Verizon Should Pay Phone Tax, Hopatcong Officials Say
Company challenging annual payment that provides borough $30K each year.
The Borough Council Wednesday fired off two resolutions in support of bills in the state legislature aimed at maintaining an income tax paid by Verizon.
The tax, Borough Administrator Robert Elia said, has been in place for years and paid the borough $30,000 annually.
It was charged to Verizon as the local telephone system provider. But Verizon challenged the tax in court by suing Hopewell Township.
Hopatcong was part of that suit with about 100 other municipalities, Elia said. The state Supreme Court refused to hear the case, he said.
Verizon must pay the tax if it provided 51 percent of the borough’s phone service, Elia said. The company contested the figure based on the increased use of cell phones, Internet and cable phone services, which diminish Verizon’s share of the market.
Elia said two bills, one each on the Senate and the Assembly, are designed to address the issue.
Councilman Richard Bunce suggested the council send resolutions of support for the bills to Sussex County’s legislators, which was approved.
In other business, Councilwoman Marie Galate said the farmers market will open June 16. Letters have been sent to existing vendors and potentially new vendors.
The council awarded a $143,823 contract to Cypreco Industries of Neptune to rehabilitate the senior center. The funds will be paid through a $146,000 grant from the state Department of Community Affairs.
The council approved spending $234,493 for emergency generators for the municipal building, the senior center and fire houses three and four. The contractor is Envirocon LLC of Hackettstown.
The funds will come from Public Service Gas and Electric and existing borough funds, Elia said.
A generator that had been given to the borough by Union County College has been sold because it could not be converted from national gas to propane, Councilman Michael Francis said.