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Sports authority approves settlement with East Rutherford over property-tax dispute

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The state agency overseeing the Meadowlands Sports Complex approved a settlement today in a dispute with East Rutherford, which sought for three years to collect property taxes on the New York Giants' training facility on the grounds.

Under the agreement, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority will pay the borough between $200,000 and $250,000 annually, agency officials said today at its monthly board meeting. East Rutherford will get the payment in addition to a share of the payments the state receives from the New York Giants and Jets under an agreement related to MetLife Stadium.

The settlement resolves a dispute that festered since around 2010, when the stadium opened. East Rutherford officials have sought to assess taxes on the Giants facility, known until recently as the Timex Performance Center.

But the sports authority had held that state law exempts it from such taxes and requires it to make payments in lieu of taxes, said Ralph Marra, NJSEA's senior vice president for legal and governmental affairs. Speaking to board members, he called it "a very good settlement for everybody."

"It basically preserves our tax immunity for every structure on the site right now," Marra said, including the new grandstand that will open next month at the Meadowlands Racetrack, the training facility and the stadium.

The settlement was first reported by The Record after being approved Wednesday night by East Rutherford borough officials.

The deal also absolves the authority of an obligation to loan East Rutherford $8.6 million for infrastructure improvements tied to the long-stalled project once known as Xanadu, Marra said. The obligation was put in place under a deal involving the prior developers of the hulking retail and entertainment complex.

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