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For Release:
Immediate
October 19, 2001

In Case You Missed It . . .
Bret Schundler’s Jersey City Success Story

(WEST ORANGE, OCTOBER 19) - From this morning’s New York Times:

“Mr. Schundler prides himself on finding creative approaches to solving problems. And his earliest coup may stand up as his signal financial accomplishment …

“In the early 1990’s, Jersey City property tax bills were so high that many people, unable to pay, were losing their homes to foreclosure. The city’s tax collection rate fell so low at 78 percent that it’s budget was snowballing: it had to set aside as much money in each year’s budget as was uncollected the year before …

“Mr. Schundler broke that cycle …

“He found a way to recoup millions in back taxes the city had failed to collect …

“The plan: Jersey City would bundle delinquent tax liens and sell them in bulk to underwriters for $25 million in cash and a note for $19 million more. The underwriters would issue bonds, to be paid off as they collected back taxes or foreclosed on the properties …

“… [T]he bulk-lien deals dramatically improved the city’s tax collections, as many property owners paid their taxes faster out of fear of foreclosure. For the last four years, the tax collection rate has been better than 99 percent. The city’s reserve for uncollected taxes, meanwhile, is just $2.5 million, down from $25 million in 1993 …

“Henry A. Coleman, director of the Rutgers Center for Government Services, who studied the bulk lien sale, said Mr. Schundler brought many city properties back from tax delinquency. ‘That’s something he deserves credit for.’”

-- The New York Times, October 19


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