VINELAND — City Council on Tuesday urged residents to have patience and follow all the appeal processes following the first revaluation in more than a half century.
City Council members said they are hearing from many local property owners who are upset with their new assessments set for their homes and businesses.
In some cases, residents say their property assessments have increased by about $100,000, local official said. That has them concerned about how much in local taxes they will have to pay, they said.
“We’re hearing complaints,” City Council President Anthony Fanucci said. “I think it needs to be looked at. I know it needs to be looked at.”
In the meantime, City Council members said residents should follow the established procedures. That includes holding informal meetings with the company that performed the revaluation and possibly eventually filing formal appeals with the Cumberland County Board of Taxation.
City Solicitor Richard Tonetta said the municipality still must develop its budget for the year and strike a local purpose tax rate that will be affected by the updated ratable base.
“Just because property values go up, it does not mean the amount you pay in taxes goes up,” he said.
Revaluations are designed to bring property values up to 100 percent of their full market value. That creates a more equitable tax situation for property owners, and gives municipalities more flexibility in various financial matters, such as bonding.
The city last performed a full-scale revaluation in 1959. There have been a few reassessments since that time, the last one occurring in 1989. A reassessment is not as detailed as a revaluation, and the results are not as accurate.
The state wants municipalities to hold revaluations when their true market value drops to less than 85 percent. The county tax board ordered the city in September 2010 to finally hold a full revaluation. The revaluation was performed by Appraisal Systems Inc.
Property in the city is currently assessed at about $2.1 billion, which local officials estimate to be between 52 percent and 54 percent of its actual worth.
The average residential property assessment in the city is $95,700. A person owning a residential property assessed at that figure pays $1,282 in local purpose taxes annually.
City and Cumberland County tax officials said revaluations generally result in a third of a municipality’s property owners paying less taxes, a third paying about the same and a third paying more.
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