North Arlington officials are currently discussing how best to go about recouping the money it is owed from the state through the Meadowlands tax-sharing program. North Arlington is one of six Meadowlands district municipalities that is still owed revenue from the plan, which collects money through a hotel occupancy assessment. The amount still owed to North Arlington from 2016 is believed to be $381,000. The towns — North Arlington, Rutherford, East Rutherford, Ridgefield, Kearny and Jersey City — are supposed to share in a combined $7.1 million.
“Ridgefield recently passed a resolution [to] explore litigation [with] the state,” stated North Arlington Council President Dan Pronti. “We made a decision, as a council, to take the appropriate action necessary. We may be forced to follow their lead if someone doesn’t step up and fix this problem.”
The program, in it’s entirety, came up $3.42 million short in 2016. By law, the New Jersey Treasury is required to make up for any revenue shortfall in the program. Pronti said he and the Council would be speaking with representatives from other towns so they can possibly band together and strengthen their claim against the state.
“The biggest concern for the borough is that we are mandated to budget for the anticipated revenue, but if it doesn’t come through, we will be forced to make cutbacks to fill the budgetary gap.” He also said he isn’t losing hope that the State representatives would do the right thing for the people they represent.
At the Mayor and Council meeting on Feb. 9, former Councilman Al Granell urged the council to make this problem visible on the borough website and ask North Arlington residents to contact their legislators: Senator Paul Sarlo, Assemblywoman Marlene Caride and Assemblyman Gary Schaer.
The Hackensack Meadowlands Municipal Committee, also known as the Mayors’ Committee, recently passed a resolution 12-0 calling on the state to adhere to the law and fund the outstanding balance owned to six Meadowlands towns through the 2016 tax-sharing program. Mayor Bianchi remains hopeful the state will not financially hurt North Arlington taxpayers.