Weehawken has concluded its first revaluation of property in more than 30 years, in response to an order from the Tax Court of New Jersey.
Each town in the state must re-assess its properties every few years so that land owners are paying property taxes in line with market values. However, the move is politically unpopular, as some owners of older properties will see their taxes rise along with their home’s value. At the same time, other people may see their taxes go down if the real estate market has slowed.
“The re-evaluation is done, and notifications will go out today,” said Mayor Richard Turner on Thursday, Dec. 7.
While a revaluation theoretically would increase the potential tax on older homes, the impact might not be as drastic as people expect. That’s because the overall value of the township’s property tax base rises, so the burden is spread out across many more properties, including new development. So that could lessen the impact on individuals.
Although some of properties — in particular multi-family units — still need to be configured, the numbers for individual property owners in Weehawken show that 74 percent will see either a tax reduction or their payments will remain about the same, said Turner.
Another 4 percent of property owners will face a 1 to 2 percent increase. About 19 percent of property owners will see an annual tax increase of $500 or more.
Turner said homeowners can go to the reevaluation company website for a calculation of their projected taxes for the upcoming year.
“Don’t use the current rate and apply it to the new evaluation,” he said. “That would be wrong.”
Where to get information
Because Weehawken operates on a fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) and not a calendar year, the new valuations will go into effect starting July 1, 2018. Turner said property owners will pay the old rate for the first two quarters of calendar year 2018.
Turner said the township has sent out two letters to property owners explaining what their options are and when the changes will take place.
The township will help people calculate their taxes, although the reevaluation company has a website where property owners can do it themselves: www.asinj.com. On the lower left of the page you click on a link on “Current Reevaluations,” then on the link for Weehawken.
You can also call the company Appraisals Systems Inc. at (201) 493-8530.
Turner said the website process can be a little intimidating, and encouraged residents to call Town Hall or the town’s financial office for assistance.
The impact of the reevaluation will also be minimized by the fact that five or six new large development projects are opening up in the next year, which will give residents even more tax relief, Turner said.
“Nearly 80 percent of the homeowners will see reduced tax, no increase or a minimal increase as result of this reevaluation,” Turner said. “Of the 19 percent that will see an increase, it is based on location of home with or without a view of Manhattan. Every one of these is unique.”
Township property owners will get a notification. Those who want to question the value can set up an appointment with the reevaluation company to discuss it. Those who still are not satisfied can file a tax appeal.
“It usually takes about two years to work through the process,” Turner said, noting that over the last four years, the township has kept taxes stable. But with the new large development projects, he predicts an additional reduction from dividend on the waterfront.
“People asked when we would feel the impact of development on the waterfront, this is it,” Turner said.
More than 85 percent of property owners cooperated with the reevaluation inspectors.
“For those who did not let them in their homes, the inspectors assessed them at a higher value,” he said. “We warned people. We had meetings on this, gone through process, explained all, and how it was not wise to not let the inspectors in.”
But even those people can have an opportunity to have inspectors return, he said.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.