Town Wants State To Pay Its Fair Share

Berkeley Town Hall (Photo by Jason Allentoff)

  BERKELEY – Officials made another plea to the state to pay what the town is owed from the energy receipts tax.

  Mayor Carmen Amato said that this issue came up with the New Jersey Conference of Mayors. A lot of governing bodies are going to be pushing for this change in hopes that strength in numbers can make a difference.

  Like all property in a town, utility lines are taxable. Years ago, the utility companies paid municipalities tax for having these lines run through town. At one point, the state became the collecting entity instead. The idea was that the state would collect all the money and then dole it out to each town. That didn’t happen. The state has been keeping the money for well over a decade.

  Amato compared it to when a resident pays their taxes. They write a check to their town, and then their town gives the appropriate amount to the school district, the county, etc. Imagine if the town just decided to keep it. What would happen to the school districts? How would they feel?

ADVERTISEMENT
The governing body discussed the energy receipts tax at a recent Township Council meeting. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  He estimated that Trenton has pocketed more than $5 million over the span of years from the township. Annually, the state rakes in about $330 million from all of the towns.

  The New Jersey League of Municipalities points out that what many consider to be “state aid” is actually “revenue replacement” programs. They posit that the state taking money from one source and using it in a different line item is nothing new, but the extent that it happened in the 2011 state budget made the energy receipts tax a significant issue.

  That website provides a history of utility taxes going back to 1884.