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Lawmakers Pass Flood Buyout Tax Relief Bill

The bill would protect towns which purchase flood-prone properties from having to pay school, county and fire district taxes.

Asw. Holly Schepisi and Sen. Gerry Cardinale. File photos.
Asw. Holly Schepisi and Sen. Gerry Cardinale. File photos.
A new bill would protect New Jersey towns from having to pay county, school and fire district taxes on flood-prone properties they purchase through a state program.

The bill, S-2256/A-3362, was approved by both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly Monday. It was sponsored in the Senate by District 39 Sen. Gerry Cardinale and in the Assembly by Asw. Holly Schepisi, among other legislators.

Westwood has received more than $2 million from the state and FEMA for flood buyouts. Towns which buy properties through the program currently must pay the county, school and fire district taxes for the following year.

"The flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy and the devastation left by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 has increased the awareness of towns that continuously deal with this problem," Schepisi said in a press release. "A municipality should not be deterred from purchasing property from a willing seller because they cannot afford that property’s tax liability. ‘Once-in-a-generation’ storms are occurring more frequently, and proper planning is necessary to limit the impact."

The bill will next go to Gov. Chris Christie for final approval.

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