Breaking News: Union County Folds on Galloping Hill Tax Appeal

At the December 5, 2013 freeholder meeting there was an executive session to discuss Kenilworth taxing the Galloping Hill clubhouse/banquet center/office complex:

Based on an interview with Kenilworth tax assessor Paul Parsons on the situation this is likely what went down:

  1. Kenilworth levied the $120,000 annual tax on only the third floor of the clubhouse with a real value of about $5 million.
  2. There is precedent for this tax as Ursino restaurant on the campus of Kean University was taxed by Union Township.  Kean’s appeal of the $50,000 amount is in tax court now.
  3. The county appealed Kenilworth’s tax and assessment for Galloping Hill on December 2.
  4. Kenilworth immediately filed a counter-appeal looking to levy the  tax on the entire $15 million building.
  5. On Wednesday Kenilworth received a call from County Counsel Robert Barry that the county was withdrawing their appeal on the condition that Kenilworth withdraw their counter-appeal.
  6. On Thursday it was done.

Union County, like any other taxpayer, can still appeal the tax in future years but there are bigger questions:

  • How is Union County even allowed to set upon a venture susceptible to taxation?
  • Are those bonds used to build the Galloping Hill clubhouse now taxable also?
  • Can other towns similarly tax selected county property that has nothing to do with proper governing and is being used for the private gain of selected insiders instead of for the general welfare of the public?  For example, if Kenilworth can tax the third floor of the Galloping Hill clubhouse would the city of Elizabeth have a case for taxing the sixth floor of the Union County Administration building?

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on December 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    FYI, I know that some NJ towns Tax the portion of Church property rented out to for-profit businesses …. such as pre-school day care,and the argument that the Church needs the money to support it’s programs doesn’t fly.

    Similar issues.


    • That’s reasonable and I can see any non-profit being taxed on a for-profit venture they may run but the bigger issue I see here (and why I put it up here as well as on countywatchers) is why a government is even allowed to get into a business that would be taxable.

      It seems to be like government 101 to forbid any such activity or else what’s to stop a government with their deep (taxpayer) pockets form getting into any for-profit venture (building cars, running strip clubs) with the taxpayer backstop?

      Under current rules what is it that Union County CANNOT do?


      • Posted by Anonymous on December 14, 2013 at 12:45 am

        Seems to me that they can do anything they damn well please and the taxpayers are powerless to challenge it, stop it or prosecute it…..and they all get raises to boot!


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