Roselle property sale to recover ‘untapped’ revenue

ROSELLE — Mayor Jamel Holley is planning a sale of buildable, borough-owned properties to generate revenue for the municipality’s coffers.
When Holley came into office last year at the top of his list of priorities was a review of all borough-owned vacant properties that possibly could generate money for the municipality. He kept his word and discovered the borough actually was sitting on a lot of revenue.

“For many years the borough has been acquiring these properties because they were abandoned, foreclosed or had liens placed on them by us for one reason or another,” Holley explained Tuesday in an interview.

“What we want to do is get these properties developed and back on the tax rolls so they are generating revenue for the borough,” the mayor added.

Holley said he put together a team of people, including special redevelopment attorney Keith Barrack, Economic Development Coordinator Colleen Mahr and others so these properties do not linger on a back shelf any longer.

In fact, after looking into the matter, Holley found the borough owned at least 100 pieces of land, 12 of which are going up for sale July 16. However, those interested in getting a shot at bidding on these residential properties need to obtain a Request for Proposal at borough hall and pay a $25 fee.

The 12 lots, located in the 2nd ward, are predominantly zoned for single family residential use, except for two. One, for instance, could be used for mixed use, such as retail, office and residential, while the other qualifies as a two-family home or light industrial use.
All the lots up for sale are clean and ready to be developed, Holley said, which is precisely why the borough decided to put out a request for proposals from developers.

The sale of these properties also would reduce the burden on borough employees who must remove snow in winter, mow the lots in spring and summer and remove leaves in the fall.

“This will free up our Department of Public Works to do other work that is needed in the borough,” Holley said.
The borough will hold a pre-proposal conference June 18 to address any questions prospective bidders have about the purchase or development of these properties.

Most of the properties are 40 by 100, but several are larger. For instance, there is a 100 by 100 lot on East 9th street that is zoned for a three-family residence, while another on Morris Street is 80 by 100 and zoned for mixed use. Still another, also on Morris Street, is 60 by 100 and zoned for a two-family or “flex-industry.”

Other properties, mostly 40 by 100, are located on east 10th Street, Thompson Avenue, Chandler Avenue, Spruce Street, Warren Street and Frank Streets.

After the sale of these properties is completed Holley has other plans for generating revenue as well.
“Most towns are sitting on old fines and court judgements that they never collected, which for Roselle would amount to around $250,000,” the mayor said, adding that now the state allows municipalities to hire a third party collector to do this job.

“This is where towns like Roselle can make our ends meet fiscally, by finding revenue that has been sitting there untapped,” added Holley.