Hackensack, NJ Community Message Boards

General Category => Hackensack Discussion => Topic started by: wetochwink on May 10, 2005, 09:39:05 AM

Title: Property Taxes
Post by: wetochwink on May 10, 2005, 09:39:05 AM
Whatever the outcome of today's mayor and council race - its time to move on to the next election race - Governor.  NJPolitics.com provides links to all who are running.

Since hardly anyone running for Mayor / Council focused on issues such as property taxes, I thought it was worth bringing to focus a political race that will.

I'm trying to gather any or all information regarding property taxes from candidates wanting to run for governor. 

The more I look into this - property taxes appear to be a Republican issue in the race for governor.  With Corizine appearing to be the only front runner for the Democrats - I don't any statements on the issue by Senator Corizine from his web site.

I guess since Gov. Codey eliminated the property tax rebate this fall - its no wonder why Republicans are raising the issue.

Doug Forrester


I know its early to pick who to vote for, but Forrester sure knows how to grab one's attention. I thought the savings calculator was interesting to share. It may be nonsense and then again it may not be.

Bret Schindler - Property Tax Amendment Reform

After plugging in values for Bergen County and Hackensack the following was provided on Schindler's web site.

Stand Up for Hackensack!

It’s time we demand that our community receive its fair share of state funding!

Every year, as New Jersey’s economy grows, state tax collections grow.

State politicians spend these new dollars creating new state programs and adding friends to the state payroll.

Legislation being debated in Trenton would force state politicians to start sending a fair share of these new dollars to public schools, municipalities and counties to improve local services and lower property taxes.

Studies show the passage of this legislation would cause property taxes all throughout New Jersey to fall year after year after year.

Had these “Permanent Property Tax Reduction Amendments” been passed last year:

Hackensack’s public schools would already be receiving $4,403,279.93 more in state funding;

Hackensack’s municipal government would already be receiving $4,474,098.08 more in state funding;

Hackensack’s tax obligation to Bergen County would already have been reduced by  $580,731.14 this year; 

And Hackensack’s property owners and tenants would already be enjoying $9,458,109.15 in total property tax savings!

Most property owners in New Jersey would have saved about 10% in property taxes this year. To find out what YOUR personal savings would have been, type your address into our Tax Savings Calculator at www.bret2005.com.

If you want lower property taxes, it is time to stand up for Hackensack and demand that our community receive its fair share of state funding!

John Murphy


Robert Schroeder


Our property taxes continue to skyrocket, rising out of control. Yet, the career politicians who fail to address the problem remain in office year after year.

As a local elected official and fiscal conservative, I know first hand that quick fix budgets and funding gimmicks (like bonding and tax increases) are useless. Until you cut costs, eliminate waste, and curb the political abuse of taxpayer dollars, property taxes will continue to rise.

I am an ardent supporter of shared administrative services among municipalities looking to lower their property taxes and plan to utilize cost cutting measures like this to create savings. Sharing staff and administrative duties, coordinated purchasing of supplies, and sharing public works, employees and equipment all create tremendous savings. Without ever touching local emergency services, we can accumulate substantial savings in the payroll, benefit and financing costs that make up a big chunk of local budgets.

Most importantly, we must eliminate the political deals and no-bid insider contracts that drive up the cost of government. It's time to throw the career politicians out and save taxpayer's more of their hard earned money.


Title: Re: Property Taxes - Governors Race
Post by: Editor on March 23, 2006, 03:55:52 PM
Latest story: Hackensack budget holds 9% tax increase (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk1MSZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NjkwMTk3MSZ5cmlyeTdmNzE3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTM=)

Related topic: How about that 4.5% tax increase? (http://www.hackensacknow.org/forums/index.php/topic,252.0.html)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 31, 2006, 09:00:41 AM
Latest story: Budget boosts school tax bill (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTA3NTA0)

See related post: BOE- Priming the Pump (http://www.hackensacknow.org/forums/index.php/topic,393.0.html) (From last year)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on March 31, 2006, 02:20:52 PM
Any idea on when the re-evaluation results will be ready? Between those results and the recent news here, I wonder if any of us can afford to keep living in Hackensack. I'm already paying over $7100 on a small cape which is rediculous!
Title: Property Tax Forum
Post by: Editor on October 10, 2006, 09:35:15 AM

A property tax forum sponsored the District 37 state legislators is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. today on Fairleigh Dic kinson University's Hackensack campus.

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, and Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, and Gordon Johnson, D-Englewood, will be on hand to listen to ideas about property tax reform.

The discussion will be held in Dic kinson Hall, 140 University Plaza Drive. For more information, call 201-541-1118 or 201-928-0100.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on October 13, 2006, 09:42:34 AM
Latest story:  McNerney, Caliguire square off over taxes (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDA0Nzc1)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on January 10, 2007, 09:32:33 AM
Latest story:  Property-tax burden depends on income (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NzA1NDcwOA==)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on January 15, 2007, 10:26:36 AM
Has anyone else received their new assessments yet? Mine went up 2.41 times the current assessed rate. Also, when do we find out the new tax rate???
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: itsme on January 17, 2007, 12:22:40 PM
I received my new assessment.  My property value went up 3 times as much.  I called the assessor's office and was told that we would not know the new rate until the school board budget was decided.  I was also told that the new tax bill would come out in May.  However, if anyone wants to appeal the assessment, the appeal must be filed prior to April 1.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on January 18, 2007, 09:40:55 AM
From today's "Your Views" in The Record:

Contributing Editor James Ahearn ("Pressing for property-tax relief," Opinion, Page O-2, Jan.14) suggests that conflicting interests between seniors on fixed incomes and parents of school-age children will, among other factors, inhibit the resolution of the New Jersey property tax di- lemma.

He also indicates a potential for division between municipalities and their employees if towns cannot increase tax revenues because of Governor Corzine's proposed tax cap. It is unlikely that in an election year any Legislature would restrict the raising of funds that substantially pay for education and municipal services. Such a restriction may provoke teachers and municipal workers into acts of labor unrest and even political retribution.

If property tax reform is to become a reality, then we must look to the state income tax for a solution. The present system based on property assessment does not distinguish between rich and poor and incorrectly views them as equals.

A fair and reasonable approach is to require those with the highest incomes to pay a higher state income tax. The state could use that money to help finance education, thus reducing property taxes.

Jack Isaacs

Hackensack, Jan. 14

I have been following with amusement the bantering of our elected officials on property tax reform ("New hurdle to tax relief: caps on local spending," Page A-1, Jan. 4).

The approaches being proposed will do little to reduce the never-ending increases in property taxes. As your articles have shown, the two biggest items driving property taxes upward are the increasing salaries and benefits for police and teachers. Since the rate of increase of these two items is not likely to decrease due to the power of their unions, the only realistic way to reduce property taxes is to fund these items via a broad-based tax such as the income tax.

Spending caps coupled with the 20 percent tax reduction proposed by Governor Corzine will accomplish little, buying just a little time after which we would be back to Square One.

The property tax is fundamentally a tax on real estate, which is not really indicative of wealth (i.e., ability to pay). One could hold millions of dollars in cash, stocks, bonds, jewelry, works of art, etc., and not pay a dime annually in property taxes if one rents a modest house or apartment. Income is a much better indicator of one's ability to pay. Ask the federal government.

John V. Albano

Oradell, Jan. 8

New Jersey voters sent a clear message when they rejected half of all school budgets in April: They want tax relief.

One way to bring tax relief to property owners is to switch from property taxes to an earned income tax to pay for education.

It is the fairest system based on "ability to pay." Lower-income households would keep most of what they earn while higher-income recipients can afford to pay more.

Everyone who earns an income, including renters, would contribute directly to the education of our communities' youngsters. Some would argue renters already pay property taxes in the rent they pay their landlords. But they are not contributing to schools at the same rate as owner-occupied residents.

Property taxes keep going up for retirees living on fixed incomes. Why should older folks who own property have to pay for the education of renters' kids? At some point, retirees deserve a break after having paid school taxes for 30 to 40 years.

Jim Geist

Hewitt, Jan. 1
Title: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on January 23, 2007, 10:04:19 AM
Latest story:  Home values up by 2.7 times, appraisal firm tells Hackensack (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDYzNjIz)
Title: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on February 01, 2007, 11:47:17 AM
Latest story: Silver lining for homeowners (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyMSZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NzA2ODkwNg==)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on February 07, 2007, 09:36:40 AM
From Today's North Jersey Brief's in the The Record:

HACKENSACK -- Informal meetings on the city's reevaluation have come to an end, and postcards notifying property owners of their new assessments are scheduled to go out next week, officials said.

City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono told the council this week that fewer owners than expected requested meetings to discuss their new assessments.

"It went a lot smoother than what everyone had anticipated,'' Lo Iacono said.

Lo Iacono said the new assessments have been sent to the county, and once they are certified, postcards will be mailed.

Once property owners receive the cards, they have 45 days to appeal to the county.

Surveys indicate that Hackensack's taxable properties were assessed at only 45.7 percent of market value before the revaluation.

-- Monsy Alvarado

See also: N.J. tax reform headed to governor (http://philadelphia.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2007/02/05/daily32.html?t=printable)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on February 27, 2007, 11:18:51 AM
Now that Hackensack will be getting an increase of 12% in school aid (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk0JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDg0NjQ1), do you think that the school end of the tax bill will go down, remain the same, or rise? Also, does anyone know when voting on the school budget is? Cross you fingers this year everyone....
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on March 28, 2007, 09:55:16 AM
Did anyone see in The Record today that the municipal budget is going up 8.7%?!? Even better, the budget relies on taxpayers paying 13.9% more than last year!!!!!!!! And this doesn't even include school or county taxes!!!!!!!!!! I'd like to thank everyone who voted the whole slate of New Visions in on the last municipal election rather than choosing candidates from multiple slates. Now can I borrow some spare change...maybe a few hundred or so?!?!?!?!?
Title: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 28, 2007, 10:25:29 AM
The article about the budget is here (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk0JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MTAxMDk3). 

Scroll down to "Hackensack".
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on April 05, 2007, 11:14:08 AM
Does anyone know when we find out the proposed school budget number so that we have an idea what this will cost the taxpayers before we go to the polls on the 17th? Also, is anyone going to the Public Hearing on the budget on May 8th? I'd like to see as many people go down there to voice their displeasure with this ridiculous budget (especially during a revaluation)!
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on May 09, 2007, 08:01:44 AM
Did anyone go to the meeting last night? I was unable to and was wondering what was said about the tax increase during the reval year.....
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on May 10, 2007, 08:55:51 AM
Latest story:  Homeowners' rate rounded up for funds (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyMiZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NzEzMTM5Mw==)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on July 18, 2007, 02:08:09 PM
Does anyone know when the new rate will be ready? I saw someone post on NJ.COM that it will be 1.95.....any truth to this?
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Netnick on August 22, 2007, 09:19:42 PM
Did everyone receive their new tax bills? I see the new rate is 1.99. What does everyone think?
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on August 23, 2007, 09:55:03 AM
Mine only went up $458 dollars. I'm happy.  All that worrying for nothing. 
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Skipx219 on August 23, 2007, 01:31:54 PM
Mine went up 24% - an increase of $ 1651.80 and I am NOT happy.
I've spoken to several people who's Taxes went down. I'm told that the house on the N.E. corner of Summit & Anderson almost doubled.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: itsme on August 31, 2007, 11:22:30 PM
Mine went up more than $1,000.  I am not happy.  I have not met anyone whose taxes have gone down.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: itsme on September 05, 2007, 05:54:29 PM
I attended the City Council meeting last night.  There were many in attendance with questions regarding their taxes.  While the City Manager treated people with respect when answering their questions, I felt Mr. McAuliffe did not take the matter seriously.  In fact, it appeared as if he took it as a joke.  Several from the community commented upon this.  While Mr. McAuliffe was not elected (to which he reminded everyone serveral times), this is a serious matter and should be handled as such. 
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on September 05, 2007, 07:06:23 PM
I attended the meeting also.  Councilman McAuliffe can defend himself but, from where I was sitting (front and center) it appeared to me that he took the matter seriously.  Some people in the audience took any hint of a smile as cause for accusation. The Councilman smiled. Things aren't always what they seem to be.

I met someone today on Euclid who's taxes went down a few bucks. While few people will argue that we shouldn't have waited so long to do the revaluation, it seems that the burden was redistributed.  People's taxes now reflect the actual value of their property. If they don't, then owners should appeal the assessment.   

www.zillow.com will tell you the new assessments for any given property and also tell you what homes sold for in the surrounding area.

For some reason, Bergen County GIS still shows the old assessment: http://gis.co.bergen.nj.us/hackensack/viewer.asp
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on September 13, 2007, 08:48:33 AM
Article: New Census Data Shows Where Property Taxes Hit Homeowners Hardest (http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/22607.html)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on October 11, 2007, 09:49:17 AM
Latest story: New Jerseyans Are 'Movin' Out' (http://campaignsandelections.com/NJ/articles/?ID=776)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on February 26, 2008, 03:11:30 PM
Record article: Hackensack Revaluation: Tax update boosts burden on lower-end homes (http://www.northjersey.com/news/A_hard_punch_to_the_wallet.html)

Interactive maps showing tax change from 2006-2007:

North section map (http://smaps.northjersey.com/2008/Hackensacknorth/map/index.php)
South section map (http://smaps.northjersey.com/2008/Hackensacksouth/map/index.php)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on February 26, 2008, 09:35:57 PM
I reviewed that maps and I think that the tax reassessment fairly and accurately reflected market conditions at the time of the reassessment.  Most properties on Summit and Prospect Ave appreciated faster than the rest of the Fairmount Section, and they got tax increases.  The quality of life in the city's working class neighborhoods have improved significantly, which is the result of home improvements, demolition of old structures, and new construction. Nobody should be surprised that houses on Berry Street, or Park Street, or most of the First Ward, have appreciated MORE than the rest of the city, on average.  Those neighborhoods have improved.  That's why assessments there have skyrocketed.  Nor is it a surprise that the tax burden has shifted away from commercial and industrial properties.  We all know that the boom was in residential real estate more than non-residential...DUH !!!!

What's unfair is that property values have gone down since the reassessment was completed, and do not reflect the current values now in February 2008. That is true all across the city.  All homeowners, working class to middle-upper class, are suffering equally.  Property values have gone down, but the city's budget has not.  This creates a budget crisis.

We're going to have a repeat of the early 1990's, in which thousands of property owners petition for tax appeals, AND WIN.  This will AGAIN create a budget crisis of great consequence, because the city budget is not going to go down along with property values after tax appeals.

And here's the irony, there was a full re-evaluation in 1987. That re-evaluation was also was done the very year that the real estate market peaked.  Wow, history has really chosen to repeat.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: irons35 on February 27, 2008, 09:54:56 AM
the map is wrong in regards to at least 1 property.  20 Prospect Ave paid over 2.6 million in tax last year.  the map shows it as exempt.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on February 28, 2008, 08:49:35 AM
Property Taxes Double For Some N.J. Homeowners (http://wcbstv.com/topstories/property.tax.hackensack.2.664405.html) (CBS News)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 06, 2008, 08:53:51 AM
Tax update reveals city’s two sides (http://hackensackchronicle.com/NC/0/110.html)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on April 26, 2008, 09:19:49 PM
Judge: Hackensack can't cut tax assessor's salary (http://www.northjersey.com/news/crimeandcourts/18235449.html)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on August 01, 2010, 10:01:57 AM
Next year's property tax cap already creating worries for North Jersey towns, homeowners
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Last updated: Sunday August 1, 2010, 9:40 AM
The Record

Taxpayers across the state have Sunday's date marked on their calendars: Property tax bills are due. At least, they're supposed to be.

But with a last-minute state budget and, in the case of more than 100 New Jersey towns, still no budget at all, some taxpayers are getting a brief reprieve.

And when those bills do arrive many are dealing with a common feeling: sticker shock.

Garry Wright, a Ringwood resident, had not checked his most recent tax bill until a reporter called Friday. Wright said his taxes went up nearly $2,000 in 2010 for his 4,600-square-foot home on Crescent Drive.

"Now that I've actually checked it, I'm flabbergasted," said Wright, 50, a chief technology officer.

Wright said high taxes were a burden for him, his wife and three children. "We're struggling to pay anything at this point," he said.

Governor Christie has promised that his 2 percent cap on municipal property tax increases will lessen the pain next year, but that has also led many towns to lay in wait, as they fear that a difficult budget year will be followed by an impossible one.

"We're fearful, no doubt," Hackensack City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono said. "It's going to be a challenge."

For now, towns are mostly free to raise taxes on their residents ac cording to need. But Lo Iacono said that doesn't mean that towns have been preemptively filling their coffers ahead of next year's harder tax cap. There are too many existing city obligations for one thing, and weary taxpayers for another, he said.

"You can't even think about that," Lo Iacono said. "They're al ready paying enough. This year we tried to put it as close to the mark as we could."

That meant an average municipal tax increase of around 7 per cent in Hackensack, higher than what other municipalities have done in North Jersey. Some, like Lodi, projected no municipal property tax increase for home owners. In the city of Passaic, a considerable local tax increase was still not enough to save the jobs of 18 police officers, who were laid off.

It didn't take much for taxpayers to notice.
Vicious cycle

David Grubin of Passaic pays $12,000 a year in property taxes of all stripes, a number he said is up 8 percent from last year.

"As more houses go into default, more houses go into foreclosure and people aren't paying their taxes or are paying it late, less money's going to the city coffers," Grubin added. "More stores go out of business and less revenue comes into the city, and the taxes go up. Now they're in a bigger hole."

Joel Langschultz, 55, of Woodcliff Lake said his property taxes increased $900 this year. He just got his tax bill this week and estimated that he pays more than $15,000 annually.

"It's through the roof. It's crazy," said Langschultz, an electrician. "When I moved here in 2001, it was $8,000. What are we getting for our taxes? I sound depressed, but that's because I am about it."

A spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs said the state does not track tax increases for municipal governments until the end of the year. The DCA does, however, require towns to submit their budgets within days of completion, which can give some indication who is still behind.

In Bergen County, for example, that means more than a dozen towns still haven't signed off on a budget for this year, seven months into it, according to state records. Tax collectors in those towns can choose between sending out estimated tax bills, or, in some cases, no tax bills, while they wait for the town council to catch up.

"It's just ridiculous," Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle said.

His city is planning to finally pass its budget this month, and was forced to send out estimated tax bills in June, projecting a municipal increase of about 3 percent. "We should be rolling up our sleeves and doing our jobs. ... The city of Englewood has so many assets, and our taxes really should be lower."

Huttle said that those tax bills the city ended up sending out may ultimately be higher than the real number for residents because they are based on last year's rates. Late or estimated, August can be a confusing time for taxpayers across North Jersey, since many times an invoice in the mail may come as a shock.

"They were very late, so it's hard to prepare for them," said Eileen Lehault, a teacher in Wayne. Lehault said her property taxes have increased about $900 for the year, and $225 for the quarter. "However, I think it's important for the administration to make wise choices about the way the money is spent."

Renters may also be indirectly feeling the pinch. Nat Schatzof, 91, of Hackensack, said that his rent, now $1,252 a month for a one bedroom, has been sharply rising for years.

"I didn't expect to live this long, you know what I mean?" Schatzof, a retired postal worker, said, noting that he also won't be getting around $860 in tax rebate check this year because of Christie's budget. "It makes it kind of tough."

Many are skeptical that Christie's cap will do anything at all, citing former Gov. Jon Corzine's leaky 4 percent cap, which allowed several exceptions. Others say that even if the cap does work, it might be too little too late, since in most towns property taxes have doubled in the last 10 years, and the imposition of a 2 percent cap now seems quaint.

Staff Writer Hannan Adely contributed to this article.
Related topic: Reassessment (http://www.hackensacknow.org/index.php?topic=1547.msg4863#msg4863)
Title: Re: Property Taxes (2011 Budget)
Post by: Editor on March 21, 2011, 08:56:43 AM
Hackensack readies last meetings before unveiling budget
Monday, March 21, 2011
The Record

City officials will unveil the 2011 budget early next month.

City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono said the budget committee had its final meeting last week and that he will discuss the proposed spending plan at the council's work session on April 4. An introduction vote is planned during the City Council's regular meeting the following night.

Lo Iacono declined to talk about specifics, but said the committee was able to keep increases at the 2 percent state mandated cap, and as in previous years, the city will have to pay more in health benefits and pension costs. He didn't say whether layoffs would be part of the spending plan.

"I continue to do anything I can to avoid layoffs," he said.

Besides Lo Iacono, the budget committee is composed of Chief Financial Officer Tammy Zucca, City Auditor Steve Wielkotz, and Councilmen Michael Melfi and John Labrosse.

Lo Iacono said the city asked for an extension to introduce the budget because it just completed a townwide reassessment and those numbers were needed to compile the spending plan.

Art Carlson, the city's tax assessor, said informal meetings on the reassessments were held earlier in the month, and that property owners have until May 1 to file an appeal.

He said under the new figures the assessment for the average home in Hackensack decreased 25.9 percent, from $328,300 to $243,200.

The city's taxable properties decreased 15.7 percent from $6.01 billion to $5.07 billion, he said.

The reassessment will help bring properties back in line with market values. Last year, around 1,000 property owners filed appeals, Carlson said.

"The reason we did it is because the market collapsed since the last time we did a revaluation, and it was fruitless to have outdated assessments," Carlson said

"It's only fair that everyone is assessed properly," he added, noting that the number of appeals should decrease with the reassessment. "If 1,000 people filed last year and they get reductions, which a lot of them did, the tax dollar doesn't disappear, it just goes to other taxpayers, they have to take up the burden."

The city released revaluation figures in 2007, during the height of the real estate boom, but when housing prices dropped, it led property owners to file appeals.

The city hired Appraisal Systems Inc. of Glen Rock to help Carlson with the reassessments, which took about six months to complete, he said.

Labrosse said he did not have budget numbers in front of him, but said he is happy with the results.

"I don't see us getting hit that hard," he said. "Overall, I think we worked hard and did a good job, and I think people will be pleasantly surprised."

He said he is glad that the reassessment was completed because it will curtail tax appeals.

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on April 06, 2011, 08:55:20 AM
Hackensack city budget hike will spare homeowners
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Record

HACKENSACK — City spending will increase by more than 3 percent this year, but on average homeowners will see a $96 reduction in their municipal taxes under a 2011 budget introduced Tuesday.

The $88.4 million spending plan, which was introduced by the City Council, is up more than $2.8 million from last year's budget, and relies on $72.7 million to be raised in property taxes. That number is up from last year's $65.6 million.

The tax reduction for residential property owners is made possible because of a citywide reassessment that was recently finalized, officials said.

"As we suspected there was a little bit of a shift away from the residential, and back toward the commercial," City Auditor Steve Wielkotz said about the reassessment figures.

Under the new figures, the assessment for the average home in Hackensack decreased 25.9 percent, from $328,300 to $243,200. Commercial, industrial and retail properties saw a 7.3 percent decrease on the average assessment, which is now $2.06 million, Tax Assessor Art Carlson said.

The proposed budget, if adopted, would set the municipal tax rate including the library tax at $1.44, which means the average homeowner would pay close to $3,490 in annual municipal taxes.

The budget allots $700,000 for legal costs in 2011. The city, which is fighting several lawsuits by police officers in federal and state courts, spent nearly $1 million in legal fees in 2010.

Some of the items that contributed to the increases in the budget are $1.8 million more in group insurance costs, an additional $1.2 million in pension costs, and $1.5 million more in debt service, which includes paying back money the city borrowed last year to cover expenses associated with successful tax appeals, and the retirement of longtime employees who had accumulated hundreds of thousands dollars in accrued sick time.

Although the state has set a 2 percent budget cap on municipal tax levies, portions of the cost of health benefits, pension and debt service fall outside the cap, officials said.

"With the cap there are exceptions," said City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono.

The spending plan also includes nearly $1 million to pay for unused sick days of employees expected to retire this year.

Lo Iacono said costs for salaries and wages are down 1.13 percent to $37.7 million.

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on June 23, 2011, 07:07:27 PM
Tax reassessments bring relief to some North Jersey homeowners (http://www.northjersey.com/topstories/totowa/121457599_Tax_reassessments_bring_relief_to_some_homeowners.html?page=all)
Sunday, May 8, 2011    Last updated: Sunday May 8, 2011, 12:43 PM
The Record

There's a silver lining to the real estate slide, and it's about to bestow a tax break on homeowners in 14 North Jersey communities — and perhaps others in the near future.

From Ridgefield Park to Totowa, owners of houses and condominiums will bear less of the local property-tax load this year following a wave of assessment updates that shifted local tax burdens away from residences and toward commercial properties.

In some places, the typical homeowner is likely to see a tax cut, while increases for office, retail and industrial buildings could top 20 percent when tax bills go out this summer and fall, according to an analysis by The Record.

The changes will affect 13 Bergen County communities and Totowa, places where officials updated tax assessments to better reflect a four-year slump that has dropped home values more than commercial values. The shift has left homeowners holding a smaller share of each town's overall real estate value, which means that, under state law, they must shoulder a smaller share of property taxes.

Homeowners getting a break

In 14 towns in Bergen and Passaic counties, homeowners can expect a measure of tax relief this year, while commercial properties are likely to face steep increases. The reason: Those towns last year conducted property reassessments that brought tax valuations more in line with actual market prices, as a result of the real estate slide. That process left commercial property owners with a larger share of the local tax burden.
The examples below show typical results for properties in three towns.
Citywide percent change: -15.7%
Property type: Two-story frame house
Lot size: 0.15 acres
2011 assessment: $233,700
2010 assessment: $326,000
Percent change: -28.3%
Property type: 12-story office building
Lot size: Not available
2011 assessment: $35,631,700
2010 assessment: $39,884,800
Percent change: -10.7%
Village-wide percentchange: -20.8%
Property type: Two-story frame house
Lot size: 0.13 acres
2011 assessment: $285,900
2010 assessment: $383,000
Percent change: -25.4%
Property type: auto wrecking yard
Lot size: 1.7 acres
2011 assessment: $959,800
2010 assessment: $1,026,400
Percent change: -6.5%
Borough-widepercent change: -20.3%
Property type: Two-story ranch house
Lot size: 0.34 acres
2011 assessment: $481,000
2010 assessment: $647,900
Percent change: -25.7%
Property type: One-story bank building
Lot size: 0.49
2011 assessment: $1,355,700
2010 assessment: $1,431,500
Percent change: -5.3%
Source: Bergen County Board of Taxation
Staff analysis by Dave Sheingold 

Before the changes took effect, homeowners were effectively overpaying taxes, helping to generate a wave of appeals that were costing towns millions of dollars a year in refunds. The new trends reverse those seen in the first half of the 2000s when home values — and homeowners' taxes — rose fastest.

More shifts are likely to come next year as additional municipalities consider resetting property-tax assessments.

Losing equity

For homeowners, "it's good news, bad news. The good news is you're going to get some property-tax relief. The bad news is, you're getting property-tax relief because you are losing equity in your homes," said Rick DelGuercio of Appraisal Systems, a Glen Rock company that worked on 10 of the assessment updates.

It was welcome news for Michael Fagen of Ridgefield Park, whose $6,700 annual tax bill will drop $300 to $400 if the village and its school system adhere to a 2 percent spending-increase cap imposed by the state. When his assessment was reset in 2007, his taxes went up $1,100 and continued to rise after that.

"The taxes kept going up, and my house value was going down," said Fagen, who lives in half of a two-family colonial on Route 46. "Now it's a little more fair."

But in the zero-sum game of shifting tax valuations, one person's gain is someone else's loss. For the owner of the Westside Village Tavern on nearby Paulison Avenue, the readjustment could mean $1,700 a year added to the cost of running his sports bar, which sits amid a jumble of industrial properties and railroad lines. Frank Myslivecek said a tax hike might force him to curtail renovations, alter his menu or raise prices.

"Everything is going up in price. This is just another straw to break the camel's back," said Myslivecek.

The analysis by The Record found that:

* Homeowners' assessments dropped a combined 16.4 percent in the affected municipalities, which had all last updated their values in the mid-2000s, before the market stalled. Commercial values in those towns dropped only 4.3 percent.

* If property taxes go up 2 percent this year, the overall median residential tax in the 13 Bergen towns will decrease about 4 percent, while the median commercial tax will jump roughly 12 percent. (Totowa was not included in the analysis because detailed data were not available from borough officials, but the aggregate numbers suggest that the trend held true there also.)

* Some of the biggest breaks would go to homeowners in Edgewater, Hackensack, Ridgefield Park and Norwood. In Hackensack, for instance, a 2 percent levy hike would result in a 12 percent tax cut for the typical homeowner and an 8 percent increase for the typical commercial owner.

* Specific properties facing the biggest increases include The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, Becton Dickinson in Franklin Lakes and The Brownstone, an apartment and retail development off Route 4 in Englewood. All could see tax hikes of several hundred thousand dollars.

* Smaller shifts will come mostly in towns with limited commercial real estate, including Ho-Ho-Kus, Emerson and Oakland.

In each case, the municipalities undertook what are known as property reassessments, which allow for a quick fix to repair inequities resulting from rapid swings in the real estate market. In a reassessment, values are updated in clusters, by neighborhood or by property type.

The next round of such adjustments is set to include Fair Lawn, Lyndhurst and up to six other municipalities that are considering property reassessments in the near future.

They are less complicated than property revaluations, which involve address-by-address updates and are the more traditional way of revising assessments after longer periods of time. Each of the 14 communities had done formal revaluations at or near the top of the market, in essence locking in values that quickly became outdated.

Seven revaluations took effect this year in Bergen and Passaic. But in those towns, shifts in the tax burden were muted by the fact that values had last been updated well before the boom. In general, the overall values rose, and commercial values increased most. Because the prior updates were from 1988 to 2002, their shifts reflected the ups and downs of several real-estate market swings.

An additional 11 communities are set to do revaluations this year and next.

Failure to make any adjustment can be costly, expert say.

About a dozen towns still sit with values set at or right before the market peak, including Harrington Park, Ridgewood, Teaneck and Washington Township.

Towns in that situation "are extremely vulnerable to widespread appeals," DelGuercio said. "It's likely that the residents are paying too much."

Spikes in tax appeals

Several factors had created inequities in the distribution of property taxes, leaving some homeowners overtaxed and generating huge spikes in appeals, said real estate appraisers and town officials. In addition, appeals won by some large commercial property owners added further to the inequity.

The number of appeals filed with the Bergen County Board of Taxation more than tripled, from 2,594 in 2006 to 9,004 in 2010, with additional cases going to state tax court; Passaic's number jumped during that time from 833 to 4,541.

"It really ended up being an unfair situation for residential homeowners," said Steve Lo Iacono, city manager in Hackensack, which paid $7.5 million in refunds from 2008 through 2011. "Things had gotten tremendously out of whack."

The reassessment in Hackensack dropped the city's overall value of residential property by 26 percent, while the city's commercial base went down only 6.7 percent. In Ridgefield Park, residential values dropped 26.2 percent, compared to a 10.3 percent decline for commercial values. In more upscale northern Bergen, Norwood saw the biggest shift, as residential property went down 22.9 percent and commercial figures declined 2.2 percent.

Facing impending tax hikes, business owners said in interviews that they would probably look for ways to trim expenses before raising prices.

At the Colonial Inn catering hall in Norwood, Paul Guarino Jr. said he might have to postpone buying new chairs or upgrading the hall's air-conditioning system if his $70,100 tax bill increases by around $20,000.

"I can't say that it's terribly unfair," said Guarino, whose taxes dropped by $4,100 when his assessment was last reset in 2008. But "that certainly could preclude us from making a reinvestment, which has consequences."

Homeowner Hector Ferrer of Hackensack will believe he's getting a tax cut "when I see it," he said, adding that the underlying problems of high property taxes and local government spending remained. But if it happens, he said he would use the money to replenish a tax escrow fund that was wiped out last year when he was out of work.

"It's not like I'm not welcoming it," he said. "I do, however feel like this whole situation has to be fixed."

E-mail: sheingold@northjersey.com

The tale of the taxes

Percent change in the total value of property in municipalities that did reassessments or revaluations that took effect this year. All saw shifts in the tax burden from residential to commercial property.
Title: Do Current Rate Tax Increases Negate Property Taxes Re-assessment
Post by: Oratam_Weaping on August 09, 2011, 06:59:04 PM
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?
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on August 09, 2011, 09:42:09 PM
Once all the mentally ill are wandering around your neighborhood, handing out in your driveway, peeping into your vehicle, urinating on the side of your house, and sleeping on your front porch, I'm sure you'll qualify for at least a 50% reduction in your annual property taxes.  Maybe you should support Regina and her friends at On Your Own....lol.  And maybe they've got some crazier ideas for your front yard work of art.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: regina on August 10, 2011, 11:47:29 PM
Eric, that was not nice. I'd rather have "friends" who are trying to help themselves than sarcastic people who put others down. I had nothing to do with any of this thread, yet you chose to drag me in. Have I touched a nerve with you? Keep just watching from a distance ...
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on August 11, 2011, 07:45:49 AM
The only thing sarcastic about my post was the "50% reduction".  Maybe it will only be 25%.

I absolutely believe that there will be a reduction in the value of Oratam_Weaping's house on Essex Street. And I believe that all the problems that I mentioned will happen.  Maybe not every day or every week, but they will happen.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: regina on August 11, 2011, 08:24:44 AM
If you lived in Hackensack you would know that all those problems you mentioned already exist, particularly in the 1st Ward, and On Our Own has had nothing to do with it. It is people who reside there, legally or illegally, homes or homeless. There is a police substation in the 1st Ward, but the police presence is lacking with regard to these kind of incidents. If they want any action taken a home/business owner has to confront the individual themselves, and sign a complaint themselves, because the police just are not in the area and cannot quickly address or prevent these issues.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on August 11, 2011, 05:02:42 PM
Hey, we agree on something.  On Our Own has nothing to do with the current problems in the First Ward.  But once it opens there, there will be an increase of those problems
Title: Re: Do Current Rate Tax Increases Negate Property Taxes Re-assessment
Post by: hackensack_newbie on August 18, 2011, 08:39:10 AM
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...
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Oratam_Weaping on August 20, 2011, 01:29:13 PM
Bergen county and Hackensack in Particulatr is paying more per dollar for taxes than most other towns. Hackensack recieves on .74 cents on the dollar for it's school taxes through redistribution, while Asbury Park gets 24.72 for every tax payer dollar.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie 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.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Oratam_Weaping on August 22, 2011, 06:45:58 PM
There is another reason. Social services along with the resource drain; unsightly presence due to lack of order, is only part of it; albeit a BIG part, perhaps the BIGGEST). Loss of tax ratables by county and hospital parcels should be offset by the thousands of workers and visitors brought into Hackensack; bringing commerce into Hackensack; but that unfortunately, is NOT the case. People come to work and go home, even on the holidays and, this was still the case when Main Street still had a variety of quality establishments. They shop in Paramus. When Hackensack had a chance for recovery and redevelopment our school taxes and the influx of Homeless made it all very difficult. Is it by coincidence that from 1989 till 1992 the amount of Homeless and released  prisoners made operating  businesses, and renting apartments almost impossible, was it only the economic slowdown? CSPNJ began operation in 1988 at the same time the countyb operated a traier park across the street from what would become Price Club. And that is when I observed the numbers growing well into 2005. More recently the new Homeless shelter helped somewhat, but that is about to change as more homeless are placed on their own under the politically correct veil of the few Members who are visible and deserving help at CSPNJ. And certainly Bergen County services are not making things better by their wasteful mismanagement.

We cannot afford to do what should be done because of the stigma caused by county services and our school tax dollars going to other municipalities in other counties.  Hackensack only receives about 70 cents per dollar it pays in school taxes. By legislation (ashamed to say imposed by Democrats) School taxes are bundled by the state, redistributed; to be put to waste in places like Asbury park where avg teacher salary is about 55,000. and Janitors make 100,000. and there are more administrators taking high 5 and even up to 6 figures, and more admins than needed to run the system, Asbury Park receives over 24 dollars per every tax dollar paid by residents. 30 cents of every tax dollar you are paying, and even a portion of the rent tenants pay which go to owners to pay tax go to other school districts in the state. Who monitors spending, bids, nessessity, and inventory in these other districts?
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: irons35 on August 22, 2011, 10:52:20 PM
you want to be disgusted, take a look at the amount of school aid that Garfield gets from the state... 
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on August 23, 2011, 06:08:41 AM
It's the cities and towns that are dominated by old houses converted into 2, 3, and 4 family houses that are the biggest economic drain on the taxpayers.  For instance, Asbury Park, Garfield, Paterson, Irvington, etc.  Ironically, this is the type of house owned by Mr. Oratam, although his house in particular might not be putting many children into the public school system.

But if you take 100 of these houses, look at the amount of tax revenue that these houses contribute to their respective municipalities, and then look at the amount of school costs they generate, you'll see that these are negative ratables.  The term negative ratable means that the costs generated to the municipality far exceed the tax revenue.  Other negative ratables typically include old apartment buildings built before WWII with no parking and dangling fire escapes. And of course the ultimate negative ratable is a public housing complex because it doesn't even pay taxes at all.

Hackensack would be smart to change it's zoning so that future construction would not include negative ratables, or conversion of houses into negative ratables. 

Back in 2005 I proposed to Hackensack to change the R1 and R1A zoning designations to R50, R60, R75, and R100. I worked with a few key city officials on this; they know who they are. This change was accepted, and it is now part of the zoning code. What didn't make it was my proposed R40 zone. Jack Zisa in particular didn't want it. I wanted to eliminate the R2 zone (two family houses) as we know it.  In it's place, R40 would allow a single family house on a 40-foot wide lot and a two-family house on a 50-foot wide lot. However, the only type of two-family allowed would be a side-by-side duplex typically of new construction.  Units on top of each other (what's called a Bayonne box or six-over-six) or conversions of single-family houses into two-family would not be allowed.  R40 would have also increased the allowed lot coverage from 30% to 38.5% (if I remember correctly). This is needed because 30% currently on the books only allows a 1500 sf footprint for a duplex, meaning 750 for each unit footprint. That's not enough to make a high-quality economically viable unit in which the second floor should have a 400 sf master bedroom suite (bedroom, closets, master bath), in addition to two other bedrooms, the stairs, one other bathroom, and of course the interior walls and closets. 750 is just too tight.  That's why the builders are discouraged from Hackensack or always ask for variances on this. Without new construction to replace the aging old houses, the future of the First Ward is grim. Hackensack can't continue with a zoning code that does nothing but allow for the economic backsliding and very little new construction.

Note also that it is very easy to build a single family house on a 40-foot wide lot, with 10-foot side yard setbacks.  That leaves adequate space between houses for quality living, and you can still have a great floor plan with 20 feet x 60 feet to work with. The crowding together of houses in poor cities with 3 feet side yard setbacks or less really destroys the quality of life. Either make townhouses with zero side yard or have at least 7 feet side yards.  None of these houses cramped together, with windows facing alleyways and the sides of other houses.

I think I still have the file saved on my computer.  If anyone wants a copy of the proposal, provide your email.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Oratam_Weaping on August 23, 2011, 10:24:57 AM
It's the cities and towns that are dominated by old houses converted into 2, 3, and 4 family houses that are the biggest economic drain on the taxpayers.  For instance, Asbury Park, Garfield, Paterson, Irvington, etc.  Ironically, this is the type of house owned by Mr. Oratam, although his house in particular might not be putting many children into the public school system.

But if you take 100 of these houses, look at the amount of tax revenue that these houses contribute to their respective municipalities, and then look at the amount of school costs they generate, you'll see that these are negative ratables.  The term negative ratable means that the costs generated to the municipality far exceed the tax revenue.  Other negative ratables typically include old apartment buildings built before WWII with no parking and dangling fire escapes. And of course the ultimate negative ratable is a public housing complex because it doesn't even pay taxes at all.

Hackensack would be smart to change it's zoning so that future construction would not include negative ratables, or conversion of houses into negative ratables. 

Any dwelling 2 families and over IS rated at a higher rate, and to rate them any higher would cause an economic and real estate blight that have never been imagined. When a house is converted it already goes to the tax assessor, and the building permits pay that department. So long as the existing zoning allows and our construction officials maintain the excellent job of inspection, and discovery of illegal conversions we are safe. The more kids the more Main Street will become a convenience. High and mid rise apartments are more of a bargain in [property taxes. Would you ask that the realtors should only give leases to occupants with one or less child? That is unlawful. The intent of this zoning plan is unconstitutional and against state law and civil law.  It would be just as irresponsible to demand that all  minorities leave Hackensack, because that is what Mr. Just Watching is saying. As for mr. Oratam_weaping's property is is commercial and houses no families with children, and the interior houses 4 luxury apartments (Despite the outside look) single occupants. My choice as a person who hopes to complete the exterior renovations to match the quality interior. If only the taxes were affordable.

No sir. The drain on the tax base is the negative ratables by non-tax paying entities; and a school budget that lacks fiscal responsibility, and NJEA influence which all but encourages less from teachers while paying more teachers, more money.  That 30% higher school budget could easily become a tax freeze while not touching the school budget. There is a bill proposed in the New Jersey Legislature to end this unfair distribution.

However, to have the city raise taxes of 2 and four family houses would not gentrify Hackensack as you clearly imagine, it would turn it into a ghost town; and cause the firing of 20% of teachers; reduce the only traffic we have on Main Street and inhibit economic recovery, and ethnic diversity.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on August 24, 2011, 12:49:09 AM
I'm not suggesting at all that taxes be raised for 2, 3, and 4 family taxes. Read my post again. If people want to disagree with me, that's fine, but disagree with what I am actually saying and not something spun by somebody else.

I'm saying that if you took 100 of them, or 1000 of them, and looked at the costs they generate (schools, social services, even intangible things like more burden to police and fire) you would see that, BY FAR, they generate more costs than their collective tax revenue.

Of course there are excellent landlords such as yourself that keep your units in good condition. In fact, if every owner was like you there wouldn't be such a problem.  But the average person is not so responsible in our society.  Sad commentary.  In fact, as these houses get even older, more and more become owned by landlords who live elsewhere and barely take care of them.

How do I know this --- let's just say I work in the industry and have seen and been inside hundreds if not thousands of them. I can look at a house from the street and draw a detailed floor plan, even showing where the closets are, without walking inside.

My suggestion is that zoning codes are changed so that more of them aren't built, or aren't allowed as conversions.  This is what is needed to be responsible to the taxpayer.  In most urban centers in New Jersey, the only successful neighborhoods are (a) historic districts with intense codes and regulations, and (b) neighborhoods being redeveloped.  Hackensack was once a classic suburb, but we are now an urban center.  And like other urban centers (Newark, Paterson, Passaic being good examples), there are "preserved" neighborhoods towards the edges of the city that are suburban in quality, but the bulk of the housing stock is large apartments and older urban neighborhoods.  We are not as bad as those cities because our older urban neighborhoods are much smaller and don't dominate the city as much. Instead we are dominated by Prospect Ave, which the other cities I mentioned have no equivalent.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Oratam_Weaping on August 24, 2011, 11:52:25 AM
FYI - When you are talking about the property Oratam_Weaping RENTS (I do not own this property, it is owned by a corporation, and the shares are owned in trust by a Nationally acclaimed non-profit educational foundation) I just live here (I like it here-I like my neighbors) and manage the property. I understand that part of the trust also belongs to William Paterson University's Music Dept.  Although the foundation is capable of purchasing adjacent properties: Unfortunately; because of the condition of Fair Street, the facility that could be here, may be moved by 1031 exchng to Rutherford. Any host school system would have a free school of musical arts k - 12 complete with scholarship abilities for WPU. Other towns, or individuals outside host town would pay a fee to the foundation. It's out of my hands, except for when I decide to move my residence, the corporation will consider the move as I will be a resident director of instrumental music. It's what I do best.

I understood your point. Illegal conversion is the difficult problem, as is overcrowding. I agree that some suburban zones should not allow conversions, but I feel they are already protected by the application process; except that notification for variance should be over a 1000 foot radius to owners 30 days prior to hearing. Still, more and more owners are sharing their homes by renting part of their single family home as an apartment, and renting rooms, and this is an economic problem beyond the scope of local government, and done without much modification or modified in secret. If you own a house (or rent an apartment) and want to share it with another family, it is up to the owner (and the lease) if you can, unless the health or building department can make a valid legal issue. Unfortunately there are people who live in other towns not covered by Hackensack, use a Hackensack address that is already occupied (as a supposed share) and drive their kids to a Hackensack School. This should be a matter of a fraud violation with a 10,000 per year fine and up to two years imprisonment for the parents or guardians and the owner AND renter of the apartment, as a deterrent.

Unlawful conversion is when an owner creates a rooming house, and/or separate apartments by way of modifications, usually without permits. Our building department  and construction codes regulates that. New legal conversions are not easy applications, must be to code, and do increase the assessment, and therefore the tax paid.

I feel that the building of new 2  to 8 unit condos should be encouraged in carefully designated less historic, less quality areas (for improvement) and it invites more population while creating additional ratables, but the conversions should require architectural  planning, which guarantees an exterior that is aimed at improving the look as well as the future motif of the area.. Conversions in those areas should do the same.

All in all, suggesting in any way there should be zoning or planning that limits the number of children because of a drain of the school system is not a good idea.  The South ward would benefir by new construction of mul;ti-unit dwellings that include ample parking, but NON conversions because the old wood frames are not suitable. The old mansions WERE suitable.

If there was a unified flat budget per student across the state, and equal distribution; a uniform code of what a school administration, and services consists of; allotted materials, tighter constraints; and, no corruption in the construction and renovation projects; as well as restriction on the control and influence of the union, we would see a 35% decrease in school taxes statewide.

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie 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.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on October 25, 2011, 04:26:53 PM
I just came across this article on NY's efforts to reign in property taxes by establishing a 2% cap. It amazes me how some towns are fighting the cap. Why is that town officials just love to spend taxpayer money? I understand that there are necessary expenditures, but I refuse to believe that costs can't be cut. I've cut my own costs by sticking to the necessities. Tough times call for tough measures, but I guess when it's someone else's money, spending it becomes quite easy.


October 24, 2011
Upset at Cuomo’s Property-Tax Cap, Communities Move to Get Around It

A much-heralded cap on property taxes championed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is encountering resistance as some communities across New York chafe at what amounts to a restriction on their spending and seek to exempt themselves from the new limits.

The communities, which include affluent New York City suburbs and rural communities near the border with Canada, are declaring that they cannot restrain the growth of property taxes and still comply with a variety of state-mandated programs and provide the services residents expect. And now dozens of town and county boards are overriding, or proposing to override, the cap.

“We should be able to dictate our own financial future,” said Lee V. A. Roberts, the supervisor in the Westchester County town of Bedford, where the Town Board has already voted to grant itself a waiver from the cap.

The Legislature approved the tax cap in late June, an effort to limit the annual growth of local property taxes to 2 percent or the rate of inflation. After that measure passed, Mr. Cuomo vowed that it would “provide much-needed relief” from rising taxes, and he was so proud of the law that he signed it six times, once in his office and five times on the front lawns of houses in high-tax communities.

It remains too early to determine exactly the impact the cap will have: New York State has more than 10,000 taxing entities, with varied processes and different calendars for determining their tax rates. Most school districts, which are responsible for the largest part of homeowners’ tax bills, will not confront the cap issue until the spring.

The law allows taxing jurisdictions to grant themselves waivers with the approval of 60 percent of the members of whatever body approves local spending — a town board, a county legislature or, in the case of most school districts, the residents themselves. And there are multiple early signs that the cap is not keeping tax increases down for all New Yorkers.

Gregory J. Edwards, the county executive of Chautauqua and the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor last year, wrote in a letter to residents this month that the cap was a “scam” pushed by politicians in Albany. He has asked county legislators to approve a tax increase of nearly 13 percent, which he wrote was entirely attributable to increases in state-mandated costs.

“The 2 percent property-tax cap is nothing more than a campaign slogan meant to get them re-elected and give local leaders the pain for their failure to act,” Mr. Edwards wrote in his letter, referring to Albany lawmakers.

Chautauqua is among several counties considering budgets that call for property-tax increases several times the 2 percent limit, saying the cost of providing services mandated by the state, like Medicaid and welfare programs, is rising faster than that. Albany County, home to the Executive Mansion, has called for a 19 percent tax increase, while Franklin County has asked for a 13 percent increase.

The Association of Towns of the State of New York estimated that, based on historical budgeting data, about a third of New York’s 932 towns might also consider overriding the cap. Some towns said they needed faster property-tax increases to pay for important capital projects; others cited a need to finance their share of the rebuilding after Tropical Storms Irene and Lee.

“There is a great deal of frustration,” said Peter A. Baynes, the executive director of the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials. “They want to make it work, but they’re struggling to make the numbers add up.”

At a meeting this month of the Board of Supervisors for Ontario County, when one town supervisor asked which of his counterparts was seeking to override the cap, nearly all of them raised their hands.

“I wasn’t surprised,” said Theodore M. Fafinski, the board’s chairman and the supervisor in the Town of Farmington. “My comment to many of the legislators when I talk to them is — and I pull no punches — ‘What in the world were you thinking when you passed this?’ ”

Each passing day seems to bring a new act of legislative rebellion. In just one week this month, on Monday, the Town Board in Hammond, in the Thousand Islands region, voted to override the cap; on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors in Seneca County introduced a measure to do the same thing; on Wednesday, town officials in Massena, in St. Lawrence County, passed their own override; and on Thursday, the Town Board in Harrietstown, in the Adirondacks, followed suit.

In Bedford, a wealthy town of 17,000 where Mr. Cuomo once owned a home, town officials said a $22 million bond offering for a new water filtration plant forced their hand when it came to overriding the cap. Ms. Roberts, the supervisor, expressed frustration with what she characterized as state officials’ butting into municipal business.

“They have no idea about any particular town or city or village’s budget or their needs or the sentiment of the local municipality,” she said.

Of Mr. Cuomo and the cap, she added: “I know that the average citizen probably welcomes it and thinks it’s wonderful and he’s done a great service to the community. But I think it’s tone-deaf. I think it’s disingenuous.”

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat elected last year, has made reining in property taxes a priority. He professes to be unfazed by the response to the cap, saying that local officials are free to do as they want, and that votes to override the cap should not be taken as rebukes to his administration.

“We passed a law that establishes a 2 percent cap — or whatever the people want,” the governor said at a news conference this month. “We have never dictated to anyone what the taxes should be.”

But Mr. Cuomo is now emphasizing the cap’s symbolic value, saying “this mentality of automatic pilot, where the property taxes just keep going up 5, 6, 7 percent every year,” will no longer be tolerated by New Yorkers. Indeed, in some communities, residents have chastised their local officials for not sufficiently embracing his push to keep taxes down.

“What you’re seeing this year, which you didn’t see in years past: there is much more attention and discussion about the increases in the property tax,” Mr. Cuomo said. “That is a great accomplishment and a great positive.”

Supporters of the cap say that making any judgments about it now is premature. Mr. Cuomo’s advisers said that they believed only about 20 percent of the budgets proposed so far by local governments would require an override of the cap, and that the bulk of those spending plans called for property-tax increases lower than what had been imposed in recent years.

On an Albany radio program this month, the State Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, noted that most communities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties were drawing up budgets that complied with the cap. “It’s forcing a discipline that I think has been absolutely necessary,” Mr. Skelos said.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on November 16, 2011, 09:52:06 AM
This one is a must read. Art Carlson, former tax assessor for Edgewater, gave property tax breaks to a multi-billion-dollar corporation. And he's Hackensack's tax assessor? Nice. No wonder I feel like I'm getting screwed. I especially love this quote:

"If you've ever suspected that not all property taxpayers are treated equally, here's your evidence," Comptroller Matthew Boxer said.


November 15, 2011
Audit: Condo developer found property tax breaks were his for the asking
ANGELA DELLI SANTI  Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — A northern New Jersey developer was granted property tax reductions on more than 100 condominiums, costing residents nearly half-a-million dollars and exposing a potentially huge flaw in how municipal reassessments are granted statewide, a new comptroller's report found.

The report, released Tuesday, shows that the condominium developer secured lower tax assessments in 2008 and 2009 simply because his lawyer asked. Individual condo owners in the same complex who appealed their assessments didn't get as good a deal.

"If you've ever suspected that not all property taxpayers are treated equally, here's your evidence," Comptroller Matthew Boxer said.

Boxer said the investigation into assessments in Edgewater Borough in Bergen County raises broad concerns that municipal tax assessors can alter property tax liabilities without oversight or documentation.

    Tax assessor Arthur Carlson told investigators he wrongly believed the developer faced bankruptcy.

The Edgewater assessor granted a wealthy developer's request to reduce his tax burden without determining that a reduction was needed. The assessor, Arthur Carlson, told investigators he believed, wrongly, the developer faced bankruptcy. The developer is, in fact, a wholly owned subsidiary of a multi-billion-dollar corporation headquartered in Bahrain.

Carlson, who is no longer the borough's tax assessor, faces no criminal charges. The assessor's office did not return a telephone message for comment.

The audit found that the assessor reduced the assessed value of 50 developer-owned condo units by 20 percent in 2008. A private condo owner who appealed her property tax assessment that year received no reduction even though her unit was assessed at the same amount as the developer-owned units.

In 2009, the audit showed that 49 unsold developer-owned units that had been reduced in valuation the year before received an additional 45 percent reduction. An additional 79 developer-owned units saw a reduction in assessment of 45 to 48 percent, the audit found.

The report showed the 2009 reductions were based on a single phone call from the developer's lawyer. The assessor told investigators he performed calculations in his head during the call to come up with the reduction amount, which was based on a sinking real estate market and continued fears that the developer would go bankrupt.

The comptroller's office has recommended changes to promote parity in assessments. It suggests that tax assessors be required to file annual reports listing all municipal assessments that have been adjusted by 20 percent or more in the prior year, along with written justification for the change. It also suggests that the Division of Taxation identify properties that may be under assessed relative to similarly situated units.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on November 16, 2011, 01:58:35 PM
Here's another article on Carlson...


Edgewater tax assessor gave inappropriate breaks to developer, according to state investigation
Tuesday, November 15, 2011    Last updated: Tuesday November 15, 2011, 6:32 PM
The Record
Read the report (PDF)

EDGEWATER – The borough’s former tax assessor played favoritism when he gave one developer nearly half a million dollars in tax breaks, the Office of the State Comptroller announced Tuesday.

Arthur Carlson, the assessor, lowered the tax assessment of developer Edgewater Promenade 123’s unsold units at the Peninsula, a luxury condominium complex at City Place, according to an OSC report. The reductions saved the developer more than $472,500 – about triple the savings granted to other homeowners in the same building – during the 2008-09 years, the audit found.

An audit by the Office of the State Comptroller found that the Edgewater tax assessor reduced the assessments for hundreds of condominium units owned by a private developer, but did not give the same treatment to individual homeowners in the same complex. The comptroller’s office recommends that:

    Tax assessors submit annual reports listing any assessments that have been adjusted by 20 percent or more, with written justification for each decision and documents of negotiated settlements.

    The state Division of Taxation develop a system to identify properties owned by a single entity that appear under-assessed.

Appeals by individual homeowners in the same complex for lower assessments during those years were denied, or the reductions given were significantly lower.

“If you’ve ever suspected that not all property taxpayers are treated equally, here’s your evidence,” Comptroller Matthew Boxer said in a prepared statement. “The Edgewater tax assessor … handed improper tax reductions to a wealthy developer that were denied to other residents. In the end, the taxpayers of Edgewater and Bergen County were left to pick up the tab.”

In response to the OSC findings, Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, D-Paramus and Sen. Bob Gordon, D-Fair Lawn, announced their support of legislative reforms.

“This report makes clear that the system can easily be manipulated without anyone noticing,” Wagner said.

Carlson, meanwhile, said the OSC findings are “totally off base.”

“My actions are defensible,” he said hours after the report’s release. While the comptroller’s office is calling Carlson’s actions “inappropriate,” he is not facing criminal charges.

A tax assessor since 1989, Carlson worked in Edgewater from 2007 until June of this year, when he resigned, he said, because borough officials wanted to renew his contract without granting him tenure. He remains the assessor in Hackensack, Saddle Brook and Ridgefield Park.

According to the OSC report, in 2008, Carlson lowered by 20 percent the assessed value of 50 of the developer’s unsold condominium units, with no documents to justify his decision.

The following year, he reduced the value of the remaining unsold units by another 45 percent and lowered the assessed value of an additional 79 units by 45 to 48 percent, the report stated. Again, he did not provide justifying documents and simply noted the lower assessments in the annual list submitted to the county tax board, according to the OSC.

Carlson on Tuesday refuted claims that he did not provide adequate documents. Additionally, he said, the way he chose to assess the properties is standard practice among assessors in the state during times of a recession.

“I stand by everything I did,” he said, adding that he did not receive money or any perks from the developer for his actions.

Assessors can calculate a property’s value using one of three approaches, including a “sales approach,” in which a unit is valued based on comparisons with similar properties, and an “income approach,” based on a property’s expected future earnings.

Carlson calculated the developer’s units based on the income approach while assessing the other properties using the sales approach, according to the OSC report.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on November 16, 2011, 02:03:32 PM
Here's the report referenced in the previous two articles....
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on January 03, 2012, 09:20:31 PM
Clearly there are some municipalities that were able to comply with the State's mandatory 2% property tax levy cap. Hackensack is on the right track with shared services, but clearly this is not enough as many homeowners saw a much greater increase in their 2011-12 tax bill. I hope Hackensack officials are studying the results of this survey...

http://www.njslom.org/press-releases/pr-survey.html (http://www.njslom.org/press-releases/pr-survey.html)

December 28, 2011
Trenton, NJ

Mayors Respond to 13th Annual League Survey

For the 13th consecutive year, over one hundred mayors offered their views on several major policy areas in response to the League’s Annual Legislative Priority Survey.  Their responses to specific issues provide direction and will assist the League Executive Board and staff during what could be a critical year for municipalities and property taxpayers.

2011 was the first budget year that municipal leaders had to comply with the 2% property tax levy cap. One year later what have learned?

29% of the Mayors indicated their municipality’s final total levy increased 2%, with the exclusions for debt services, capital expenditures, pension cost, health benefit cost and declared emergencies.  While 19.35% saw tax levy increases of between 1.5 and 1.99%, over last year’s level.   Followed by 18% whose tax levy increase was under 1%.

When asked what action(s) they took to meet the 2% cap the Mayors ranked them as follows:

Municipalities are continuing to see an increase in tax appeals.  66% of the Mayors saw an increase in their residential tax appeals in 2011.  Of those, 63% noted that the results of the tax appeals will impact their available surplus in their 2012 budget.  However, 71% noted that they do not plan on increasing their budget in regards to fighting tax appeals in 2012.

Another impact on municipal budgets is the cost associated with defending a municipality’s compliance with the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).  Only 15% of the Mayors noted that their municipality had appeared before the Government Records Council or Superior Court regarding OPRA.  Of those municipalities, municipal attorney fees ranged from $1,300 to $10,000.   Only one Mayor reported paying prevailing attorney fees of $6,000.

The survey also indicates a changing trend in how municipalities plan to meet their affordable housing obligations.  Nearly half of the Mayors noted that once a prospective housing obligation is determined their municipality will implement 100% municipal sponsored partnerships with non-profit sponsors housing to address part of their future obligation.   These projects rely heavily on subsidies, and as a result 94% support a legislative change to push the July 2012 deadline established by PL 2008, c. 46, which establishes that a municipality has 4 years to commit their housing trust fund dollars.

Of an interesting note, 59% of the Mayors surveyed support an increase in State motor fuel taxes if and only if the proceeds are to be used to finance the repair and renovation of municipal and county transportation infrastructures.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 18, 2012, 06:40:25 PM
$89.4 million Hackensack municipal budget introduced
Friday, March 16, 2012
Hackensack Chronicle

The Hackensack City Council unveiled an $89.4 million municipal budget for fiscal year 2012 at the March 6 council meeting.

The proposed budget, a figure up from the $88.4 million budget adopted last year, includes a $74.2 million municipal property-tax levy, a 2 percent increase from the $72.7 million property-tax levy included in the budget adopted last year.

Homeowners should expect an increase of $87.55 annually in their municipal property tax bills on average, according to figures provided by the city. The value of an average home in Hackensack remains at $243,200 following a reassessment completed last year. The value of an average home in the city stood at $328,300 before the reassessment was completed, a decrease of just over 25 percent.

The potential tax effect on commercial property owners has yet to be determined according to the proposed budgetary figures released by the city. Last year's adopted budget saw a commercial property owner tax increase, on average, of more than $5,300.

The proposed budgetary figures also do not yet include the finalized effects of potential changes in the Bergen County and Board of Education tax levies.

Resident Kathy Canestrino, a frequent critic of the city's fiscal policies, questioned why the city planned to increase contributions to the workmen's compensation section of the city's self-insurance fund from $500,000 last year to $995,000 this year, a 99 percent increase. The city had an unusual number of workmen's compensation claims filed last year.

"Do we always want to plan on anomalies?" Canestrino said.

"The state would certainly ask a question as to why, but I look at the budget as a big picture," said City Auditor Steven Wielkotz. "You look at the bottom line, spending increases are only a little over 1 percent. Maybe the glitch won't be workmen's compensation this year, but maybe it's going to be in health benefits or someplace else."

Wielkotz noted that despite the challenges Hackensack faces because of national economic woes, state aid cutbacks and the impact of the known city legal bills of nearly $4 million stemming from recent problems regarding Police Department leadership, the city has tried to respond.

"Over the last two years, there have been a tremendous amount of retirements that has reduced the work force by over 50 people," Wielkotz said after the budget was introduced. "The city has challenged department heads to do their jobs with less people."

Contributions to the city's self-insurance fund also increased significantly regarding the general insurance and surety bonds section of the fund. This section, from which funds are taken by the city to deal with the ongoing civil legal cases and depositions related to police department issues, rose to just more than $2 million in this year's proposed budget from $917,500 last year. This rise represents a 120% increase, according to figures provided by the city.

"These numbers should not go any higher - they are right where it's supposed to be based on the criteria of our insurance coverage," said City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono. "This does not account for any awards or judgments [in the civil cases]. That would involve a separate form of financing if it should occur."

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 3 at 7 p.m. at City Hall where citizens will have the opportunity to discuss the proposed spending plan.

Email: bonamo@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on March 22, 2012, 08:38:26 AM
No surprise here. Clearly the city is always going to ask for more money than the previous year. The only option homeowners have to control their tax bill is the appeal process. I've had success in the past when I've appealed, so I'm trying again this year. Last year I didn't bother due to the citywide reassessment. Even if I'm successful in lowering my property's assessment this year, there are no guarantees of maintaining the same property taxes or even lowering them. The city can easily manipulate the tax rate, but it certainly is worth a try.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 26, 2012, 09:05:31 AM
North Jersey homeowners seek lower tax assessments
Sunday, March 25, 2012    Last updated: Sunday March 25, 2012, 9:04 AM
The Record

Watching their property taxes rise as the value of their 82-year-old house dropped, Nora and Pat Sfarra of Teaneck decided to appeal their tax assessment last year. With the help of a tax-appeal company, they were able to get their home's assessed value reduced from $351,000, to $310,000, knocking about $1,000 off an $8,000-plus annual tax bill.

"I'm satisfied that I got something off," said Nora Sfarra.

The Sfarras are among the thousands of North Jersey homeowners who have challenged their tax assessments as home values eroded over the past several years. And with the April 2 deadline for filing this year's tax appeals approaching fast, many homeowners are rushing to get their paperwork in.

The wave of appeals is having an impact on town budgets.

"It's creating a major problem for communities up and down the state," said William Dressel, executive director of the state League of Municipalities, which represents towns. "It's reducing the amount of property taxes going into municipal coffers, which has a direct impact on the towns' ability to be able to provide adequate services." The result could be either service cuts or a higher tax rate, he said.

A number of towns have responded to the rise in appeals by conducting town-wide reassessments or revaluations, with the aim of getting valuations in line with actual market values, which makes it harder for homeowners to question their assessments.

And the first thing homeowners need to know is that you can't appeal your tax bill, just your property's assessment.

"A lot of people think if they pay too much in taxes, they have an appeal," said Hackensack lawyer Martin Sharit, who has filed many tax appeals. "But we all pay too much in taxes."

Though home prices in the region have fallen, on average, more than 20 percent since the housing boom, that doesn't mean your tax appeal is a slam dunk. For one thing, towns adjust values using a ratio that reflects the fact that home prices fluctuate with the economy in the years after a revaluation is done. To find your town's ratio, check state.nj.us/treasury/ taxation/lpt/lptvalue.shtml. Divide your assessment by the ratio to get a real picture of how the town values your home.

Teaneck, for example, has a tax ratio of 104 percent — meaning that the town already knows that the properties' assessments are greater than their actual value. By that formula, a property assessed at $350,000 may really be valued by the town at only about $336,500.

On top of that, tax assessors get a 15 percent margin in calculating values. So the owner of that property assessed at $350,000 would need to prove in his appeal, using recent comparable sales, that the value of the house is $286,025 or less.

Homeowners who want to appeal their assessments have several choices. They can go it alone, by filing forms found at state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/other_forms/lpt/petappl.pdf. The form asks for three to five recent comparable sales, which must be recent but before the previous Oct. 1. "Comparable" means homes that are about the same size, on a similar-sized property and with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Information on recent sales by town is available at the county boards of taxation. Many homeowners also turn to real estate agents to get that information, and a number of North Jersey agents say they provide it without charge to past clients or people they hope may become clients in the future. Homeowners can increase their chances of success by including photos of their home and comparable homes.

Homeowners also can get help from companies such as EasyTaxFix or ValueAppeal, which offer information on comparable home sales and help filling out the appeal paperwork for $99, in the case of ValueAppeal, or $80, in the case for EasyTaxFix. Both companies have sent letters to a number of North Jersey homeowners this year, making the case that they can do the research more quickly and effectively than homeowners can do themselves. Both offer money-back guarantees if the homeowner's tax appeal fails.

Appraisers also can be hired for tax appeals. Douglas Cowie of Property Research Inc. in Waldwick, for example, charges $375 for an appraisal that can be used in a tax appeal. If you submit an appraisal as part of your tax appeal, the appraiser must be state licensed and must attend the hearing.

And a number of lawyers offer their services, either for a flat fee or a share of the tax savings.

Once the appeal is filed, a hearing is scheduled at each county's tax board. Homeowners have to be prepared to make their case before the board, because by law, the presumption is that the assessment is correct. But in many cases, the town will settle with the homeowner.

That's what happened with the Sfarras, who worked with ValueAppeal.

"Taxes are high in Teaneck, so I said, for $100, it's worth a try," said Nora Sfarra, a dentist's receptionist. "They did most of the work for you and gave you comparables."

Trims bill by $500

Another ValueAppeal client, Nina Vasilyev of Palisades Park, said she appealed her assessment because at 1,300 square feet, her house is smaller than her neighbors' homes. She was able to lower the assessment by $30,000, and her tax bill by more than $500, she said.

Dorothy Monopoli of Hackensack successfully appealed the assessment on her condo in 2010, cutting her assessment from about $275,000 to about $245,000, which sliced her annual taxes by about $700. As a real estate agent, Monopoli was able to research recent sales on her own. She said finding comparable properties in a condo is much easier than finding comparables among single-family homes, because condo units in the same building closely resemble each other.

Hackensack has since conducted a citywide reassessment, bringing assessments closer to actual values. That leaves homeowners less room for appeals, Monopoli said.

Tax appeals aren't just for homeowners worried about their own tax bills. They are also sometimes used by sellers who fear that high taxes will scare off buyers.

Joshua Baris, a Coldwell Banker agent in Fort Lee, offers a recent sale as an example. He listed a North Bergen condo that was assessed at $1.8 million — way more than the property could fetch in the current market. That high assessment resulted in a $40,000 annual tax bill.

The seller appealed the assessment and was able to cut the annual tax bill to $17,000. The condo ultimately sold for $700,000, Baris said.

"If the taxes had stayed where they were, I wouldn't have been able to sell that property, even though it was a great value," Baris said.

Email: lynn@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on March 26, 2012, 03:17:19 PM
I would be careful using a service like ValueAppeal. While they give you a list of comps and put together a report, you still have to do most of the work researching those comps and ensuring they are appropriate. I previewed the service and found one of the comps to be a short sale, which is not acceptable as a comp. Also, this service doesn't do a great a job of distinguishing among the different neighborhoods.

My recommendation is to find a real estate agent willing to give you comps for free and save yourself $100. You can of course do this on entirely on your own. Start by figuring out what the city believes your home's market value should be. Simply divide your assessment by the current equalization rate (.8444).

For example, if you're assessed at $100,000, your market value would then be $118,427. Since the town is allowed 15 percent margin, you would need to find comps low enough to exceed this margin. In this example, I would need to find comps that sold for less than $100,662 between 10/1/2010 and 10/1/2011 for this year's appeal.

Of course there are other factors you need to account for such as lot size, living space, proximity to your home, etc. So it's certainly not easy, but not impossible either.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on December 03, 2012, 11:33:55 AM
Property tax hikes kept in check, but officials warn of looming cuts in services, education (http://www.northjersey.com/news/Property_taxes_kept_in_check_but_officials_warn_of_looming_cuts_in_services_education.html?page=all)
Sunday, December 2, 2012    Last updated: Sunday December 2, 2012, 1:15 PM
The Record

Tax increases, town by town (http://dng.northjersey.com/media_server/tr/2012/12/02towns/towns.jpg)
The annual increase in property taxes — long bemoaned by most residents as an inexorable and painful fact of life in New Jersey — slowed to a trickle in 2012, a second year of historically low growth in the cost of local government.

In Bergen and Passaic counties, the overall amount demanded of property owners in tax bills that went out this summer and fall grew by less than 2 percent. There were some outliers, but the trend held true in the majority of the region’s 86 communities.

Governor Christie’s office praised the trend, hailing it as a direct result of the 2 percent ceiling on annual tax increases that he proposed and the Legislature enacted in 2010.

The numbers will no doubt play a prominent role in Christie’s bid for reelection. As a cornerstone of his first term, Christie successfully challenged the notion that the cost of government — and most notably, the salaries of unionized public employees — was beyond the control of elected officials.

Officials throughout the region said they were able to comply with the law by tapping a mix of budget surpluses, one-time revenues, line-by-line cost-cutting and payroll reductions, all of which eased the burden of taxes that fund municipal and county services as well as public schools for 2012 and into 2013.

But they warn that cuts in academic programs and municipal services loom over the next few years as they run out of other options for holding down increases in tax levies.

“It will be very difficult, to say the least” to stay under the cap, said Raymond Herr, chief financial officer for Paramus. “You can’t keep things level forever.”

With blunter words, Hawthorne school Superintendent Robert Mooney said: “It’s not even remotely sustainable.”

The trend stretched across North Jersey, from upscale Tenafly, where the tax levy went up 1.9 percent, to the more modest quarters of Lodi, where it rose 1.1 percent. In town after town, increases sought in 2012 paled in comparison to those imposed in the prior decade, according to an analysis by The Record of property tax data for this year.

The results helped keep the increase in the typical residential tax bill to $100 in Bergen, from $9,232 last year to $9,332 this year, and $124 in Passaic, from $8,618 to $8,742, the analysis found.

To be sure, North Jersey property taxes remain among the highest in the nation and continue to rank among residents’ foremost concerns. At a time when salaries and incomes are falling behind inflation, and the cost of owning a home consumes 25 to 30 percent of the typical North Jersey household’s income, property taxes represent one of the largest expenses for most homeowners.

But in the previous 10 years, median residential property tax bills in most communities rose by $300 to $500 annually, with some increases running $750 to $1,000.

Governor Christie’s office hailed the trend, noting that Trenton didn’t just enact the cap law, it tried to help localities stay within the 2 percent ceiling by adopting cost-saving reforms to health and pension benefits and public-employee salary arbitrations.

Indeed, there are signs that some key underlying inflators of the cost of local government are easing. According to the state Public Employment Relations Commission, salaries in contracts it has on file for the first four months of this year show increases of less than 2 percent; that builds on a similar trend for all of 2011.

“The 2 percent cap is the law and must be met with limited exceptions; so it’s working as intended,” said Michael Drewniak, the governor’s spokesman. “That’s good and it’s gratifying that municipalities have reset spending priorities and streamlined their operations.”

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said the trend “shows that the cap … is working.” He added that government “needs to be run more efficiently and at a reduced cost to the taxpayers of this state.”

Nevertheless, local officials say they expect future pay raises negotiated with public-employee unions, rising pension and health insurance expenses, and the increasing cost of maintaining buildings and grounds to make it tougher to find places to cut.

“It’s got to give somewhere,” said Robert Finger, business administrator for the Teaneck schools. “[We], and probably every other district, will be saying: OK, we are staying within the 2 percent cap. But guess what? Courtesy busing is going away. Class sizes will increase. We will put off doing that new roof. And we won’t be expanding the library.”

As the debate continues, taxpayers welcome the trend, but some wonder if it goes far enough.

From two residents in Northvale, where the typical $9,453 residential bill and 2 percent increase echoed Bergen County-wide figures, the latest numbers drew a mixed reaction.

“It’s less than I have to worry about paying out of my pocket. I’m a lot happier,” said Robert Otworth, adding that he is pleased with what he gets in municipal services and school programs for the tax on his two-story colonial.

But a few blocks away, retiree Edward Kammer said even a small increase was difficult to pay.

“Even that little bit is a little too much,” he said, noting that he objected to six-figure salaries made by some police officers. “I’m just barely making it.”

Cutbacks, shared services

In its analysis, The Record found that:

•The total tax levy across Bergen County municipalities rose 1.8 percent to $3.39 billion, from $3.33 billion in 2011-12. (The figures cover all but East Rutherford, which has yet to set its levy because of a dispute over payments by the Meadowlands Sports Complex.) The total in all Passaic municipalities rose 1.7 percent to $1.34 billion, from $1.32 billion. Levies comprise total taxes paid by all property owners in a town to fund municipal and county governments, as well as public schools.

•Increases stayed at or below 2 percent in 44 of the 86 municipalities in Bergen and Passaic, with 19 others coming in at less than 3 percent.

•Jumps of greater than 4 percent — ubiquitous just a few years ago — were seen only in Edgewater, Moonachie and Park Ridge in Bergen County, and Little Falls, Ringwood and Woodland Park in Passaic. Nowhere in the two counties did taxes rise more than 6 percent. Increases of more than 2 percent are allowed under the cap law in some circumstances, including the need to pay for emergency expenses, jumps in health and pension benefit costs and construction loans.

•The typical residential tax in the most recent bills ranged from $5,902 in industrial Carlstadt to $15,445 in mansion-heavy Alpine. Individual tax bills are the result of how towns parcel out the tax levy to each property owner. The median bill actually dropped in some towns because of updates in tax assessments that shift relative tax burdens among residential and commercial property owners.

Cost-control tactics varied from town to town and school system to school system, local officials say.

In some, payrolls were cut by reducing full-time employees to part time or by filling jobs vacated by retirees with lower-paid workers. Some left positions vacant.

Others used nuts-and-bolts measures: energy-efficient utility systems, shared services with nearby communities, centralized gas purchases for municipal vehicles or garbage collection contracts renewed at reduced rates.

“It’s not really a headline grabber when a borough stops letting the volunteer ambulance corps buy their own gas, but those are the things that are going into stretching out the low increases for another year,” said Frank Di Maria, auditor for Lodi and eight other Bergen County municipalities.

Still others used surpluses and short-term fixes to keep levies in check.

In Northvale, Councilman Pat Marana said the borough had unspent funds from the 2011 budget and money left over from completed construction projects. The borough also saved money by converting its public library to a digital media center.

In Teaneck, school officials helped keep the town’s overall levy increase to less than 1 percent by using extra state aid in 2011, a budget surplus and a decision to postpone plans to install new lockers and upgrade school security systems, said Finger.

Higher local fees

Municipalities have also found ways to stay within the cap by increasing fees for municipal services, such as recreation, trash collection and water — moves that help balance the books but don’t necessarily benefit taxpayers.

Christie and Sweeney are pushing to close that loophole by making fees fall within the cap. Sweeney introduced a bill in May and the Senate adopted it that month, but it hasn’t moved out of committee in the Assembly.

A separate bill that passed the Senate last week and is pending in the Assembly would require local governments to share services when there is proof of cost savings. Voters would cast ballots on whether to share services and if they defeat the measures, the town would lose state aid equal to the amount of the projected savings.

Beyond the balance sheets, local officials said the weather lent a hand with a warm 2011-12 winter that kept heating and snow-removal costs down, freeing up money for other things. In the wake of superstorm Sandy, officials said they expected to recoup most of the cleanup costs with federal aid and insurance payouts.

But not every place was able to keep increases low, and in many cases officials made use of exemptions available under the cap law.

Leonia’s 3.6 percent increase was driven largely by the need to pay off bonds sold to finance school building improvements, said school district Business Administrator Julia Perez.

In Bogota, a rise of just under 4 percent resulted partly from increases in pension contributions, deferred overtime expenses from 2011 and money needed to pay off bonds, said Borough Manager Leonard Nicolosi. He noted that a 2 percent increase in the borough’s budget would barely pay for police raises.

And in the Passaic Valley Regional School District, which serves Woodland Park, Totowa and Little Falls, the property tax support required by the district shot up 9 percent mainly because of an unusually large 8.4 percent rise in enrollment, said Business Administrator Paul Gerber. That included a jump in the number of special-education students who require more expensive programs, he said.

One other factor that led to increases in Edgewater, Moonachie, Little Falls and Woodland Park, and declines in Englewood, Rockleigh and Paterson, was a reallocation among municipalities of levies required to fund county governments.

Looking ahead, officials predict that increases exceeding the cap will become the rule rather than the exception, unless residents are willing to accept service cuts.

“You can get by for a while with cutting expenses, but you’ve got to find ways to increase revenues,” said Herr, the Paramus finance chief.

Others note a weak economic recovery, sluggish real-estate market and potential cuts in state and federal education and local government aid as additional obstacles.

“We’re looking at hoping the economy kicks in,” said William Dressel, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. “It kind of gives you a headache when you look at the prospects.”

Staff Writer Melissa Hayes contributed to this article.
Email: sheingold@northjersey.com

Easing the burden

Increases in tax levies to support municipal and county government as well as local and regional schools continued to slow in 2012, following the imposition of a 2 percent cap in 2010.

Year Bergen County Pct chg Passaic County Pct chg
2000 1,876,633,659   724,096,687
2001 1,963,506,736 4.6 755,207,452 4.3
2002 2,082,626,899 6.1 802,900,610 6.3
2003 2,201,698,956 5.7 851,594,654 6.1
2004 2,358,571,178 7.1 904,418,302 6.2
2005 2,516,466,512 6.7 963,272,286 6.5
2006 2,680,865,184 6.5 1,029,176,577 6.8
2007 2,856,304,136 6.5 1,094,192,591 6.3
2008 2,999,323,288 5.0 1,152,383,645 5.3
2009 3,118,811,131 4.0 1,197,414,568 3.9
2010 3,247,232,218 4.1 1,258,144,653 5.1
2011 3,331,984,845 2.6 1,318,922,016 4.8
2012 3,393,070,740 1.8 1,341,901,368 1.7
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 15, 2013, 01:59:58 AM
Hackensack among municipalities to receive flat aid amount from state (http://www.northjersey.com/news/198396191_Hackensack_among_municipalities_to_receive_flat_aid_amount_from_state.html?page=all)
Friday, March 15, 2013
Hackensack Chronicle

As Governor Christie revealed his 2014 budget, the year's aid amounts grappled towns state-wide as news came out that most municipalities would not receive any additional aid to help relieve property taxes —marking aid to remain flat.

The budget, introduced Feb. 26, has a total proposed amount of $32.9 billion, with municipal aid for the 2014 fiscal year making up $1.364 billion of the total budget, according to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

"In total, the budget I am submitting to you today provides $32.9 billion," Governor Christie said during his budget address. "While we are meeting the needs of our people in this budget, we are doing it by spending less than the state spent in Fiscal Year 2008."

According to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, the fact that communities suffered in recent months, particularly due to Hurricane Sandy, should have been taken into consideration when the state was working towards dispersing aid to municipalities.

"I understand that we are in an economic crisis, I get that," Sokolich said. "I also get that the governor has been hinting at expecting less by way of aid, but we continue to send money down to Trenton and not getting anything back."

According to DCA, aid for Fort Lee is $1.77 million.

While the average property tax bill increased in 2012, the DCA said that progress has been made since the increase is the lowest in over twenty years.

"In 2011, New Jersey homeowners saw a statewide average rise of 2.4 [percent] in property taxes. In 2012, the statewide average increase was just 1.4 [percent], the lowest in 24 years," according to the DCA.

"Property taxes had increased 70 percent in the previous 10 years," Governor Christie said. "The state had increased taxes and fees 115 times in the prior eight years."

However, according to Sokolich, this statement does not ring true.

"In order for our tax rates to be zero, that would mean I would have to find $2 million somewhere within our budget, but when you have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Sandy and send hundreds of thousands down to Trenton it's impossible…[Trenton is] basically telling municipalities to pay [it] more and make due with less."

Sokolich expects a slight increase in taxes, due to the situation Fort Lee is faced with.

"Our increase to the average homeowner in Fort Lee would be $110 a year –approximately $28 a quarter," he said. "That is not that much, but our residents don't want to see their taxes increase."

While Leonia Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Myrna Becker "didn't expect it to go up, given that it is an election year," she said that the borough is getting through these economically trying times by reducing the number of municipal workers.

The amount of aid Leonia received for the 2014 fiscal year is barely over $1 million.

"The aid is very helpful for our budget," she said. "But because of the situation we are faced with, and that many other municipalities are in, our employee base was reduced. Yes, we've seen a decline in revenues and state aid, but thankfully we've been managing by reducing our municipal work force."

Leonia Mayor John DeSimone was not surprised by the lack of aid either.

"This was to be expected," he said. "It doesn't come as any surprise."

Hackensack City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono shared the same sentiments.

"I'll be honest, I based my budget on flat state aid before we even got word from the state," Lo Iacono said. "I'm not surprised. I am grateful that it wasn't less, but with the same token, it would have been nice to receive more monies back that belong to the municipalities."

Hackensack's aid is an approximate $4.3 million.

Edgewater Mayor James Delaney — whose borough received an aid amount totaling $750,731 — does not think the aid numbers will effect Edgewater's budget.

"I'm a little surprised as we were hoping for more," he said. "We could have used it. But I don't think it will effect our budget."

The flat aid amounts given to municipalities will prevent them from having to scramble to make due with a decrease, according to Governor Christie.

However, Sokolich pointed out that, while aid was not reduced, new items are added to the budgets of municipalities, but the necessary aid is not allotted.

"[Fort Lee has] new items to spend on —our schools' Safety Resource Officers, an excess of $500,000 in Hurricane Sandy [damage] and we have to send down to Trenton, along other municipalities, hundreds of thousands in contributions without getting aid in return," he said. "It is not a leveled playing field."

Property tax reform, which aid falls under, is far from coming to a conclusion, according to the DCA.

The DCA is a state agency that provides guidance, financial support and technical assistance to local governments, community development organizations, businesses and individuals.

A juggling act is ahead for municipalities due to the aid amount received and the rising costs towns are acquiring, Sokolich said.

"I can't impose more of a burden to our tax payers, but at the same time I have to make sure to keep the way of life that our tax payers are accustomed to," he said. "That is the challenge."
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 22, 2013, 03:48:44 PM
Hackensack budget update (http://www.northjersey.com/hackensack/Hackensack_budget_update.html)
Friday March 22, 2013, 11:34 AM
The Record

What's new: Hackensack officials introduced a $91.9 million budget this week, a 2.2 percent increase over last year's $90 million.

What it means: The estimated $76 million municipal tax levy would represent a 2.4 percent increase over 2011, when it was $74.2 million. Under the spending plan, the owner of a home assessed at $243,020, the city's average, would pay an additional $118.84 per year — or $9.90 per month.

What's in it: The city plans to maintain services and avoid layoffs, said City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono. He noted that about 50 positions have remained unfilled for five years in various departments, except police and fire. The city's salary and wage expenses increase by 3.8 percent in the budget plan. Other changes include a $367,353 decrease in debt service and a $171,000 reduction in group insurance costs. A quarter of the tax increase can be attributed to tax appeal payments, as market property values continue to fall, Lo Iacono said.

What's next: A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 7, at City Hall, 65 Central Ave.

-- Hannan Adely
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Victor E Sasson on March 22, 2013, 06:13:09 PM
That brief from The Record doesn't mention property taxes would rise 3.3% under the proposed budget or that the tremendous amount of untaxed property at Hackensack University Medical Center and Fairleigh Dickinson University's Hackensack campus are a tremendous burden on homeowners.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Homer Jones on March 22, 2013, 07:04:21 PM
You might want to check with the tax assessor on Monday to find out how much in taxes the three office buildings on "Fairleigh Dickinson University's Hackensack campus" pay in taxes. It is my understanding that when the University started acquiring property in Hackensack in the 1960's , the City and the University made an agreement that for every non ratable constructed by the University they would have to construct a ratable. That is why there are three office buildings on that campus.
Back in the 1980's when the University built the Rothman Arena, they constructed 3 University Plaza which is one of the largest office buildings in the City.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: irons35 on March 22, 2013, 11:47:42 PM
almost 2 million dollars paid in taxes per year for the 3 buildings.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on March 23, 2013, 02:16:23 PM
The Sanzari Medical Arts Building also pays taxes, and the tall hospital tower ( I think the address is 20 Prospect) pays taxes for 20 to 30 years from when it was built. And then it becomes tax exempt.  I think one of the parking towers has a similar arrangement, it pays taxes for a set number of years.

The 3 office buildings at FDU pay taxes forever.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: hackensack_newbie on March 25, 2013, 08:40:03 PM
I'm surprised to hear that FDU and HUMC pay any taxes since they are non-profits. Do religious institutions pay taxes as well?
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 25, 2013, 10:47:22 PM
No, religious institutions typically don't pay taxes.  Educational and hospital uses are exempt too, but the use of the particular parcel may not be exempt.  Here's a good resource: http://tax1.co.monmouth.nj.us/cgi-bin/prc6.cgi?district=0223&ms_user=monm for checking on property taxes (Thanks irons).  Bergen County GIS is another, but it can be a little cumbersome: http://gis.co.bergen.nj.us/ (Zoom in close to the parcel and hit the info button in the upper right. Then, click on the parcel. A box will pop up.  Hit the little triangle to display more info about owner, taxes, etc.)

The statute:
54:4-3.6. Tax exempt property.

      54:4-3.6. The following property shall be exempt from taxation under this chapter: all buildings actually used for colleges, schools, academies or seminaries, provided that if any portion of such buildings are leased to profit-making organizations or otherwise used for purposes which are not themselves exempt from taxation, said portion shall be subject to taxation and the remaining portion only shall be exempt; all buildings actually used for historical societies, associations or exhibitions, when owned by the State, county or any political subdivision thereof or when located on land owned by an educational institution which derives its primary support from State revenue; all buildings actually and exclusively used for public libraries, asylum or schools for adults and children with intellectual disabilities; all buildings used exclusively by any association or corporation formed for the purpose and actually engaged in the work of preventing cruelty to animals; all buildings actually and exclusively used and owned by volunteer first-aid squads, which squads are or shall be incorporated as associations not for pecuniary profit; all buildings actually used in the work of associations and corporations organized exclusively for the moral and mental improvement of men, women and children, provided that if any portion of a building used for that purpose is leased to profit-making organizations or is otherwise used for purposes which are not themselves exempt from taxation, that portion shall be subject to taxation and the remaining portion only shall be exempt; all buildings actually used in the work of associations and corporations organized exclusively for religious purposes, including religious worship, or charitable purposes, provided that if any portion of a building used for that purpose is leased to a profit-making organization or is otherwise used for purposes which are not themselves exempt from taxation, that portion shall be subject to taxation and the remaining portion shall be exempt from taxation, and provided further that if any portion of a building is used for a different exempt use by an exempt entity, that portion shall also be exempt from taxation; all buildings actually used in the work of associations and corporations organized exclusively for hospital purposes, provided that if any portion of a building used for hospital purposes is leased to profit-making organizations or otherwise used for purposes which are not themselves exempt from taxation, that portion shall be subject to taxation and the remaining portion only shall be exempt; all buildings owned or held by an association or corporation created for the purpose of holding the title to such buildings as are actually and exclusively used in the work of two or more associations or corporations organized exclusively for the moral and mental improvement of men, women and children; all buildings owned by a corporation created under or otherwise subject to the provisions of Title 15 of the Revised Statutes or Title 15A of the New Jersey Statutes and actually and exclusively used in the work of one or more associations or corporations organized exclusively for charitable or religious purposes, which associations or corporations may or may not pay rent for the use of the premises or the portions of the premises used by them; the buildings, not exceeding two, actually occupied as a parsonage by the officiating clergymen of any religious corporation of this State, together with the accessory buildings located on the same premises; the land whereon any of the buildings hereinbefore mentioned are erected, and which may be necessary for the fair enjoyment thereof, and which is devoted to the purposes above mentioned and to no other purpose and does not exceed five acres in extent; the furniture and personal property in said buildings if used in and devoted to the purposes above mentioned; all property owned and used by any nonprofit corporation in connection with its curriculum, work, care, treatment and study of men, women, or children with intellectual disabilities shall also be exempt from taxation, provided that such corporation conducts and maintains research or professional training facilities for the care and training of men, women, or children with intellectual disabilities; provided, in case of all the foregoing, the buildings, or the lands on which they stand, or the associations, corporations or institutions using and occupying them as aforesaid, are not conducted for profit, except that the exemption of the buildings and lands used for charitable, benevolent or religious purposes shall extend to cases where the charitable, benevolent or religious work therein carried on is supported partly by fees and charges received from or on behalf of beneficiaries using or occupying the buildings; provided the building is wholly controlled by and the entire income therefrom is used for said charitable, benevolent or religious purposes; and any tract of land purchased pursuant to subsection (n) of section 21 of P.L.1971, c.199 (C.40A:12-21), and located within a municipality, actually used for the cultivation and sale of fresh fruits and vegetables and owned by a duly incorporated nonprofit organization or association which includes among its principal purposes the cultivation and sale of fresh fruits and vegetables, other than a political, partisan, sectarian, denominational or religious organization or association. The foregoing exemption shall apply only where the association, corporation or institution claiming the exemption owns the property in question and is incorporated or organized under the laws of this State and authorized to carry out the purposes on account of which the exemption is claimed or where an educational institution, as provided herein, has leased said property to a historical society or association or to a corporation organized for such purposes and created under or otherwise subject to the provisions of Title 15 of the Revised Statutes or Title 15A of the New Jersey Statutes.

      As used in this section "hospital purposes" includes health care facilities for the elderly, such as nursing homes; residential health care facilities; assisted living residences; facilities with a Class C license pursuant to P.L.1979, c.496 (C.55:13B-1 et al.), the "Rooming and Boarding House Act of 1979"; similar facilities that provide medical, nursing or personal care services to their residents; and that portion of the central administrative or service facility of a continuing care retirement community that is reasonably allocable as a health care facility for the elderly.

      amended 1941, c.243; 1949, c.85; 1960, c.119; 1962, c.154, s.1; 1964, c.42; 1966, c.318; 1977, c.370; 1983, c.224; 1985, c.395; 1993, c.166; 2001, c.18; 2010, c.50, s.81; 2011, c.35, s.4; 2011, c.171, s.4.
 Sections:  Previous  4-3.3b  4-3.3c  4-3.3d  4-3.3e  4-3.3f  4-3.4  4-3.5  4-3.6  4-3.6a  4-3.6b  4-3.6c  4-3.6d  4-3.6e  4-3.6f  4-3.6g  Next
Last modified: February 14, 2012

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 29, 2013, 10:17:24 AM
Proposed $91.95 million municipal budget linked to tax appeals, officials said (http://www.northjersey.com/news/200554021_Proposed__91_95_million_municipal_budget_linked_to_tax_appeals__officials_said.html?page=all)
Friday, March 29, 2013
Hackensack Chronicle
Loss in ratables from tax appeals are directly linked to the increase in the municipal budget for 2013, officials said.

The proposed municipal budget, totaling $91.95 million, an increase of 2.2 percent, was introduced at the March 19 council meeting.

The tax increase for residents, with an average home assessed at $243,020, is approximately $118 for the year. The total increase of the budget is 2.2 percent.

Hackensack Chief Financial Officer Tammy Lyn Zucca and Municipal Accountant Steven Wielkotz briefly discussed the budget during the meeting.

"Twenty-four percent [of the tax increase] is directly related to the loss in ratables from tax appeals," Wielkotz said.

According to Zucca's and Wielkotz's presentation, the factors impacting the budget include "the general state of the economy, the impact of tax appeals, retirements, interest rates [and] flat state aid."

Though there is a 2 percent cap on tax increases, there are certain waivers that allow for a municipality to go over the mandated cap, including debt, capital expenses, health benefits, pension pay and "expenses incurred in connection with a state of emergency," according to New Jersey's Office of the Governor.

According to the budget explanatory statement, "Major pension fund contributions increased by nearly $100,000."

City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono further explained: "We originally had a $89 increase for the typical home, but we were waiting for the ratable number to come in from the county. Once we finally had this number, nothing changed in the budget — not a figure, nothing was added — but there was an decrease of 24 percent in ratable value."

According to Lo Iacono, when the evaluation rate decreases, the tax rate has to go up to make up for the loss of revenue.

"This is what caused a change in the rate," he said.

The flat aid Hackensack received from Trenton — a total of $4.3 million — did not assist in alleviating the budget increase.

In an earlier interview with Lo Iacono, he stated that the city based the budget on a flat aid number.

"I'll be honest, I based my budget on flat state aid before we even got word from the state," Lo Iacono said.

Based on the information presented, salaries and wages comprise $39.36 million — or 42.8 percent — of the total budget. This amount is up from last year's adopted $37.9 million figure.

Pay for the police and fire department make up the majority of the city's salaries. The police department proposed $14.2 million in salaries, up from the $13.75 million the previous year — a 3.1 percent increase. The fire department's salaries are up a 3.8 percent to a total of $12.5 million — up from $12.3 million.

A public hearing on the budget and tax resolution is planned for May 7.

Email: vazquez@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on May 10, 2013, 02:42:38 PM
Hackensack Council adopts $91.95 million budget (http://www.northjersey.com/news/206920121_Hackensack_Council_adopts__91_95_million_budget.html)
Friday May 10, 2013, 10:58 AM
Hackensack Chronicle

HACKENSACK - In a 4-1 vote, the City Council adopted the 2013 municipal budget, totaling $91.95 million - a 2.2 percent hike over 2012.

The vote took place during the May 7 council meeting, following the budget's public hearing.

Councilman John Labrosse, who voted against the budget, wanted more cut from the spending plan.

"I have gone back and forth with [City Manager Stephen] Lo Iacono," Labrosse said referring to his attempts at further understanding the budget. "Not $1 has been taken off from the budget since it was introduced."

Labrosse said that the lack of meetings and communication within the budget committee, and not sufficient time to look over the spending plan, influenced his vote.

Mayor Michael Melfi, a budget committee member, disagreed, stating that Labrosse, also a committee member, should have been present at all meetings and prepared with the presented information beforehand - prior to voting.

For a home assessed at $243,020, taxes will increase approximately $118 for the year.

The spending plan calls for approximately $76 million raised through taxes - 2.43 percent more than last year.

Some of the largest factors driving up the budget this year are the sluggish economy, tax appeals, retirements, interest rates, and state aid remaining flat, according to information from the city's chief financial officer and accountant from the March 19 council meeting.

"Continuing property value issues have had a significant effect on this budget. Fully 24 [percent] of the Municipal Tax increase is attributed to a reduction in ratable value," according to the budget's explanatory statement.

Loss in ratables from tax appeals are directly linked to the increase in the municipal budget for 2013, officials have previously said.

When the evaluation rate decreases, the tax rate increases to make up for the loss of revenue, City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono said in a previous interview.

During the public hearing Kathleen Canestrino, a city council candidate with the Citizens for Change slate, said the city government should trim the "other expenses" line item to lower the total budget. "Other expenses" total $34.33 million.

In response, Lo Iacono and Weilkotz said that further lowering the budget was not practical since in reality, it is lower than it should be. According to both, the city should have budgeted another $300,000 for salary adjustments.

The 2013 budget calls for salaries and wages to comprise $39.36 million - or 42.8 percent - of the total budget. This is the largest appropriation in the plan. This amount is up from last year's adopted $37.9 million figure.

Pay for the police and fire department make up the majority of the city's salaries. The police department proposed $14.2 million in salaries, up from the $13.75 million the previous year - a 3.1 percent increase. The fire department's salaries are up a 3.8 percent to a total of $12.5 million.

Email: vazquez@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on September 26, 2013, 12:01:48 AM
N.J. Supreme Court grants tax-exempt status to Hackensack non-profit, ends tax battle with 11 Bergen County towns
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 6:49 PM
The Record

A Hackensack-based non-profit that houses and serves the psychiatrically disabled in a dozen Bergen County municipalities was granted a property tax exemption by the state Supreme Court in a decision published Wednesday.

The court ruled unanimously that Advance Housing is exempt from paying property taxes on 21 properties throughout the county. The ruling settles a legal battle between the charity and the municipalities that dates to 2001.

The decision will breathe new life into the non-profit, which owed more than a million dollars in property taxes to Teaneck, Bergenfield, Little Ferry, Ramsey, Ridgefield Park, Lodi, Fairview, Leonia and Hackensack. The exact figure was not available Wednesday, but in 2011 Advanced owed $916,384.

The ruling will allow Advance to reinvest in its properties and perhaps clear out its line of credit and begin to give raises to employees who have had their pay frozen for five years, said Mary Rossettini, Advance’s president and chief executive officer.

“It’s been hard to keep employees,” Rossettini said. “They come, get experience and earn the master’s degrees, and then they leave. It’s been a part of doing business.”

Advance’s business model did not include tax payments, and during the intervening 12 years the non-profit has had to set aside money in case it ultimately lost its court battle.

The court upheld an Appellate Division decision from 2011. In that decision, a three-judge panel said it was clear that Advance’s operations integrated housing and support services and therefore met the requirements for Advance to qualify for tax exemption.

Attorneys for some of the municipalities had argued that Advance did not qualify for tax-exempt status because it principally provides fair-market housing for the disabled, with support services amounting to a separate entity.

The appeals court ruling overturned a tax court ruling that sided with the towns.

Advance Housing applied for tax-exempt status in 2001 so it could seek funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the municipalities turned it down. The non-profit tried to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes but failed to get that.

“It’s just a huge exhale,” Rossettini said. “We’ve been fighting this battle for more than a decade, and it’s a relief to know that the justice system works for the people that need it most.”

Email: mcgrathm@northjersey.com

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/bergenfield/NJ_Supreme_Court_grants_tax-exempt_status_to_Hackensack_non-profit_ends_tax_battle_with_11_Bergen_County_towns.html?page=all#sthash.IoXu9COK.dpuf
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on September 26, 2013, 06:46:20 PM
What we need is legislation in Trenton that requires COUNTIES to pay property tax to municipalities for all county buildings, non-profits, hospitals, universities, and churches. They would have to raise taxes to do this, but it is really in the best interests of towns with a lot of tax-exempt property. For instance, Hackensack.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on October 04, 2013, 02:19:04 PM
Hackensack faces $5.5 million in tax appeal payouts
Friday, October 4, 2013
Hackensack Chronicle

Faced with an increasing amount of tax appeal payouts, some, according to officials, predating 2006, the Mayor and Council approved a resolution for an emergency appropriation in the total of $5.5 million to tackle the issue.

The governing body approved the resolution authorizing the amount during the Sept. 17 meeting.

According to Chief Financial Officer Tammy Zucca, the tax appeals involved many commercial properties over the years.

"We have a lot of commercial properties appealing their taxes and judgments were awarded," she explained. "There are at least 60 properties."

According to the resolution, the "emergency appropriation shall be provided from a refunding bond ordinance to be adopted prior to December 31, 2013 or will be funded in full in the [calendar year] 2014 budget." If the latter occurs, roughly $2.4 million of the $5.5 million emergency appropriation amount is requested to be excluded from CAPS, while the rest will be within CAPS.

News of the tax appeal payments did not sit well with Hackensack resident Regina DiPasqua.

"I am very unhappy with the problem that has been inherited — the tax appeals," she told the Mayor and Council during the meeting.

Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino also expressed her disdain over the "inherited" issue the city has to face.

"Everyone that knows me knows that I'm the money girl," she addressed the public. "It's very upsetting to me also having to look to payout $5.5 million in tax appeals. We have good people researching these things and we are going to do what is right in this city. Many of these tax appeals go back to 2006 — if you can believe it that they remained unpaid. It's unfathomable to me that these things can go back and predate that long. We've inherited these things. We're going to work through them together. Everything has a solution. Everything is solvable if we put our heads together and do the right thing for the city."

Zucca further explained how the city could have tax appeals dating back to 2006.

"We can't control when residents and commercial owners appeal their taxes," she said. "When they appeal is not our responsibility. They might take four years to bring their tax appeal requests to our attention…maybe because some go through lawyers and take longer."

Councilwoman Rose Greenman assured the residents that the city will investigate how it came to be in the position that it is currently in.

"We inherited the problem," she said. "It's not a pleasant situation to be hit with all of this. We're looking into it. We are going to find the guilty parties. We are going to investigate and make sure that the people who did not do what they were supposed to do would be shown for what they have done. We are going to work very hard to reconcile all of this and to remain in your good graces."

Mayor John Labrosse shared similar sentiments.

"It's never fun inheriting a $5.5 million gorilla like this but we'll get through it," he said. "It's not going to be easy but we'll do what's right. We have some great people working behind us."

Email: vazquez@northjersey.com
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/226412361_Hackensack_faces__5_5_million_in_tax_appeal_payouts_million_in_tax_appeal_payouts.html?page=all#sthash.qBGmcGWh.dpuf
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on February 11, 2014, 08:47:51 AM
Donovan calls for tax hike in Bergen County near 2%
Monday, February 10, 2014    Last updated: Monday February 10, 2014, 8:42 AM
The Record

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan will propose a $511 million budget this week that calls for a nearly 2 percent increase in the amount to be raised by county taxes.

That will mean a tax increase of $6.49 this year for the owner of a home assessed at the county average of $324,200.


Also not included in the budget are proceeds the county expects from the sale of two Hackensack properties: the former County Police station on Zabriskie Street and the former Probation Department office on River Street.

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/244703061_Donovan_calls_for_tax_hike_near_2_.html?page=all#sthash.gxXriBVA.dpuf
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 21, 2014, 03:29:45 PM
NJ's highest average property taxes were in Bergen County last year, data shows (http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/03/njs_highest_property_tax_bill_in_2013_was_in_bergen_county_data_shows.html)
Brent Johnson/The Star-Ledger 
on March 21, 2014 at 1:42 PM, updated March 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM
TRENTON — Bergen County saw the highest average property tax bill in New Jersey last year, while Cumberland County had the cheapest, according to new data released by the state Department of Community Affairs.

The average property tax bill statewide was $7,988 in 2013 — a 1.7 percent bump from the year before.

The average bill in Bergen County was $10,642 — an increase of 1.5 percent. That helped move Bergen past Essex as the county with the costliest tab.

Essex County ranked second in 2013, with an average bill of $10,590, followed by Union with $9,932, Morris with $9,547, and Passaic with $9,368.

The data factors in all municipal, school, and county taxes.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/03/njs_highest_property_tax_bill_in_2013_was_in_bergen_county_data_shows.html
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on May 16, 2014, 12:02:58 AM
Backlog of property-tax appeals may cost Hackensack $30M
May 15, 2014, 11:42 PM    Last updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014, 11:45 PM
staff writer
The Record

A backlog of hundreds of tax appeals – some dating back nearly a decade — could cost Hackensack as much as $30 million, forcing the city to borrow the money instead of investing in infrastructure improvements, officials acknowledged this week.

City leaders blame the backlog on shoddy record keeping by the previous administration.

“It wasn’t even organized chaos. It was just chaos,” said Anthony Rottino, the interim city manager, describing Hackensack’s old system of property tax records. “This is going to have a dramatic impact on the city’s budget and its bond rating.”

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: just watching on May 16, 2014, 06:35:03 AM
Newark has getting clobbered with this even worse.  Every year the city council balances the budget, but because of the tax appeals, last year they were over $30 million short, and this year they may be as much as $90 million short.  They have reduced over 1500 employees off their payroll over the last 5 years.

Now, Hackensack needs to raise "x" each year to run itself.  If the value of all properties goes down 10% and everyone wins their tax appeals, all the city needs to do is raise taxes 10% and then you'll be back to "x".  I know it's not popular, but it's either that or cutting your employees.  Or some combination thereof.

Maybe it is time for Hackensack to take another look at privatization of the DPW.  Get rid of all those expensive pension and benefit packages, injury lawsuits, insurance costs, etc.  And whoever wins the contract could potentially rent space at the city DPW facility for equipment storage.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on May 18, 2014, 10:43:11 AM
Record Opinion: http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-editorials/hole-in-hackensack-1.1018416
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on June 03, 2014, 09:10:02 AM
Officials discuss possible fix of Hackensack's tax appeal ordeal, $1 billion in ratable base loss
May 30, 2014    Last updated: Friday, May 30, 2014, 12:31 AM
By Jennifer Vazquez
Hackensack Chronicle

HACKENSACK — Undergoing a city-wide reevaluation in 2015 and implementing a rolling reassessment for subsequent years may help Hackensack with reducing tax appeals and halt the $1 billion in net value loss it experienced over the past seven years, administration officials said.

The last time the city underwent a reevaluation was in 2007. Since then, "we’ve had $1 billion knocked off the total ratable base," Tax Assessor Art Carlson said.

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on June 10, 2014, 02:18:08 PM
Hackensack proposed budget includes tax hike
June 10, 2014    Last updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 1:21 AM
The Record

HACKENSACK – The proposed city budget will be $2.5 million larger than last year's, with a significant tax increase for property owners, according to a summary released Monday by a city official.

The fiscal 2015 budget calls for the city to spend $94.4 million — a 2.73-percent increase over the current year that includes a 4.37 percent property tax hike. The increase would cost the average homeowner an additional $161.79 if the proposed budget is passed, according to a statement released by city spokesman Thom Ammirato. The council was scheduled to discuss the budget Tuesday night, but the meeting was canceled late in the day because council member Dave Sims will be elsewhere receiving a community service award and members Leo Battaglia and Rose Greenman are sick, said Deputy Mayor Kathy Canestrino.

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on June 28, 2014, 11:01:10 PM
Hackensack takes first step in revaluation, yearly assessment
JUNE 27, 2014    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014, 12:31 AM

HACKENSACK — The council took its first step in a revaluation of all city property and subsequent annual reassessments by approving a resolution authorizing the issuance of requests for proposals for revaluations during the June 19 council meeting.

The move comes after Hackensack Chief Financial Officer James Mangin determined that tax appeals have had a significant impact on the city's finances.

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/council-takes-step-toward-revaluation-1.1042548#sthash.8YW9zzEV.dpuf
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: itsmetoo on July 04, 2014, 03:42:43 PM
Privatizing the DPW will not get rid of the expensive pension payouts and benefits.  For the most part, those who work there are not paid very well. I recall when this suggestion came up years ago. There was a large scale push back from the African American citizens.  The majority of African American employment opportunities in Hackensack are through the DPW.  If you look at the majority of city offices and departments, that still rings true today.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on July 14, 2014, 09:06:40 AM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on August 02, 2014, 08:57:19 PM
$8.6M bond introduced to finance Hackensack tax appeals
August 1, 2014    Last updated: Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:31 AM
By Jennifer Vazquez
Hackensack Chronicle

HACKENSACK — The city council introduced a bond ordinance totaling $8.6 million to finance tax appeal refunds.

The introduction, which took place at the July 21 Mayor and Council meeting, was in response to a backlog of tax appeals, some dating back to 2005, that has the city reeling — with expected millions still owed in the coming years.

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on September 15, 2014, 10:55:19 PM
Hackensack gains state approval of bond to settle tax appeals
September 15, 2014, 5:06 PM    Last updated: Monday, September 15, 2014, 5:06 PM
staff writer
The Record

HACKENSACK — The city won state approval for a long-term bond that enables it to settle more than $8 million in tax appeals, a move local officials say may encourage investment in downtown redevelopment plans.

The state Local Finance Board last week approved of a seven-year bond that will let the city repay $8.65 million in property tax appeals. At the same time, Hackensack adopted a plan to quickly bringing tax assessments up to date.

The city will have to request state approval for another bond of $8 to $10 million next year to settle the remaining tax appeals. But local officials and a development expert said resolving this first portion of the appeals puts the city on sturdier footing as the redevelopment begins.

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 20, 2015, 02:52:55 PM
Hackensack introduces $97.6M budget citing tax appeals as driving force behind 3.99-percent increase (http://www.northjersey.com/news/97-6m-budget-introduced-1.1292750?page=all)
March 20, 2015    Last updated: Friday, March 20, 2015, 12:31 AM
By Jennifer Vazquez
Hackensack Chronicle

HACKENSACK – Tax appeals are the main reason for the increase in the 2015 municipal budget, according to officials who introduced the spending plan on March 10.

Chief Financial Officer James Mangin and City Manager David Troast presented the proposed $97.6 million budget – a 3.99 percent increase over the 2014 spending plan. According to officials, a homeowner with an average assessed property of $239,263 will have an increase of $155.99 on the municipal property tax bill.

Mangin and Troast began working with department heads on the budget months ago. According to Troast, the initial requests from department heads would have resulted in a 6.38-percent increase in the budget. However, both Mangin and Troast worked with the departments and trimmed the overall budget
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 25, 2015, 09:51:44 AM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on April 17, 2015, 02:17:32 PM

Hackensack officials pass $97.6 million municipal budget
April 17, 2015    Last updated: Friday, April 17, 2015, 12:31 AM
By Jennifer Vazquez
Hackensack Chronicle

HACKENSACK – The City Council passed the $97.6 million budget — a 3.99 percent increase over the 2014 spending plan.

According to officials during the April 7 budget public hearing and adoption, the spending plan calls for a homeowner with an average assessed property of $239,263 to see an increase of $155.99 on the municipal property tax bill.

Tax appeals are the main reason for the increase in the 2015 municipal budget.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on May 01, 2015, 02:15:17 PM

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on July 27, 2015, 06:55:33 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on November 24, 2015, 09:23:23 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on December 05, 2015, 10:27:20 AM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on February 12, 2016, 03:59:23 PM
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/02/11/property-taxes/ (Interactive Map)

NJ’s Property Taxes Exceed Inflation, Outpace Income
Hackensack City
 Total tax levy: $170,576,036
 Average home value: $ 239,263
 Total tax rate: $3.5
 Average property tax bill: $8,373
  Change from 2014: 4.9%
  Change from 2010: 9.6%
 Had the average tax bill mirrored inflation, it would have totaled $ 8,329  in 2015. The difference was 0.5%.
Note: The rate of inflation (change in CPI) was 9% from 2010 to 2015.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 10, 2016, 01:16:22 AM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Victor E Sasson on March 10, 2016, 11:54:23 AM
On top of that 2% will be the hike for the $104 million Hackensack school budget, which hasn't been reported in The Record. You can find details on Eye on The Record. There is a school election on April 19 in which every resident can vote "yes" or "no" on the budget, but turnout has been extremely low in past years, even though school taxes are 44% of your total tax bill.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 10, 2016, 09:03:35 PM
From the City's site:



Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on April 29, 2016, 03:42:11 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on July 26, 2016, 11:03:51 PM

(Posting for reference.  Hackensack is not on the list.)

Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 21, 2017, 02:56:31 PM
Title: 2017 City Budget
Post by: Editor on March 28, 2017, 12:13:07 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on June 01, 2017, 08:21:40 AM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on April 11, 2018, 02:17:28 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on March 23, 2019, 12:18:23 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: ericmartindale on March 24, 2019, 08:44:15 AM
It's good news, but the announcement is not accurate.  The rosy fiscal picture is not so much the result of cost-cutting as it is a forecast of tax revenue coming in.

What's happening is they are expecting the city's net evaluation to go way up over the next five years.  Let's say for arguments sake, 20%.  If spending was held the same, the tax rate would go down 20%. The article is written as if the public doesn't understand tax math, and that's probably true for most people. Not true for me.  So spending will go up a little bit, and inflation will factor, but revenues coming in are forecast to go up much higher than spending and inflation.

I am not faulting them, as they deserve the credit for their end of it, holding spending down.  But the real story is the tremendous increase in tax revenues. A lot of that has to do with properties in the immediate proximity of new construction in the downtown and vicinity.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on April 25, 2019, 06:28:20 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on June 04, 2019, 06:06:20 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Victor E Sasson on June 11, 2019, 09:07:03 PM

https://thesassonreport.blogspot.com/2019/06/a-343000-bill-for-fire-protection.html (https://thesassonreport.blogspot.com/2019/06/a-343000-bill-for-fire-protection.html)
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Editor on May 21, 2020, 07:14:10 PM
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Victor E Sasson on May 26, 2020, 05:34:15 PM
Eric Martindale, can you elaborate on these statements?

"But the real story is the tremendous increase in tax revenues. A lot of that has to do with properties in the immediate proximity of new construction in the downtown and vicinity."

Are you saying properties next to new construction will be paying more in taxes? When do the buildings under construction start paying taxes, when they are finished, during construction or both?
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: ericmartindale on June 17, 2020, 06:25:13 AM
Yes Victor, that's how gentrification works.  Bring in one large development, and suddenly everything nearby is worth much more, for two main reasons.  (1) because a new and higher use has been established for the neighborhood, and theoretically other properties can be redeveloped (2) These are higher-income residents, and their spending power means that higher-end restaurants and retail can flourish in the vicinity. That also increases the business climate and attract more business. Even office use will be attracted.

One would have to look at the census reports from 2010 to establish the identity of the neighborhood, which I have not done.  But it's common knowledge that the downtown neighborhood is sparse, just a few people scattered about, living above storefronts, and just a few nearby homes and buildings. The population is low. They basically working class, and very heavily Latino and Black. The new neighborhood is middle to middle-upper income, and there will be significant numbers of Whites and Asians moving in. It'll be a very different neighborhood.  I'm sure they will be heavily supportive of "progressive" politics, whatever their background is. People wanting to live in a diverse downtown neighborhood are usually of that mindset. Who knows, they might even vote for Victor Sasson. God help us.
Title: Re: Property Taxes
Post by: Victor E Sasson on June 24, 2020, 11:41:18 AM
Just saw this. LOL. What would be so terrible that people might vote for me (anyway, I won't be running for office again) or a candidate like me?

You prefer Main Street the way it was?

I would like to identify all of the people who are profiting tremendously from redevelopment, not the developers, but people like the Gelbers, former Mayor Jack Zisa, the former head of the business association who spearheaded the redevelopment and too many others I don't know.