In a letter to the editor, Bayonne resident Michael Embrich says residents need to start bracing themselves for the many difficulties associated with a tax revaluation.
Bayonne faces many challenges in the next few years. Public transportation, taxes, crime, litter, and quality of life issues are always hot topics in our city, but there is one looming threat that isn’t getting enough attention: the coming tax reevaluation.
As defined by the State of New Jersey, “the tax revaluation is a program undertaken by a municipality to appraise all real estate property within the taxing district according to its full and fair value.”
Essentially, “full and fair value” means what the City of Bayonne’s tax assessor thinks your home is worth in order to properly spread the share of taxation throughout the town.
Two properties having the exact same market value should pay the exact same amount of taxes, yet the following factors could change the way your property is assessed:
1. Changes in characteristics in areas or neighborhoods within the municipality and within individual properties;
2. Fluctuations in the economy (inflation, recession);
3. Changes in style and custom (desirability of architecture, size of house);
4. Changes in zoning which can either enhance or adversely affect value;
5. Delays in processing building permits which delay tax assessments on new construction
Now, generally these factors do not change dramatically within the course of 5 years or so, but Bayonne hasn’t had a tax reassessment since 1991; we can all agree that a lot has changed in the last almost 30 years.
There is no doubt that every property in Bayonne will be impacted in some way by the tax reevaluation. Not every scenario will see a tax increase—some will stay flat—but the ones that do see an increase may see a massive one.
Residents should note that if they are dissatisfied with their evaluation they can request a personal informal hearing to review the proposed assessment.
So, what can we do to prevent this from happening again?
First, the City of Bayonne needs to commit to doing a tax reevaluation on a set schedule so that residents won’t suffer the more dramatic effects from waiting longer.
Bayonne’s leadership needs to commit to doing a tax assessment in Bayonne every 10 years, even if that means court action.
Second, the overall tax rate in the City of Bayonne needs to decrease.
With a growth in tax base and ethical reforms to local government such as pay-to-play reforms, there is no reason the City of Bayonne can’t get its tax problem under control within a reasonable time frame.