Blue Acres adds four more properties

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the 600th home purchased as part of its Blue Acres program. Blue Acres has acquired about two dozen properties in Rahway, including four more since last reported on the topic.

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 9.30.08 PMCreated in 2013, Blue Acres uses $300 million in federal disaster recovery funds to purchase up to 1,300 homes at pre-storm value. About 1,000 homes are targeted in tidal areas affected by Hurricane Sandy and another 300 in other towns that flood repeatedly in New Jersey.

Since our last report in March, the four properties acquired include another on Central Avenue, one on Jefferson Avenue, and two more on Main Street off East Hazelwood Avenue. A map of the properties with details on each has been updated.

The acquisitions bring the total sales prices to $5.85 million, an average $254.319 (not including one sale that has not yet posted but lists the DEP as owner). Total tax assessment of the 24 properties acquired is more than $3 million, with total property taxes of $192,745, an average $8,031.

The acquisitions impacted the municipal budget, accounting for about $15 of the average $81 tax increase in the municipal portion of tax bills this year.

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Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreed to by City Council in 2015, the state acquires and demolishes the homes and the city will maintain them. Since the properties will be owned by the state, they no longer will pay property taxes. The four latest properties are among 30 properties that were identified in Rahway. The program is strictly voluntary.

Of nearly 900 offers made by the state, 678 have been accepted, with the balance moving through the process while 460 homes have been demolished, according to the DEP. Many of the homes along New Church Street have been razed, along with several on Central Avenue and Baumann Court, others that have been acquired have not yet been demolished, including the three along Main Street.