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LAKEWOOD SENIORS CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR FAIR TAXATION AND FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR MUNICIPAL SERVICES



"No taxation without representation" is the chant that continues to come from Lakewood's senior residents.


Lakewood's largest senior housing development, Leisure Village Association, is seeking to delay their lawsuit which alleges that they are overpaying taxes for municipal services which they do not receive, FAA News has learned.


As previously reported here on FAA News, the lawsuit was filed in New Jersey Superior Court in Ocean County by Princeton Attorney David J. Byrne Esq.


Leisure Village is an age-restricted gated community consisting of 2,433 homes. It was established way back in 1973.


The development contains over 16 miles of roadway network, which is privately owned by the neighborhood, which is managed by a Board of Trustees.


To maintain their roads with various municipal type services, such as street lighting, leaf collection, collection of trash and recycling, removal of snow, ice, and other obstructions from the roads, the Board of Trustees levies their own HOA fees.


On Township roads, the Township funds these types of services.


The Village Trustees have made numerous demands to the Township to provide them with the costs that the Township incurs from maintaining their roads. The Township has refused all demands to produce this amount of money.


While the Township does not provide municipal type services to the Leisure Village roads, the Township also refuses to reimburse the Village for the costs they incur for the services which they provide.


The New Jersey Municipal Services Act was enacted to eliminate and relieve the burden of exactly such double payments which the residents of qualified private communities pay through property taxes and HOA fees.


The Act expressly requires "the governing body of every municipality shall reimburse a qualified private community for [various municipal type services] or provide the services... in the same fashion as the municipality provides these services on public roads and streets."


The Act specifies that the amount to be reimbursed to a qualified private community shall be the actual cost to the community providing that service. Said amount is limited in that it can not exceed the amount which the municipality would have expended on that service if it were provided directly by the municipality to the community.


The first count of the lawsuit asserts that the Township has not provided any municipal type services to the Village, nor has the Township provided a fair reimbursement to the Village vis-a-vis the amount the Village expends for such services, as required under the Act.


The second count of the lawsuit seeks that going forward, the Township must reimburse the Village accordingly.


The suit seeks judgement ordering the Township to properly reimburse the Village for back pay as well as going forward.


The suit further seeks to recover the Association's reasonable attorneys' fees, costs of suit, interest, and such other relief as is equitable, appropriate and just.


The Township is represented in this matter by Attorney Steven Secare Esq.


Since the commencement of the litigation, the parties have been undergoing discovery.


The current discovery end date is August 1, 2024.


The Association has just filed a motion seeking to extend discovery to December 31, 2024.


Attorney Nicole D. Miller, Esq. representing the Association wrote:


The Association has served several non-party witness subpoenas directed to: (i) Waste Management of New Jersey; (ii) Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management; and (iii) Weatherworks.  The deposition of Waste Management of New Jersey took place on May 23, 2024. Waste Management has also produced documents ahead of the deposition.


While the parties have begun to take depositions, additional time is required to conduct party and non-party depositions. Expert reports still need to be issued.


The Association’s expert cannot issue a report in accordance with the current discovery deadline because of the delay in receiving written discovery responses and documents from the Township.


The motion is returnable before Judge James Den Uyl on Friday, June 20, 2024.


A trial date has not yet been scheduled. 


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the key difference as to why HOAs cover their own road maintenance etc has to do with ownership and exclusivity.
If you want the municipality to service your roads you simply dedicate them and give control to the municipality.
If you want to have a gate and a guard booth you need to maintain it as private property.
At least in states without an equivalent to The New Jersey Municipal Services Act.
This is the first I’ve heard of the act.