Freehold Township, CentraState settle tax appeal issue


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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Administrators at CentraState Medical Center have entered into an agreement with Freehold Township municipal officials to provide annual community service as part of a tax appeal settlement.

On Jan. 25, Township Commitee members authorized the execution of the community service contribution agreement with CentraState. As noted in a resolution, CentraState owns properties in Freehold Township and the properties are listed as being exempt from taxation.

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According to the resolution, municipal officials have filed tax appeals challenging the tax exempt status of certain properties. CentraState administrators filed counterclaims to the tax appeals, asserting its right to the existing and continuing property tax exemptions.

The two parties have agreed to settle the pending tax appeals and enter into a community service contribution agreement.

According to the resolution, the agreement will result in CentraState making annual community service contributions to Freehold Township and working with the township to improve its health and welfare.

Township Administrator Peter Valesi said the settlement was fueled by legislation passed in late 2021 concerning the exemptions. He said hospitals are now required to pay a “bed fee” in lieu of the exemption.

In other business, Township Committee members passed a resolution which declares the former Lone Pine Landfill on Burke Road, off Elton-Adelphia Road, to be a condemnation redevelopment area.

According to the resolution, the committee authorized the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine if the former contaminated landfill property was an area in need of redevelopment.

Planning Board consultant T. Andrew Thomas of Thomas Planning Associates was authorized to inspect the property, prepare and submit a map, and report on his findings.

After receiving the map and Thomas’ report, the Planning Board held a public hearing to determine if the property is a redevelopment area under state statute.

Board members subsequently passed a resolution determining the Lone Pine Landfill property is an area in need of redevelopment.

The board members also determined the designation should authorize Freehold Township to employ all powers provided by the state for use in a redevelopment area, including eminent domain (condemnation), according to the resolution.

The Township Committee members reviewed the board’s findings and agreed with the determination and recommendation of the Planning Board to designate the former landfill property as an area in need of redevelopment. The committee also authorized the use of eminent domain to acquire the property.

By designating the property as a condemnation redevelopment area, township officials are able to use eminent domain. The township is not authorized to use eminent domain on non-condemnation redevelopment areas.

According to Valesi, the property currently does not have an owner. He said the previous owner was replaced by a group of “potential responsible parties” who are represented by a remediation group and use the federal Superfund Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act rules to maintain and continue monitoring at the site.

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