund. In the post, the mayor, it seems, described a refund made necessary by an overcharge on third quarter property tax bills as a tax cut. Said Maria Ross in response to the mayor’s post, “what a whopper of a story from Fulop!”

The overcharge was first picked up by John Ross on nextdoor.com.

“Hey fellow JC home owners, so no new taxes if you look top right of your recent RE tax bill you will see you are being charged a art & culture Tax. While this was being pushed for I asked repeatedly How much! All of city hall and prominent members of the art community all said don’t worry it will be in line with the open space tax, they would only offer reassurance without facts. Looking at my tax bill I see I’m paying $12 for open space & $250 for Art Tax Even in simple math not Comparable.”

Robinson Holloway, one of the architects of the Arts Trust Fund, then confirmed Ross’s suspicion. “It looks like there was a mistake in the Arts Tax – that they assessed the maximum possible amount, 2 pennies, instead of the 1/4 penny amount that the City Council approved earlier this year. The City is aware and looking into it. So your actual Arts & Culture tax should be what was promised – about $25/year for property worth $1million.”

In November of last year, 64% of Jersey City residents voted in favor of the creation of the Arts Trust Fund. Similar to the Open Space Trust Fund, money for the fund would was to come from a new tax on property owners. In March, the city council agreed upon a tax assessment of a quarter of a cent per $100 of assessed value, approximately one eighth the amount charged on the third quarter property tax bills. That assessment was to raise approximately $1 million to support local artists and arts education.

This is the second time in three months that the administration was compelled to undo a charge to Jersey City residents. In July, the mayor was forced to rescind the unpopular “water tax.”

 

Aaron Morrill

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....