PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Some residents in Phillipsburg, New Jersey say a housing project will increase their taxes.
They want a chance to vote on the issue in November.
But the town's mayor says the project is moving forward.
The property near Howard Street in Phillipsburg, New Jersey is full of trees and debris.
Developer Michael Perrucci plans to build a 449 unit housing development on the land, a plan in the works for the last seven years.
"As you know the economy took a deep turn to the south," said Phillipsburg Mayor Harry Wyant Jr.
The project includes funding from the Phillipsburg Riverside PILOT program, a payment in lieu of taxes.
The $5 million would be paid back over thirty years.
"The increase in school tax alone will be anywhere from three to six hundred dollars as part of the students being sent to the school system," said Bill Timmann, a Phillipsburg resident and business owner.
Timmann wants this tax issue placed on the November ballot.
He even gave a letter to council asking for the referendum.
He says residents should decide if they are going to foot the additional tax burden.
"Where can you come up with this money if you are dealing with a lot of seniors in this town," added Timmann. "They are on a fixed income and they don't have the ability to absorb that kind of an increase."
Wyant says the issue can't be placed on the ballot.
"Six years ago they have all the approvals," said Wyant. "They could start today and put a shovel in the ground."
Wyant says the PILOT program is working.
For instance, a building at 169 South Main Street couldn't get a developer to purchase it for years, but given the PILOT dollars it's now occupied.
Wyant says there is still time for residents to voice their concerns before the planning board.
"That's the time to come forward with some issues as far as traffic is concerned," added Wyant.
New plans for the project are expected to be submitted sometime in August or September.
Allentown, PA 18102