Absent legislation to fix this, every municipality faces the prospect of costly annual tax court filings, similar to Hopewell as seen in the Verizon v. Hopewell case.
While the above mentioned litigation was moving forward, over a 10 year span, Verizon and Century Link continued to notify other municipalities that they as the Local Exchange Carriers (ILEC) no longer provided 51% of the dial tone in their municipal service area. Today, there is a minimum of 127 other municipalities in the position of Hopewell Borough, and well over 60 pending trials. All matters in the courts remain in their initial phases and are on hold until the Hopewell Borough’s case is resolved.
Pursuant to current law, if the current course is not altered, each municipality contesting Verizon’s position will be compelled to litigate each tax year as a separate appeal. In theory, Hopewell Borough is looking at ten more separate tax appeals. Multiply that by 60 municipalities having six years of tax appeals pending. Even when the Verizon v. Hopewell case is settled, it might not be the end as Verizon has appealed the final tax court decision, forcing Hopewell to put even more time and finances toward the case.