Friday, June 22, 2012

Camden Tax Collector Puts Squeeze On Day Care Centers, Social Service Agency Non-Profits; Outfits Considered Exempt In Years Past Now On City Hit List

In Camden, New Jersey, the Courier Post reports:

  • The city has published a staggering list of almost 10,000 properties that it says owe money for unpaid property taxes or water and sewer service charges.

  • But some property owners long considered tax-exempt — especially day care centers and nonprofit social service agencies — contend the city has wrongly targeted them and they do not belong on the lien list.

  • The city’s finance director, Glynn Jones, said the decision to assess day care centers and nonprofits was made by the recently resigned municipal assessor, with input from the county’s tax office. Jones said he knows the tax office has been in communication with nonprofits, many of which are appealing.
  • [W]hile the number of properties and the amount owed might seem out of whack in a cash-strapped city of just over 77,000 citizens, the totals are about the same as last year, according to Jones. That’s because what’s normal elsewhere isn’t normal in Camden.

  • For instance, Trenton, with about 7,000 more residents than Camden, usually has only a few thousand properties on its lien list, owing just a few million dollars, according to its tax collector, Ed Kirkendoll. Jones’ explanation for the discrepancy?

  • This is Camden,” he said.
  • [One] issue is at play in properties owned by nonprofits and day care centers. They are disproportionately represented on the current lien list of 9,837 properties, according to a Courier-Post review.

  • The city and Camden County’s Board of Taxation have targeted day care centers and nonprofit social service agencies since the completion of a citywide revaluation last August, seeking taxes on holdings considered exempt for years.

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