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Messages - hackensack_newbie

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I've seen Frankie up every year around this time for the past 3 years. I'm surprised that sign hasn't been stolen...most folks ignore it.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: New tenant at Holy Trinity School
« on: October 12, 2011, 08:19:31 AM »
Seems to be grades 7 thru 9 according to the admission application form.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Any recommendations for Main Street restaurants?
« on: September 26, 2011, 04:32:10 PM »
I'm a big fan of Bangkok Garden, especially their massamon. Their pad thai is also delicious. They're between Salem and Camden.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Property Taxes
« on: September 13, 2011, 09:45:36 AM »
So I still can't get over Hackensack's recent tax rate increase, and either folks aren't aware, just don't care, or simply accept it. I haven't found much online either except for the story below. Seems like all the focus was on the citywide reassessment, but I think that was more of a distraction. In speaking to my neighbors, I learned that their property tax bill also increased. They hadn't even looked at their tax rate. I wonder if the county or even the state monitors local property tax rates. This is probably one of the reasons NJ has the highest property taxes in the country -- the proper monitoring and controls are simply not in place.

Real Estate March 22, 2011, 6:45PM EST
Property Taxes Reach the Breaking Point
Local governments are raising property taxes to plug budget gaps as home values fall—and voters are getting sick of it

By Venessa Wong

It really costs to own a home these days. Not only have home values fallen, leaving nearly one-quarter of residential mortgages under water, but also, local governments around the country have increased property taxes to make up for declining revenue from other sources.

Homeowners now give a slightly bigger portion of their earnings to property taxes—which mainly go to public schools, with the rest going to government operations and other public services—than before the recession. The Tax Foundation, a Washington (D.C.) research organization that advocates for lower taxes, estimates that 3.5 percent of household income went to property taxes in 2009, compared with 2.9 percent in 2005. The median property taxes paid on homes increased to $1,917 in 2009 from $1,614 in 2005.

How much is too much? In Miami-Dade County, taxpayers have had enough. Angered by a property tax hike amid plunging real estate values, as well as a pay raise to county employees and a new $600 million stadium for the Florida Marlins, 88 percent of 204,500 people voted to oust Mayor Carlos Alvarez in a recall election on Mar. 15.

Miami-Dade residents pay the most property tax in Florida: a median $2,600 per year, according to the Tax Foundation, citing the average median real estate taxes paid annually from 2005 to 2009 in U.S. Census Bureau reports. Last year, Mayor Alvarez pushed for a 14 percent property tax rate increase to help fill a $444 million budget hole.

"It's not proper to increase taxes by $178 million [in] this community—while over 50 percent or close to 50 percent of [homeowners] here owe more money than their homes are worth," Norman Braman, the billionaire car dealer who led the recall effort, told reporters.
Stable Source of Revenue

Property taxes grew significantly in the recession, according to the Tax Foundation. Nationwide, state and local revenue from property taxes totaled nearly $474.2 billion in the 12 months ended September 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, up 38.8 percent from the same period in fiscal 2005. Corporate net income tax fell 10.3 percent in the same 2010 period, while total state and local tax revenue rose 15.7 percent.

"Property taxes tend to be the more stable revenue source," says Mark Robyn, an economist at the Tax Foundation. Local governments "can set their rate every year. Property tax policy is very flexible for local governments."

New Jersey residents pay the most residential property tax in the U.S.: an average $7,576 last year, up 78.7 percent from 1999, according to data from the state's Department of Community Affairs. Homeowners in Millburn Township paid an average $19,441, the most among major towns in the state.

Among the more than 3,100 counties in the U.S., Hunterdon County, N.J., had the highest median real estate taxes per year— $8,216—from 2005 to 2009, according to a Tax Foundation report. Other counties with high taxes in the five-year period: Nassau County, N.Y., where homeowners paid $8,206, and Westchester County, N.Y., where median property taxes on homes were $8,160. (One-year data show Hunterdon ranked fourth in 2009, after Westchester County, Nassau County, and New Jersey's Bergen County.)

Upset voters in various parts of country have resisted the recent tax hikes—though not always with the same result as in Miami. In Chattanooga, Mayor Ron Littlefield's push for a 19 percent property tax increase sparked a recall effort by the Chattanooga Tea Party and other groups, which failed in 2010. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle has raised property taxes a total of 15 percent, also leading to a recall election this past January that failed to remove him from office. In Jersey City, the municipal tax rate has increased 84 percent since 2005, but efforts to recall Mayor Jerramiah Healy fell through in February.

Last year, New Jersey lawmakers capped property tax increases by local governments at 2 percent.
Schools Seek More Funding

About half of property tax revenue goes to public elementary and secondary schools, according to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a think tank in Cambridge, Mass. Public elementary and secondary schools get about 43.5 percent of revenue from local and intermediate sources. State sources provide 48.3 percent, and the remaining 8.2 percent comes from federal sources, according to National Center for Education Statistics 2007 to 2008 estimates.

"From a political standpoint, pressure to provide adequate funding of schools and pressure to provide property tax relief are often intertwined," states a report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. "Taxpayers who want to see reductions in their property tax liabilities sometimes press state government for particular school finance restructuring measures."

While residents battle tax hikes, some school boards say avoiding increases will lead to job losses. In Georgia, Chickamauga city councilmen voted for a 17 percent property tax increase in October to generate about $200,000 for schools. In South Portland, Me., the South Portland School Dept. proposed a budget that increases taxes to avoid losing 21 full time positions (including two teaching jobs) next year. In Austin, Tex., the teachers union is discussing a tax increase because the Austin Independent School District may cut $94 million from its budget.

As state-level funding fell around the country, many school districts relied on money from the $100 billion federal stimulus in 2009 as well as increased property tax revenue. Yet with most of the stimulus used up now and many taxpayers reluctant to accept more tax increases, schools may have to adjust to a lower level of spending.

"This might be a longer-term situation where there will be more control on school spending," says Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Unfortunately for schools in need of funds, until the real estate market recovers some value and the economy improves, homeowners may continue to fight back against city hall.

Click here to see which county in each state pays the most property tax.

Wong is a lifestyle and real estate reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: RSS feeds
« on: September 08, 2011, 04:11:10 PM »
It's pretty easy to add an RSS feed to iGoogle, although it's hidden for some reason. You have to hit the "Add Gadgets" button, which will take you to the gadgets directory. At the bottom of the left navigation bar, there's a link for adding feeds.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: RSS feeds
« on: September 08, 2011, 02:45:49 PM »
Works pretty well in iGoogle. I'm still trying to figure out the contents of the feed. Is it basically the latest postings rather than unread posts since my last visit?

Hackensack Discussion / Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« on: August 30, 2011, 10:56:01 PM »
Sounds like this is bad news. Although I don't live in the immediate vicinity (I'm closer to Spring Valley), I'm around Prospect almost on a daily basis, either visiting someone, waiting for the bus, or just driving through. I plan on attending the September 15th meeting to show my support for the opposition. I agree with Just Watching that everyone should say something.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Property Taxes
« on: August 21, 2011, 09:32:43 PM »
Why is Hackensack paying more per dollar? We are home to all these businesses plus we are the county seat. You'd think we'd get a break because of this. I have friends in other areas of Bergen that pay less taxes than me, yet they have larger homes, lot sizes, and better ranking school systems.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: good/bad areas of hackensack?
« on: August 19, 2011, 05:29:46 PM »
Hi Edwin,

I've only lived in Hackensack/Bergen for 3 years. Before that, I used to live in Hudson County, so I feel that this is a "step up" for me. It's certainly a nicer area with less crime. However, from what I've heard, Railroad Ave. is one of those areas you want to stay away from. The Anderson area is ok, but I certainly wouldn't go for a stroll at night, particularly around the train station. The corner of Main and Anderson where Sears is looks to be fine, but then there's not much to do there unless you're shopping at Sears. As for Main itself, I would feel safe parking and eating at a local restaurant, but I've never walked on Main, so I can't comment on what the ambience is there.

I think general rule of thumb as explained to me is that Hackensack is nicer and safer north of Anderson and west of Prospect.

I have altered the subject because people are asking is the tax rate went up while their assessments went down. It certainly seems so. Some residential owners with lower assessments are paying higher taxes well above 2.5% and as higher as 9% higher tax bill, even with a lower assessment... , but especially  commercial properties have risen well above 3% and in some cases as high as 15%..?  Am I mistaken?

Hi, I'm new to this board and only in Hackensack for the past three years. I have an interest in this subject, but it would seem that the majority don't, unless they are posting elsewhere. I too noticed that the tax rate increased -- by around 27%. That's a bit shocking to me. I only noticed because my taxes went up 5% this year even though my assessment was lowered by 17%. I would imagine that most homeowners saw a reduction in their taxes, and that's why no one's really noticed.

Has the tax rate jumped this much before? Does it ever fall? What will happen when home values begin to increase? It's all very worrisome to me...

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