West Orange Redevelopment Counsel to Present at Next Council Meeting
Issues with the redevelopers include delinquent taxes and the company’s financial health.
The recent drama surrounding Prism's redevelopers will come to a head on Tuesday as their redevelopment counsel will make a presentation at the council’s next meeting.
On October 30, representatives of West Orange's Redevelopment Counsel, McManimon & Scotland, as well as representatives of NW Financial, West Orange's redevelopment financial advisors, have been invited by Council President Victor Cirilo to make a presentation to the West Orange Township Council regarding Prism Green Urban Renewal Associates IV, after several councilmembers said they were disappointed with the lack of communication by the company. The council has been asking about the possible foreclosure of the Barton Press property, the deliquency of property taxes, a request for audited financial statements, and other issues that affect West Orange residents.
"I'm concerned about the financial viability of our designated redevelopers," Councilman Joe Krakoviak said at the October 16 Township Council meeting. "If the project is not able to move forward financially, I'd rather end this process sooner rather than later; certainly before the township issues the $6.3 million in taxpayer-backed bonds that have been approved for the project."
Prism had been delinquent on their third quarter taxes due August 1, which amount to about $113,940, according to the West Orange Tax Assessor’s Office. They have since paid the taxes on October 10. Prism was also late paying its first- and second-quarter tax bills this year, paying them off on July 10.
Krakoviak sent a letter to the Planning Board, asking them to address the issues with Prism's taxes. He did not receive an answer.
“You should get a response,” Council President Victor Cirilo told Krakoviak at the meeting. “You deserve that respect as a councilperson.”
Prism was approved earlier this year to begin building a mixed residential-retail development on the site of the former Edison Battery building.
In March, the Township Council approved two ordinances authorizing the finances for the project. The first bond ordinances authorizes the township to issue $6.3 million in general obligation bonds to the developer to pay for infrastructure costs and places a special assessment on the property. The second approved ordinance outlines the financial agreement between the township and Prism. Under the agreement, the developer agrees to repay 50 percent of the issued bonds to the township, with interest.
Construction has not yet begun on the project.