Letter to the Editor: Superintendent Explains Impact of PILOT on School Budget

To the Editor:

At the September 24 township committee meeting, Superintendent Tom Smith put to rest claims that a PILOT somehow takes money from the schools. At that meeting, Mayor Kevin Kuchinski shared a PowerPoint of a memo from Dr. Smith that explains how a municipality’s PILOT agreement with a taxpayer has zero effect on the school budget.

In his memo, Dr. Smith said: “The PILOT does not factor into our decision-making or budget development.” In fact, he explained that the district administration determines how much they need; the school board approves the budget, and the district receives the exact amount budgeted so long as it is within cap. How the township raises its tax money has nothing to do with the school budget.

Readers should regard any description of the $110 million PILOT agreement recently approved by the Hopewell Township Committee as taking money from area schools as patently false. The presence or absence of a PILOT does not affect the school budget. Period.

Amie Rukenstein

Hopewell Township

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