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Council Sends Out Appeal to Tax-Exempt Groups

Because of Lawrence Township's budget woes, township council has sent out a letter to dozens of tax-exempt organizations asking those groups to make a “voluntary contribution” equal to 25 percent of the property taxes they do not pay.

As discussed at , members of Lawrence Township Council recently sent out a letter to dozens of tax-exempt organizations and institutions in the township asking those groups to consider making a “voluntary contribution” equal to 25 percent of what they would pay in property taxes were they not exempt.

The appeal is in response to the township’s ongoing financial problems, as outlined in a news release issued Wednesday (Aug. 1) by Township Manager Richard Krawczun:

Tax exempt organizations, excluding government owned properties, located in Lawrence Township, account for $287,584,000 in assessed value for which no real estate taxes are collected. The amount that assessment would generate for just municipal real estate tax revenue is $2,500,000, which is greater than the budget gap that Lawrence faced in 2012.

Lawrence Township has been confronting many budgetary challenges. Some of those challenges are dramatic reductions in state aid, declines of miscellaneous revenues and less available surplus as budget revenue due to tax appeals. Since only 2010 Lawrence Township has lost $160,287,000 in ratables due to tax appeals. The township is responsible for the full refund of all successful appeals including the full portion of county and school taxes. In response to these challenges, staff has been reduced from 212 employees in 2008 to 182 employees in 2012, outstanding debt has been refinanced, fees raised and capital spending reduced.

The Township Council has pointed out that the township has tightened its belt and residents have shouldered the burden of higher taxes. Now the tax exempt organizations are being asked to consider providing a voluntary contribution to support municipal services. The council has asked that any contributions be received before Oct. 31 in order to facilitate the preparation of the 2013 municipal budget.

"The Lawrence Township municipal government is responsible for a wide range of services, public safety, public health, maintenance of roads, buildings, parks and community development operations,” Mayor Jim Kownacki said in Wednesday’s news release. “Residents, businesses and visitors all benefit from these services, as do the tax exempt property owners within our community."

Councilman Greg Puliti was quoted in the news release as saying: "The time has come that we not only seek financial support from Rider University and The Lawrenceville School for voluntary contributions, but as a matter of equity we request a voluntary contribution from all tax exempt organizations in Lawrence Township."

A PDF list of all tax-exempt properties in Lawrence Township (except for those owned by the government and disabled veterans), as provided by Krawczun’s office, can be found in the media box above.

A sampling of the dozens of tax-exempt groups on the list include: Lawrenceville School, Rider University, Educational Testing Service, the Diocese of Trenton, Chapin School, Project Freedom, HomeFront, the American Legion, Babe Ruth baseball, and numerous churches and other religious organizations of various denominations.

 

For Municipal Budget Background, See:

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Ricky Bobby August 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I donated to homefront to help their cause of fighting poverty and homelessness. I hope they have the courage to say "NO" to the township hitting them up for "donations" to fix the years of mismanagement they have created. Non profits have to fight for every penny they make. they put countless hours into doing so. They don't have the luxury of demanding it from people like the township does. Yet somehow the non profits manage to make it from year to year. I think the better idea is to recruit the people who run these non profits to replace our council and its manager.
Ricky Bobby August 02, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Dear American Cancer society we are broke....again....Instead of help paying for cancer treatment for a child can you give that money to us? I know you worked really hard to get it, but we really just don't have a clue as to what we are doing here and could use some help. Sincerely, Your Lawrence Township Council
Cowboy August 02, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Finally! Thank you Mayor and Mr. Puliti. Please keep us updated as to who contributes and who doesn't,
Chief Wahoo August 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
sure sounds like blackmail to me ....... but beggars cant be choosers i suppose if any of these tax exempts give in , it will be very sad indeed
R Mekitarian August 03, 2012 at 12:31 AM
For years a small group of Lawrence Township residents have been trying to get the Township Council to move on this subject matter. This is not blackmail it is just plain common sense. The Lawrenceville School has an endowment of over $300 million, yes million, and has over 700 acres of tax exempt land. I am delighted they try to teach community service to their students, now can the administration of that school please step up to the proverbial plate? Their checks to the township in the past have been so minute it is laughable. Congratulations to the Council and Richard Krawczun on finally having the courage to move this issue off the back burner and into the limelight.
Chief Wahoo August 03, 2012 at 12:58 AM
is this begging for dollars just a one year request......or are the beggars asking for this shakedown year after year after year ????
David Smith August 03, 2012 at 01:20 AM
They do it to us I'm sure they will do it to them also.
Billy August 03, 2012 at 01:55 AM
It is truly a shame how our township is run. Thats really all that needs to be said. RK is a crook and thief and in township meetings speaks as if he is god and knows everything. If even knew is area of expertise then our township would not be in such poor shape.
Max R August 03, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Billy, join the fight! http://lawrenceville.patch.com/blog_posts/2-cap-look-at-your-tax-bill-i-am-fed-up
grill master August 03, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Fat chance in getting any money from the Lawrenceville School..HA! Krawczun is piece of garbage that needs to be ousted, along with his buddy Puletti. This is really pathetic.

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