I would like to submit this letter as a public service announcement for the taxpayers of the City of Hoboken. As you may know, May 1 is the deadline for registering an appeal of your property revaluation.
As you review your current property assessment, I think it’s important to note that the owners of the Hoboken University Medical Center, Medical Properties Trust, (NYSE: MPW) a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), located in Birmingham, Ala., has received a 55 percent decrease in their taxes.
Last year, Medical Properties Trust requested a reassessment of their three Hoboken properties — 300-326 Willow Ave., 307 Willow Ave. and 122-132 Clinton St. — and received a substantial decrease in their tax rate to the tune of $1.1 million, unlike a maneuver available for the typical Hoboken taxpayer.
Recently, when the City Council questioned the decrease, the Hoboken Tax Assessor explained when a rate is struck, a universal formula is used to determine the new tax rate. After one month there was a vague application for a further reduction allowing Medical Properties Trust to receive another bite of the apple.
When the mayor first proposed the sale of the hospital, a primary public relations spin was restructuring the hospital from a “not for profit” to a “for profit” institution that was receiving the anticipated tax revenue of $2 million yearly.
In the end, all of this maneuvering resulted in a million-dollar savings for Medical Properties Trust, a for-profit, publicly traded corporation. The city realized only $895,000, from the expected $2 million a 55 percent decrease in one year.
The typical Hoboken taxpayer will likely face a revaluation resulting in substantial increase in property value and a proportional increase in the tax base. Keep in mind, tax increases affect both owners and renters with some reporting a 200 to 300 percent tax increase.
For all taxpayers affect by our current revaluation, please register your appeal before May 1, 2014. The Medical Properties Trust decrease should definitely be included in the conversation.
It goes without saying, any property owner, if given the chance, would appreciate the opportunity to participate in the same sweetheart deal offered an Alabama REIT.
THERESA CASTELLANO FIRST WARD COUNCILWOMAN