A proposed settlement of a tax appeal on Verizon New Jersey’s Broad Street switching station a deal that got derailed last December amid questions about an apparent conflict of interest between the borough attorney and the telecom is back on the Red Bank council’s agenda for tonight.
The latest terms appear to be identical to those proposed earlier.
The original proposed settlement would have reduced Verizon’s taxes on the property by about $15,000 in tax year 2006 by cutting the the assessment on the property from $3.25 million to $2.8 million. The change would have reduced Red Bank’s levy on the site by about $4,000.
In exchange, Verizon would drop its appeal of the assessment for 2007.
Here’s the original resolution: Download 07-240.pdf
Verizon had challenged the assessment on the rationale that only about one-quarter of the building’s floor space is now used, thanks to miniaturization of telecom equipment over the decades since the structure was built. At the same time, the four-story building is critical to the phone giant’s infrastructure and can’t be sold, thus making standard market comparisons of value moot, it argued.
But the tax deal first ran into opposition from Republican Councilman John Curley, who argued the reduction would further saddle residents with taxes. The matter then appeared headed to court, as Mayor Pasquale Menna agreed the borough should litigate.
A week later, though, Pringle, Pringle, Quinn & Anzano in Belmar, the law firm of borough attorneys Ken Pringle and Tom Hall, stepped away after redbankgreen raised questions of a possible conflict of interest. The firm’s lobbying arm represented Verizon in Trenton, according to public filings by the firm.
Pringle said at the time that he’d been unaware that partner Hall was in litigation on behalf of Red Bank with one of the firm’s clients.
The latest settlement resolution, worked out on the borough’s behalf by special counsel Richard T. O’Connor and appraiser Robert Gagliano, has the same settlement terms as proposed earlier for tax year 2006. As part of the pact, Verizon will drop an appeal for 2007, when the assessment on the building rose to $4.69 million.
Here’s the resolution describing the latest settlement proposal: Download 08-125.pdf