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County Mandates Revaluation; Township Wins Delay

A revaluation is coming, but the tax impact will not hit until 2015 under terms of settlement agreement between county and township

The Township Committee at its regular meeting tonight is scheduled to ratify a court settlement with the county over a revaluation of all property in the township.

The County Board of Taxation more than a year ago ordered the township to conduct a revaluation of all property in town, business and residential, to determine its current value. It’s a process that is conducted about once a decade. Wall’s last revaluation was in 2000, township officials said.

But the town fought the order, delaying the revaluation for two years.

One reason: the expense. The other: timing, Mayor Jeffrey Foster said.

“We’re not happy about it,’’ Foster said. “It couldn’t come at a worse time for people – a down economy, and now all this with Sandy. I think it’s just uncalled for.’’

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Revaluation: Determination of which property is worth how much in today's money.
Why?
To get an accurate assessment of properties in town, a revaluation is required about once every 10 years. Wall's last revaluation was in 2000.
When?:
Behind-the-scenes work at the township begins immediately; Residents will be notified before inspectors come out to individual properties, beginning October, 2013.
Will my taxes go up?: Maybe. Conventional wisdom says that 1/3 of property values increase, 1/3 decrease and 1/3 stay roughly the same in any given revaluation.
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The two sides have come to an agreement that still forces the township to conduct the revaluation, but delay its completion by a year, putting off the potential tax effects on residents and businesses to 2015, according to the resolution to be ratified Wednesday.

A revaluation normally is due within a year. The deal the township has with the county gives them two years to complete the process. The new tax bills to township residents and businesses reflecting the new valuation would come in 2015, according to the resolution.

The township is updating its tax maps now, part of the overall process to assess the value of each piece of property in town. Later, assessors will travel to each home and business in town to conduct an evaluation of property value.

Those inspections will begin in Oct. 2013 and are to be completed by September, 2014, according to the settlement. Officials said residents would be given notice before that occurred, as a heads-up.

It’s a labor-intensive process. And a costly one, township officials aid.

Township Administrator Jeffry Bertand said the price tag for the process may tip $1 million. Foster put that price between $1 and $2 million.

“It’s a rather handsome expense,’’ Bertrand said.

General guidelines suggest that a revaluation – a determination of which property is worth how much today – increase property taxes for about 1/3 of the properties, decrease taxes for 1/3 of properties and leave 1/3 unchanged.

Even if that were true, and Foster said he has his doubts, raising taxes for anyone currently is unwarranted.

“Even 1/3 is too much for me,’’ Foster said. “And I’ve never seen mine go down, let’s put it that way.’’

Michael Ferrell December 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I commend the town for what some have said is dragging their heels on a revaluation. It is an expensive process with little real return. The valuation impacts the tax base, but the bottom line is this figure is essentially meaningless. If the county and town need a certain amount of tax revenue it will be calculated out across whatever valuation figure is needed. If they revalue all the properties to half of the peak real estate market assessment the tax rate would just float twice as high. The only value in a revaluation is to make sure adjustments reflect improvements and new construction which obviously could be handled on a case by case basis. It may catch some sneaks who remodel or add inappropriately, but it is at best an ineffective compliance exercis
Wall Knight December 12, 2012 at 01:34 PM
How about this? Inspector shows up at my door and I tell him ti hit the road, this is not convenient for me and I close the door in his face. Then what?
Wendy Ritch December 12, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I would prefer a revaluation now - before real estate bounces back - instead of in two years when presumably property values will be back up.
Jewrod J Bailey December 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Gee, you think the township is delaying because values are so low and taxes will go down forcing the town to release some of our local "heroes" and money loving teachers? Sure the initial cost will have an impact but over the long run lower property taxes will force the "heroes" and schools to manage their budgets and people without the mentality of an unlimited money source to feed off of.
Megan December 12, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Unless you have something to hide, I would let them in, otherwise your assessment I assume would be to the higher side. I can't imagine anyones value going up, rather it would go down based on the market. Property values in 2000-2006 were higher than today ..then what happens? How does the town make up the difference? Who pays for the revaluation? What about commercial property, is that included as well?
Tom Coyle December 12, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Interesting name, Mr. Bailey. How many police officers and teachers would you part with? By the way, excellent article, Mr. Brown. Information that directly impacts me. One of the reasons I am grateful for the work you do on the Wall Patch.
Jewrod J Bailey December 12, 2012 at 05:25 PM
With proper administration of overtime, raise freezes for a period of time, not ordering books in school that will never be used just so you can get the grant next year and there maybe no need to reduce workforce.
Michael Ferrell December 12, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Revaluation has little to do with taxes or services overall. It calculates the (god forbid) "fair share" based on current market values of a home. Its relative, the taxes per house will change to reflect the new value. The budget runs against the across the towns total property values. Your "share" will change meaning that if you were bumped up 100K in value you pay more taxes, while if someone in another section of town were dropped by 100K they pay less. If the towns total property value goes up the tax rate for the same dollar amount budget would drop. But if your house was valued higher than before you would pay more. It still seems wasteful to be forced to do this given the housing crunch, etc.....the relative differences between similar houses hasn't change that much.
Tara P December 12, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I don't think they need to come inside. I recently appealed my taxes and at the county hearing another homeowner was advocating that his taxes should be lower than others in his neighborhood based in part on the fact that he did not have an upgraded kitchen. he said that his kitchen was the original, builder-grade kitchen with laminate countertops, etc., whereas his neighbors had upgraded kitchens with granite, etc. The rep from Wall Twp. countered that that was not a factor because granite was a personal preference. It appears that all interior "upgrades" would be personal preference under that logic model.

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