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State busts Jersey City, Elizabeth for violating order to reassess properties

Tuesday, May 24, 2016   (0 Comments)
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NJ.com 05/24/16

The state Division of Taxation has declared two of the three municipalities forced to undergo property revaluations in violation of that state order, NJ Advance Media has learned. Jersey City and Elizabeth have missed May deadlines to submit plans to comply with the April order that gives them until November 2017 to conduct revaluations, according to letters obtained by NJ Advance Media that the state sent the cities late last week. The Division of Taxation opened investigations last year into the three municipalities, which were among those that had stalled revaluations the longest, and in April ordered them to conduct revaluations that will redistribute property taxes among their property owners. It marked the first time the state has taken such action in at least four decades.

Dunellen submitted the required compliance plan, but Elizabeth and Jersey City did not meet the May 4 deadline to file a "proposed plan of compliance" that lays out dates for launching a revaluation and hiring an outside firm to do the work. According to the Elizabeth notice, that city submitted a report but didn't provide any projected timeline. "The (revaluation compliance report) is unacceptable because it provides no information and reflects that the city has done nothing to develop a proposed plan to complete the revaluation as ordered," the letter said. "Accordingly, the city is in violation of the order." Jersey City did not file a report, and instead on the day of the deadline requested an in-person meeting with state officials, noting that correspondence "shall confirm that the city of Jersey City is willing to take all necessary action practicable to comply with the April 4, 2016, order."

Both cities have until the end of this week to comply or the state will "take action as we deem appropriate to ensure compliance," according to the letters. City leaders from both Elizabeth and Jersey City decried the initial orderBollwage said a revaluation will cost his city more than $4 million and the state's timeline for completing the process is "unrealistic." Jersey City officials have since agreed to move forward with a revaluation, and Morrill said Monday that the city is simply "waiting for feedback and guidance" from the state.

 


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