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* Red Bulls Show Us The Money


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At the February 2, 2010 Mayor & Council meeting, Town Attorney Paul Zarbetski stated that the Red Bulls did not have to make a 2010 1st Quarter tax payment because they did not currently owe any property taxes. Zarbetski explained that the town's Tax Assessor, Al Cifelli, would only be making an added assessment in October of this year and it would not be due until November. Added Assessments are only done once a year in October.

Although I was surprised to hear that the Red Bulls were going to pay 2.1 million in property taxes, I was glad the Red Bulls were going to pay their fair share of Harrison's property tax burden.

Harrison must make a 3.5 million dollar bond interest payment in June of this year on the bonds it took out to purchase the land that the Red Bulls stadium now sits on. The timing on this interest payment could not come at a worse time.

Harrison has already lost 5 million dollars in state aid, will likely lose Abbott District funding for its schools, and no new property tax revenue is being generated as redevelopment has come to a standstill. Harrison's taxpayers may be asked to fill the budget gap that could be significant. Taxpayer's are already overwhelmed with the town's property tax bills. Mayor McDonough has already made plans to lay off town workers to save a reported 2.1 million. But the actual savings for fiscal year 2010 will be far less than the 2.1 million.

I suggested at the council meeting that the Mayor immediately consider asking higher paid town employees to voluntarily take pay cuts (3,4 or 5%) and institute furloughs to insure that there will not be a need for further employee layoffs. None of the above are popular but union leaders must come to terms with the reality of the economic storm facing the Town of Harrison and get their members actively involved in finding a solution.

I also suggested that the Mayor ask the Red Bulls to make their property tax payment before the October 2010 assessment to assist the town in weathering the cash crunch it will be experiencing this coming year. It may seem like a lot to ask for but Harrison has given a lot to the Red Bull's organization and deserves some consideration.

Let us see if the Red Bulls show us the money, sooner than later.

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