Bill would provide PILOTs for Fort Monmouth area developers

TRENTON – A recently introduced bill would give towns the ability to issue a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes arrangement to redevelopers of property in the Fort Monmouth area.

S2319/A3695, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Beck, (R-11), Red Bank, deals with the three Fort Monmouth towns – Eatontown, Tinton Falls and Oceanport – and would allow them to declare certain parcels within the 1,126-acre redevelopment area as either blighted property or land in need of rehabilitation.

If a parcel is considered blighted, the PILOT could be in place on the affected parcels for as long as 20 years. If the area is deemed “in need of rehabilitation,” the PILOT could be in place as long as five years.

In  a phone interview, Beck said PILOTs can be valuable tools for municipal governments to lure developers and have a greater say about their tax revenues.

“The towns will have the ability to issue PILOTs,” she said “They need to make decisions about their property taxes.”

The current process to seek PILOTs  is too “convoluted,” Beck said, with developers first having to go before the Fort Monmouth redevelopment board and then the respective municipal governing body where the land is located.

In essence, Beck’s bill does away with the requirement to appear before the regional board for the PILOT, and go directly to the municipal government.

“It allows a much more straightforward process,” she said.

Beck believes that the Fort Monmouth redevelopment board would have little problem with the bill, since they were the ones who suggested the process be streamlined.

Fort Monmouth was one of several military bases that was closed by Congress’s Base Realignment Commission as part of a cost-cutting and efficiency move. It’s been shuttered since September 2011.  

Following its closure, a governing body was created with the mission to draw up a Reuse and Redevelopment Plan for economic development for the property. The plan calls for creating a technological hub, conserving nature and providing an additional source of revenue for the affected towns.

"Sit down and shut up!"
—Gov. Chris Christie, to a Hurricane Sandy heckler