It’s been awhile since our last reader poll, so here’s a good one to get some discussion going:
The city’s appeal of the original SID lawsuit decision, which a judge ruled in favor of a group of local business owners, was to be heard last month.
Expansion of the Special Improvement District (SID) was quickly introduced and approved by City Council in December 2014. The original SID was established in the early 1990s, adding about a 7-percent tax assessment to about 138 properties within the Central Business District. The SID typically generated about $130,000 in tax revenue that was overseen for many years by the Rahway Center Partnership (RCP). City Council in 2010 transferred management of the SID from RCP to the Rahway Arts District (RAD). After many years as the RAD, the SID now will be renamed as the Rahway Arts + Business Partnership (RABP) under an ordinance recently introduced by City Council and to be approved next month.
Expanding the SID citywide to include all commercial properties within the city would affect more than 540 properties. With roughly three times as many properties taxed under the new version, an expanded SID would generate about $760,000 in special tax revenue.
For some more background, here’s a breakdown by property type (commercial, industrial, apartment) of what a citywide SID would look like and how individual properties might be affected.
The expanded SID did not include Merck, which falls within its own research and development zone and not a typical industrial or commercial zone, but also would have more resources than other entities to challenge the city’s move in court, and already has a multimillion-dollar tax appeal settlement under its belt.
So, what do you think? Should the SID be expanded beyond the borders of the downtown Central Business District? No other town has a citywide SID though there have been instances where a city has expanded the original boundaries of a downtown SID, as in the case of neighboring Cranford in 2010.