On Tuesday, April 18th starting at 6 p.m., the municipal governing body will hold a special meeting for the specific purpose of presenting the public with general information on a proposed PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement between Meridia on Westfield Urban Renewal, LLC, and the municipality. The development is at 220-250 West Westfield Avenue which includes the former sites of Domani’s / Yesterdays and DJ Limousine.
On April 6th, a special meeting was held by the governing body (link) but it was a closed session meeting between Joseph Baumann – along with associates from the law firm McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC – and mayor & council to provide legal advice and strategies regarding PILOT. Mr. Baumann’s firm was hired by the governing body as special counsel for the Meridia development and all legal aspects associated with the project. The April 6th meeting allowed for public input but only during two public comment portions of the meeting with almost no information being provided due to legal exemptions of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA).
PILOT is a tax abatement program that allows for a developer to make a payment to a municipality that is less than would be paid through taxes. Additionally – instead of around 33% of taxes that would go to a municipality – under PILOT, 95% of the payment goes to the municipal government and 0% goes to the schools; under taxes, about 50-55% goes to schools.
Even though it is an official municipal meeting, it appears that the public will be able to provide input and ask questions throughout the meeting instead of only during public comment portions. Although not confirmed at this point, such previous meetings were conducted in a town hall setting where information is provided and then those in attendance interact with officials and municipal professionals in a question & answer session.
The meeting will be video-recorded by the municipality to be replayed on the borough’s community access channel.
The presentation is set to be held in council chambers of the Roselle Park Municipal Complex located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.
A copy of the official notice is included below: