After several months of contentious debate and a tax suit filed in County court, the Township of Maplewood and the Woman's Club of Maplewood have reached an agreement for the Club to make payments in lieu of taxes over five years. In return, the Township has dropped its suit.
According to Township Counsel Roger Desiderio, the payments in lieu of taxes (or PILOT) will be paid over five years for a total of $55,000:
$6,000 in 2011
$8,500 in 2012
$11,000 in 2013
$13,500 in 2014
$16,000 in 2016
The PILOT is not transferable upon sale of the property. If the Club were to sell the property in the next five years, 50% of any monies not paid would be paid to the Township from the proceeds of the sale. As part of the negotiated agreement, the Club is also exempt from paying the SID (special improvement district) assessment to the Maplewood Village Alliance, although all other terms of the SID apply (such as design standards).
Mayor Vic DeLuca noted that the Club maintains its tax-exempt status over the next five years—that is why the Club remains exempt from SID assessment.
Deputy Mayor Fred Profeta was the only dissenting voice on the Township Committee regarding the settlement. He felt that the negotiated sum was too low (Profeta said $40,000 per year would be more appropriate) and noted that it would "all go to the town" with no money allocated to the school district. "I'm not in favor of excluding the district as a beneficiary and I think our case is strong." Profeta was also "not happy" with the exemption from the SID assessment.
The Township Committee voted 4-1 to authorize the settlement.
Last January, Deputy Mayor Fred Profeta raised the question during budget meetings of whether the Woman's Club should be considered a for-profit entity and therefore should be paying taxes. Profeta noted that the Club hosted for-profit businesses—such as Weight Watchers—at its location. Members and friends of the Woman's Club then spoke at subsequent Township Committee meetings. At one point, Louise Noll chastised the Committee, "Why are you bothering a bunch of old ladies?"