BY MARY DIDUCH AND LINDY WASHBURN
STAFF WRITERS |
Teaneck’s township council voted Tuesday to file suit against Holy Name Medical Center’s exemption from local property taxes, as municipal governments around the state take aim at non-profit hospitals for potential tax revenues.
The council voted, 5-1, to authorize the action after two Holy Name executives spoke against the resolution.
“We can avoid all those legal expenses,” said Ryan Kennedy, the hospital’s chief financial officer, appealing to the council to work with the hospital to find a solution.
“It’s a silly route to go,” Michael Maron, the hospital’s president and CEO, said before the meeting. “We’ve had a reasonable relationship over the course of time. We should sit down and talk.” Once a tax appeal is filed, both sides have to hire lawyers and litigation takes years.
The town should wait and negotiate with the hospital, he said. “Worst case scenario, another year goes by,” he said. “Is that the end of the world?”
“We support the town, and we’re willing to consider supporting the town even more,” he said.
Emboldened by a recent state tax court decision, the council took action to “preserve its rights” to potential tax revenues as an Apr. 1 deadline for 2016 tax appeals looms.
Under the current tax rate, if Holy Name’s entire 20-acre property were to be taxed, the liability would be about $2 million. But Maron said the hospital already pays taxes on various smaller properties it owns. It provides free flu vaccines to borough employees, supplies to the ambulance corps, and funds to support special township initiatives, he said.