profile picture

English French Spanish

My New Blog

Tax appeals throughout Bergen County, New Jersey
September 14th, 2010 7:51 PM
No tax reassessment planned for Glen Rock
Friday, September 3, 2010
Glen Rock Gazette
STAFF WRITER

Despite a surge in tax appeals throughout Bergen County, there will likely be no tax reassessment of Glen Rock homes for at least two years, according to the borough's tax assessor.

"We don't have a clear-enough indication from recent sales that we need one," said Steve Rubenstein, the borough's tax assessor and a principal with New York-based Realty Appraisal Co. "When we last did one in Glen Rock, I kept the numbers modest enough."

By contrast, 20 towns in Bergen County are looking to perform reassessments or revaluations, and most have voluntarily asked for them, according to James Camisa, tax manager for the Bergen County Board of Taxation. These communities generally performed their last assessments before the markets crashed, and had valued homes on the high end of market prices.

"This year has been hectic," Camisa said. "A lot of it was the market, and a lot of it was that people were just panicking."

As a town's housing market fluctuates or goes out of sync with assessments, communities generally see a spike in tax appeals – as is the case in many of the towns seeking reassessments and revaluations. The county's Tax Board received 8,286 tax appeals this year – up from about 7,000 last year, Camisa said. Last year, Englewood hired an outside firm to assist with an onslaught of appeals.

Glen Rock, however, has not received a large increase in property tax appeals. In 2010, there were 37 appeals; in 2009, the number was 28, not including an appeal by a large condominium development that was later withdrawn. In 2008, there were 34 appeals.

"There's only been a slight uptake," Rubenstein said. "We haven't had any large-scale taxpayer revolt, no big meetings."

Tax appeals are costly and involve extra fees to assessors and attorneys, and successful appeals upset the balance among a community's taxpayers.

Glen Rock's last reassessment, conducted in 2006, cost the borough about $70,000; the last revaluation was conducted in 2002 and cost the borough more than $200,000, Rubenstein said. Revaluations are generally conducted by an outside firm and require an inspection of every single home. Reassessments are usually conducted by a municipal tax assessor and are calculated using a combination of the last revaluation's data and more recent housing sales data.

At the time of Glen Rock's last reassessment, Rubenstein said, he had deliberately assessed homes at 90 or 95 percent of their market value. The year 2006 "was a very hyper type of market, and I left a little margin for the market to fall. So we're not facing the same situation as some of these other towns," he said.

Mayor John van Keuren noted at the Aug. 17 Borough Council work session that residents had inquired about whether a tax assessment was planned in Glen Rock.

After conferring with Rubenstein, he suggested that the town abide by "what the tax assessor advises us."

"Even though it would appear that house sale prices are down in recent experiences, we are not at the point where we need a [revaluation]," van Keuren said.

In general, the best indicator for determining whether assessments are necessary is the assessment ratio, defined as the assessed values of a community's homes divided by their market values, or sale prices; the ratio is calculated by the New Jersey Division of Taxation for every community. If the ratio is below 85 percent, the county orders a reassessment. If the ratio is near or above 100 percent – that is, when a majority of homes sell for less than their assessed value – then towns often voluntarily request reassessments, Rubenstein said.

In 2009, Glen Rock's assessment ratio was calculated at 88.6 percent; in 2008 it was 86 percent.

The ratio will be recalculated in October, and Rubenstein estimated that Glen Rock's could crawl up above 90 percent – though still not high enough to order a reassessment or revaluation.

He acknowledged that some of Glen Rock's homes are now being sold for less than their assessed value, but added that "just as many" are being sold for more than their assessed value.

Another indicator for reassessments is the "coefficient of deviation," a calculation of the degree of variation in assessment ratios among individual homeowners. This indicator in Glen Rock is also moderate, Rubenstein said.

Towns approved for revaluations include Carlstadt, Demarest, Fairview, Garfield, Mahwah, Midland Park, North Arlington, Old Tappan, Tenafly, and Wood-Ridge.

Towns approved for reassessments include Hackensack, Norwood, Wallington, Park Ridge, Franklin Lakes, Ho-Ho-Kus, Englewood, Emerson, Ridgefield Park, and Cliffside Park.

E-mail: ebbels@northjersey.com

Despite a surge in tax appeals throughout Bergen County, there will likely be no tax reassessment of Glen Rock homes for at least two years, according to the borough's tax assessor.

"We don't have a clear-enough indication from recent sales that we need one," said Steve Rubenstein, the borough's tax assessor and a principal with New York-based Realty Appraisal Co. "When we last did one in Glen Rock, I kept the numbers modest enough."

By contrast, 20 towns in Bergen County are looking to perform reassessments or revaluations, and most have voluntarily asked for them, according to James Camisa, tax manager for the Bergen County Board of Taxation. These communities generally performed their last assessments before the markets crashed, and had valued homes on the high end of market prices.

"This year has been hectic," Camisa said. "A lot of it was the market, and a lot of it was that people were just panicking."

As a town's housing market fluctuates or goes out of sync with assessments, communities generally see a spike in tax appeals – as is the case in many of the towns seeking reassessments and revaluations. The county's Tax Board received 8,286 tax appeals this year – up from about 7,000 last year, Camisa said. Last year, Englewood hired an outside firm to assist with an onslaught of appeals.

Glen Rock, however, has not received a large increase in property tax appeals. In 2010, there were 37 appeals; in 2009, the number was 28, not including an appeal by a large condominium development that was later withdrawn. In 2008, there were 34 appeals.

"There's only been a slight uptake," Rubenstein said. "We haven't had any large-scale taxpayer revolt, no big meetings."

Tax appeals are costly and involve extra fees to assessors and attorneys, and successful appeals upset the balance among a community's taxpayers.

Glen Rock's last reassessment, conducted in 2006, cost the borough about $70,000; the last revaluation was conducted in 2002 and cost the borough more than $200,000, Rubenstein said. Revaluations are generally conducted by an outside firm and require an inspection of every single home. Reassessments are usually conducted by a municipal tax assessor and are calculated using a combination of the last revaluation's data and more recent housing sales data.

At the time of Glen Rock's last reassessment, Rubenstein said, he had deliberately assessed homes at 90 or 95 percent of their market value. The year 2006 "was a very hyper type of market, and I left a little margin for the market to fall. So we're not facing the same situation as some of these other towns," he said.

Mayor John van Keuren noted at the Aug. 17 Borough Council work session that residents had inquired about whether a tax assessment was planned in Glen Rock.

After conferring with Rubenstein, he suggested that the town abide by "what the tax assessor advises us."

"Even though it would appear that house sale prices are down in recent experiences, we are not at the point where we need a [revaluation]," van Keuren said.

In general, the best indicator for determining whether assessments are necessary is the assessment ratio, defined as the assessed values of a community's homes divided by their market values, or sale prices; the ratio is calculated by the New Jersey Division of Taxation for every community. If the ratio is below 85 percent, the county orders a reassessment. If the ratio is near or above 100 percent – that is, when a majority of homes sell for less than their assessed value – then towns often voluntarily request reassessments, Rubenstein said.

In 2009, Glen Rock's assessment ratio was calculated at 88.6 percent; in 2008 it was 86 percent.

The ratio will be recalculated in October, and Rubenstein estimated that Glen Rock's could crawl up above 90 percent – though still not high enough to order a reassessment or revaluation.

He acknowledged that some of Glen Rock's homes are now being sold for less than their assessed value, but added that "just as many" are being sold for more than their assessed value.

Another indicator for reassessments is the "coefficient of deviation," a calculation of the degree of variation in assessment ratios among individual homeowners. This indicator in Glen Rock is also moderate, Rubenstein said.

Towns approved for revaluations include Carlstadt, Demarest, Fairview, Garfield, Mahwah, Midland Park, North Arlington, Old Tappan, Tenafly, and Wood-Ridge.

Towns approved for reassessments include Hackensack, Norwood, Wallington, Park Ridge, Franklin Lakes, Ho-Ho-Kus, Englewood, Emerson, Ridgefield Park, and Cliffside Park.


Posted in:General
Posted by Bill Bici on September 14th, 2010 7:51 PMPost a Comment

Subscribe to this blog