City council members present at last night’s council meeting unanimously approved a waterfront infrastructure funding plan that has proven to be controversial at recent meetings.
Mayor Ed Johnson, Deputy Mayor John M. Loffredo, Councilwoman Sue Henderson and Councilman Kevin Sanders all voted in favor of the ordinance enacting the plan. Councilman James Bruno was absent.
The council also approved an ordinance allowing the plan to take effect at the Vive site, where construction on townhomes has already begun.
The vote was preceded by a lengthy public hearing, where residents voiced doubts and asked questions. Also, during the workshop session, city manager Terence Reidy and redevelopment officials delivered a presentation on the plan.
Under the funding plan, the city will bond up to $58 million over time on behalf of waterfront redeveloper Asbury Partners to fund infrastructure improvements in the waterfront redevelopment area. This will enable Asbury Partners to develop waterfront properties, which have sat vacant for years.
The loans will be repaid by new residents in the designated waterfront area properties developed by Asbury Partners. The city will institute a payment in lieu of taxes [PILOT] agreement with a special assessment for new homeowners to pay down the loan.
New residents will pay the same total amount for property taxes as the rest of the city’s residents do, but their payment will be broken up differently. City residents pay about 57 percent of their total tax bill toward the city; about 27 percent to the school district; and about 16 percent the county.
New residents subject to the PILOT program will pay the same total amount of property taxes, but their money will be divided differently, into three parts. They will still pay 57 percent of property taxes to the city, as conventional homeowners do. Five percent of that amount will benefit the county. The remainder of their payment will pay off debt service for the infrastructure loans.
[NOTE: A story detailing the presentation and public hearing will be posted on the Sun later.]