Thursday, November 12, 2015

HUMC, other hospitals finally address what ails taxpayers

A Joseph M. Sanzari Inc. company vehicle in Hackesnack, where the Children's Hospital at Hackesnack University Medical Center bears the name of the construction magnate.


As Hackensack University Medical Center gobbled up the neighborhood around it, the property tax burden on every resident of the city grew heavier.

As a non-profit, hundreds of millions of dollars in HUMC property is tax-exempt, shifting the burden to home and business owners.

Today's front-page story in The Record on property tax deals with non-profit hospitals only mentions HUMC in passing.

Perfect together?

The newspaper and the hospital have a long relationship, including the years Jennifer A. Borg sat on the hospital board, and HUMC advertising appeared regularly on

Borg is general counsel of North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, which was headquartered in Hackensack for more than 110 years.

She is the older sister of Publisher Stephen A. Borg and daughter of NJMG Chairman Malcolm A. Borg.

The Record's coverage of HUMC expansion in its residential neighborhood was far less extensive than later coverage of The Valley Hospital's building plans. 

That was the case even though the Ridgewood hospital would be building within its existing campus.

In Hackensack, HUMC took a lot of residential property, including a Prospect Avenue home that housed a famous jazz studio where Thelonious Monk recorded "Hackensack" in 1954.

In recent years, the hospital has ignored Hackensack Police Director Mike Mordaga, who asked for the assignment of medical staff to the county shelter on South River Street to eliminate police having to take so many homeless people to the emergency room at city expense.

Neglected story

Since I moved to Hackensack in 2007, today's story may be only the first or second in The Record to discuss the burden on property tax payers of the hospital's non-profit status.

And there hasn't been any mention of two other huge Hackensack non-profits, Bergen County and Fairleigh Dickinson University, that aggravate the problem.

Nor has the Woodland Park daily reported on residents who have called on city officials to negotiate with the non-profits for regular payments or services in lieu of taxes. 

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