The Jersey City Council gave initial approval (7-2) to appropriate $5 million towards the state mandated tax revaluation.
Jersey City Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano was completely against moving the ordinance forward.
“$5 million? We’ve already spend $3 million. This should have been done four years ago. Now it’s costing tax payers $5 million dollars more,” he said.
The emergency appropriation would be used for preparation and execution of a revaluation by a local assessor, although the city is delayed in choosing such a firm based on its timeline submitted to the state on July 6.
Ward D Councilman Michael Yun also voted no, with the rest of the council voting yes. Given that this was the first reading of the ordinance, the public was not able to speak on it.
Mayor Steven Fulop’s administration is appealing Hudson County Superior Court Judge Francis Schultz’s decision on paying its former assessor Realty Appraisal $984,511, plus interest, and attorney’s fees dating back to October 2015 when the city for cancelled their contract.
At a January public meeting, Fulop said the reval was “catastrophic for you living in the city,” arguing that anyone advocating for it is “doing it purely for hatred of me.”
The contract cancellation also cost the city $3 million and they are also planning to recoup the $1.98 million it already paid the firm.
There has been no property assessment conducted since 1988, giving Jersey City’s ratio of assessed to the value just at 27.63 percent, violating the state statutes of fair taxation.
In April, the ongoing feud between Fulop, a likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate for governor next year, and Gov. Chris Christie waged on over the reval.
Fulop claimed that Christie “singles out” Jersey City when 30 other municipalities are in a similar situation, prompting the governor’s office to respond this is simply a result of “local officials’ failure to do their jobs.”
An average assessment-sales ratio, known as the Director’s Ratio has been put into place for the 565 municipalities in the New Jersey and if the state’s 21 County Tax Boards see a decline from the 100 percent ratio, this deems it necessary for a reval.
If the Director’s Ratio is 85 percent or less, this denotes noncompliance to the true market value standard.
The reval of all homes must be completed by November 2017.