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N.J to order property tax-changing revaluations in 3 municipalities

Monday, April 4, 2016   (0 Comments)
Share | 4/4/2016

The state on Monday (April 4) will order three New Jersey municipalities that have not revalued property in at least a quarter century to conduct revaluations that will affect property taxes for thousands of residents. NJ Advance Media has learned. State officials will take the action against Jersey City, Elizabeth and Dunellen, which they say have defied the state Constitution’s calls for fair and uniform assessments. The municipalities will have until November 2017 to complete revaluations according to a source who is not authorized to speak publically and requested anonymity. The assessed value of home is used to help determine property tax bills. But property values change over time, and when governments stall revaluations, some taxpayers wind up paying too much and others pay too little. Fixing that through revaluations after a long period of time, however, can mean big tax increases for longtime residents. The conventional wisdom in property revaluations that taxes will go down for a third of property owners and go up for a third. Jersey City, the state's second-largest city and undergoing a population and real estate boom, hasn't conducted a revaluation in 27 years. The taxable value of its properties in 2015, about $6 billion, is just 27.6 percent of its $21.6 billion estimated market value. Elizabeth hasn’t updated its assessments in 39 years and Dunellen in 33. In all, 32 towns, boroughs, townships and cities across the state haven’t revalued or reassessed in at least 25 years.  The state Division of Taxation also plans to investigate Westfield, Roselle and Winfield in Union County; South River in Middlesex County; and East Newark and Harrison in Hudson County, according to the person familiar with the state's investigations. Those who expressed support for a revaluation said some owners aren’t paying their fair share and property taxes are out of whack. Others at the hearing worried about longtime residents’ whose tax bills may balloon because their property values increased on paper. Michael Darcy, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said the state’s intervention wouldn’t be out of line, as state officials already closely scrutinize local government’s budgets and finances. The state's announcement four months ago was also a shot across the bow to county tax boards in Union, Middlesex and Hudson counties. All but four of the 32 municipalities that haven't reassessed or held revaluations in 25 or more years are in Hudson, Union or Middlesex counties, according to state records. 

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