Mapping Abatements in Jersey City

As I explained in my last post, transparency around abatements is finally, slowly, increasing.  As data is unlocked, taxpayers can glean greater insight into how their tax dollars are spent.  To help with this effort, I’ve mapped the 146 abatements from Jersey City’s 2015 “user friendly budget” into an easy-to-use Google map.

Let’s Get Civic with #OpenData

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing more about these abatements and what this data can tell us.  But I’d love others to also dive into the data, using the visual as an aid, to learn more about specific areas of interest, be it affordable housing, traffic, crime, schools, etc.  Getting civic is about sharing knowledge, perspectives, and insights.

How To Use the Map

The map is Google-based, it uses city data, and it is filterable by any field.  You can zoom in and out.

You filter and view the data in a variety of ways.  For instance, the “Abatement Length Filter” color codes the pin drops on the map based on the length of the tax break:

  • 10-19 years: RED pin drop
  • 20-29 years: BLUE pin drop
  • 30 years: GREEN pin drop
  • 30+ years: YELLOW pin drop

And the “Type of Project” filter will update the pin drop color codes based on market rate versus affordable housing:

  • Commercial/Industrial (e.g. market rate abatements): RED pin drop
  • Affordable Housing: BLUE pin drop
  • Other (e.g. PATH-related abatements): GREEN pin drop

Here’s the map (you’ll find another copy of this on here)

View Jersey City Tax Abatements from 2015 Budget in a full screen map

 A Note on the Data

The data underlying the map is available here for download.  It is in Excel format for easy filtering/sorting/grouping/PIVOTing/etc.

Data was pulled from the following sources:

  • The list of PILOTs originated from the user friendly budget which you can download in original format from the city website by clicking here (note: the abatement data is located on the tab titled “UFB-6 Tax Abatements”).
  • A list of condo PILOTs (aka abatements) I received this from the city tax office.  Note: some condo addresses were not provided in the PILOT list provided by the City Tax office. In these instances I did a search on the property name on Google or referred to the property location codified in the abatement ordinance).
  • A list of rental PILOTs (aka abatements). I received this data from the city tax office.

Once the data was compiled, I used this Ward Map (created by the city) to assign a Ward Letter per abatement. This will give taxpayers a sense of abatement data, per Ward.

Let’s Get Civic

My hope is that others in the community will look at, dive into, analyze, and share thoughts about this data.  There may be errors, omissions, and areas for improvement. Please leave a comment or direct message me with feedback or questions.  If you find errors or suggest ways to improve the map, you’ll get a big thank you on!

My interest is public education and how it’s funded.  Others may be interested in affordable housing, crime, traffic, infrastructure, green building, etc.  Let’s crowdsource the topic of abatements and learn together.

Additional map on the way…

And stay tuned…I have a second map on the way that will show abatements approved by the current city council…these are developments that may not yet be included in the user friendly budget, but are approved for development.  Council votes, density per abatement, jobs created per abatement, and other details will be included. So stay civic and tuned in!

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