Initial home value appraisals for North Bergen have been completed as part of the property tax revaluation that was ordered by the state.
The initial appraisals by the contractor conducting the revaluation, Appraisal Systems, Inc. (ASI) show that approximately 60 percent of homeowners will see either a property tax reduction or a minimal increase of less than $100 per year.
“Most homeowners will see tax decreases, others will see increases and some tax bills will remain about the same because the revaluation does not raise or lower the total amount of taxes collected by the township,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco.
“The point of this state mandated process is to make sure that everyone is paying taxes based on the true value of their home,” he said. “We’re doing everything in our power to make sure that North Bergen residents are treated fairly during this process and that everyone has the opportunity to ask questions and provide more information to make sure their assessment is accurate.”
The other 40 percent of homeowners will mostly see increases in the range of a few hundred dollars per year, according to township spokesperson Phil Swibinski.
“Of the properties that are receiving increases the majority will be in the range of a few hundred dollars per year,” he said. “Any outliers with a larger increase will be small in number and that will be due to their previous tax assessments being artificially low prior to the revaluation.”
Property tax revaluation continues
New Jersey orders municipalities such as North Bergen to undergo periodic property revaluations to ensure that property tax bills reflect the true market value of homes. Due to a directive from the state and the Hudson County Board of Taxation, the township began the mandatory property tax revaluation process to accurately assess the value of all properties in late 2020.
In November of 2020, the Board of Commissioners voted to adopt an ordinance that began the revaluation. The following month, the board voted to award the contract for it to ASI for $995,000, which had previously conducted revaluations in Jersey City in 2018, and Bayonne in 2020.
After some months of waiting for further state approvals, the revaluation firm began inspecting properties in April of 2021. And by December, ASI had completed the first few phases of the process, which included conducting interior inspections for property owners and reviewing the completed preliminary values. Officials said ASI would be mailing out letters with the new value of each property to homeowners around mid-January.
Now that those letters are sent out, the township is touting the results of the revaluation, while emphasizing that the revaluation process does not change the total amount of taxes raised by the township.
The initial appraisals show that overall property values in North Bergen have increased by over 350 percent since the last revaluation. Officials touted “stable taxes, safe neighborhoods, good schools and excellent municipal services” as things that continue to make the township desirable.
“Every North Bergen homeowner should be pleased that the value of their home is increasing significantly,” said Revenue and Finance Commissioner Julio Marenco. “For most people, their home is their biggest investment. Higher home values help residents plan for a more secure retirement or help save for college or fund other expenses.”
Informal hearings available
The township is now transitioning between steps four and five of the seven-step revaluation, with step four being to inform the residents of the property assessments via mail and online, and step five being to allow residents the opportunity to meet with ASI in informal hearings.
According to the township, residents have the option to schedule a meeting with the ASI revaluation company to ask questions and discuss any problems with their initial assessment. Residents who have questions are encouraged to schedule an informal meeting to discuss the specifics of their property.
Meetings can be scheduled by calling 201-493-8530 or visiting asinj.com/scheduling.htm using the login information on the letter received from ASI.
Step six involves submitting the final values to the municipality and county, and step seven allows for appeals of assessments. The revaluation will likely advance to these steps as the process continues in the coming months.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.