Council proposes container taxation
As the city seeks to derive between $2 and $4 million in tax revenues from “parked” shipping containers in Port Newark, it’s unclear if Newark residents who live with the view of the containers day in and day out will actually see relief.
The city is seeking to charge shipping companies about a quarter per container, with escalating fees if they remain for more than 30 days, not to exceed 75¢. Stefan Pryor, Newark deputy mayor for economic development, states that the city hopes to clear the land for economic development, but is quoted in the article as saying, “If the container depot is thriving and wants to remain in place, we respect and support that.”
On the outskirts of Port Newark, in the gritty, industrial section of Newark, sit stacks of orange, gray and blue containers that blend into the city’s landscape.
The containers haul millions of dollars of furniture, beer, clothing, paper and other commodities to and from the region every year. But for Newark, the empty ones that linger there for months are potential cash cows that are taking up prime real estate.
Two weeks ago, Assemblywoman Grace Spencer and Assemblyman Albert Coutinho introduced legislation that would authorize Newark to impose a tax on empty shipping containers that sit for more than 30 days. The bill is similar to a proposal that former mayor and state senator Sharpe James introduced in 2004.
“If a parcel of land were to contain a structure instead of containers, that structure would have real estate taxes,” said Stefan Pryor, Newark deputy mayor for economic development. “If it had a surface parking lot, you would have a parking tax and have parking revenue. If containers are parked on a parcel, the city currently yields no revenue other than the land taxes.”