At a public hearing hosted by the NJ Division of Taxation, 14 speakers argued that a Jersey City tax reval can help even the city’s tax burden, but can also cause people to lose their homes.
The first speaker, Yvonne Balcer, a Jersey City property owner who supports the reval, immediately quoted Mayor Steven Fulop at his last community town hall meeting of which she attended.
“A question was raised about stopping the revaluation and the mayor said the people that are bringing up the subject are ‘doing it purely for hatred for me.’”
On Tuesday night, Fulop also defended his council record of voting no for the reval since “it is catastrophic for you living in this city,” later getting into the numbers that could potentially be associated with a reval.
Balcer claimed that she pays more property taxes for her condo than the mayor pays for his one-family home.
Lorraine Sperling, a resident near Van Vorst Park since 2012, claimed that she is paying “$19,000 a year” in taxes and at one point paid “$24,000 in property taxes.”
Sperling explained that compared to other four-bedroom row house home owners, she is paying up to $10,000 more in taxes than other property owners.
On the other hand, Morris Moss, who is living with disability, fears the revaluation. He explained that his current taxes consumes 80 to 85 percent of his income.
“When we get a much bigger tax bill, the price of the property that I can realize, I’m going to be forced out, I know this already.”
Former Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy believes that to really equal the distribution of taxes, it would be ideal to also tax “non-profits, churches, storefront churches and catholic schools.”
“Right now when people are paying $6k, $10k, $15k, $19k a year, that becomes a huge burden so when more than 40 percent of properties in your city are not paying taxes, these laws has to be changed.”
“If you want to help these people they have to kick in something.”
Bill Matsikoudis, former corporation counsel under Healy, echoed Balcer – also quoting the mayor – calling him a “delusional individual that can’t be trusted in this process.”
“Basically everything that he said was false, and erroneous and untrue” said Matsikoudis, who pointed out that the mayor mentioned “that the best benefit you’re going to get is $200 and that most people will have to pay $18k more.”
Matsikoudis recommended that the state take over the process.
Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Lorenzo Richardson also supported Matsikoudis’ sentiment, stating the mayor is “robbing taxpayers.”
“Can the mayor be put in jail for holding up the reval? Because he needs to be.”
The public hearing is part of an ongoing investigation to order a revaluation for Jersey City. It has been 27 years since this action was last performed.
There was total of 53 people in the room, including Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun.
The public hearing was held at Hudson County Community College and administered by Dennis Shilling, the deputy director of operations for the NJ Department of Treasury and Patricia Wright, the deputy director of the State’s Compliance Enforcement of Property Administration.
Both Shilling and Wright said after the meeting that they were unable to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Written comments can be submitted to:
NJ Division of Tax
Attn: Property Administration
50 Varick Street
P.O. 240 Trenton NJ 08695