Wheatena tax appeal settlement about 11%

A tax appeal settlement on the former Wheatena factory property along Elizabeth Avenue yielded a tax refund for the previous owner of almost $61,000 — a reduction of more than 11 percent over the last four years.

City Council approved the settlement with The David and Sylvia Weisz Foundation at its July 13 meeting. The resolution, AR-162-15, was approved by a 7-0 vote, with two members absent.

(File photo)
(File photo)

The Los Angeles-based foundation sold the four parcels this past spring to a developer for about $4.7 million to Meridia Brownstones Urban Renewal, LLC. Linden-based developer Capodagli Property Company has approval to build a 489-unit rental complex on the 8-acre site.

The settlement focused on the largest of the four lots, Block 228, Lot 1, which typically had been assessed for $2,253,600.

Reduced assessments were as follows for the individual tax years, followed by the reduction by percentage, and actual tax refund for that year:

  • 2011 – $1,792,600  — 20.46 percent — $26,576.65
  • 2012 – $1,854,600  — 17.71 percent — $23,305.59
  • 2013 – $2,152,600  — 4.48 percent — $6,107.47
  • 2014 – $2,173,700  — 3.55 percent — $4,957

The reductions totaled $60,946.71 over the four years, making what would have been a property tax bill of about $537,641 about 11.34 percent smaller at $476,695. You can check my math and see some more details on the figures in this spreadsheet.

In addition to the highlighted lots, Block 226, Lot 1, at the corner of West Scott/Elizabeth.
In addition to the highlighted lots, the settlement includes Block 226, Lot 1 at the corner of West Scott and Elizabeth avenues.

As part of the settlement, the plaintiff agreed to withdraw appeals for 2011-2015 tax years for Block 226, Lot 1 and Block 227, Lots 1 and 2, and the 2015 appeal for Block 228, Lot 1, according to the resolution.

The foundation waived statutory pre-judgment interest on the tax refund, provided that it is paid within 60 days of the judgment, according to the resolution.

Tax appeals have been prevalent in Rahway — and throughout the state — since the recession, spiking locally in 2012 and gradually declining each year since (2013, 2014, and just for fun here’s 2011). In addition to the hundreds of simple appeals approved by City Council in one annual resolution, there have been several multi-year settlements with larger property owners, such as apartment buildings and commercial properties and the largest, Merck & Co.