TRENTON – a bill, S1460, passed that requires a municipality to pay any property tax refund ordered by a county tax board or by the state Tax Court resulting from an assessment appeal to the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection to be used to ensure compliance with environmental remediation orders. It passed 22-9.
This to a degree is in reaction to a controversy in West Deptford in which Senate President Steve Sweeney said Sunoco was not cleaning up a largely shuttered refinery while at the same time successfully winning a tax appeal case.
As part of a deal, Sunoco had agreed to place $15 million from its tax settlement into a fund for environmental remediation at its Eagle Point refinery.
However, a Gloucester County judge set aside the agreement over violations of the Open Public Meetings Act.
After a subsequent public meeting, the settlement proposal was back on track but slightly reduced to about $13.9 million.
Sweeney sponsored the legislation to ensure that no corporate entity could simply pocket tax appeal funds and walk away from an unremediated property.