LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Discussions have started regarding a township-wide tax reassessment but no formal plans have been finalized for starting the process as of yet, officials said Thursday.
Tax assessor Joseph Sorrentino said Administrator Garrett Loesch sent him an email with a list of questions pertaining to completing the assessment that he has not yet answered.
The township administration and Committee have been at odds in recent weeks since residents of local senior communities raised concerns about possible plans to complete a $750,000 revaluation instead of an assessment.
Sorrentino called on the township two years ago to conduct a reassessment and has stressed that a reassessment would be a cheaper and more effective than a revaluation.
“The whole idea is to save the township money,” said Sorrentino.
Township officials never responded to Sorrentino’s request and have said they did not receive any correspondence from him.
Loesch is on vacation and was unavailable for comment Thursday.
“I have not answered any of the questions because I want to sit down with everyone and submit a plan. A lot of the questions Garrett sent me are also not very forward looking,” Sorrentino said Thursday.
According to a copy of the email provided to The Press, Loesch’s questions include inquiries about compliance plans, the cost and time frame to complete an in-house reassessment.
Moving forward with a township-wide reassessment or even discussions about performing one are difficult because it is the middle of tax appeal season, Sorrentino said.
Tax appeals have increased since 2010 from about 600 to about 1,500 annually, he said.
“We would still need to fill out an application to send to the county Tax Board, and I would have to submit a monthly report to the county,” he said.
Last month, Mayor John Kehm formed a subcommittee to examine the need for either a reassessment or revaluation.
“One of the things we wanted to do was sit down with Joe. I know Garrett has asked him to sit down with us but Joe has not responded. I want to sit down with everyone and go over certain things that Joe is saying in the paper and see what can be done,” Kehm said.
In 2010, Sorrentino was given the go-ahead by then Mayor Raymond Gormley and Township Committee to conduct a reassessment but Sorrentino missed the county deadline, Kehm said.
“There has to be something done. Unfortunately, I think in my eyes Joe dropped the ball not doing a reassessment in 2010. With the appeals being the way they are it’s going to bleed the system to death,” Kehm said.
Last week, the township Committee passed a resolution to go to the state requesting a change in the state statute that limits control over Sorrentino’s day to day duties and responsibilities. Kehm said right now, Sorrentino is overseen by the Ocean County Tax Board.
“We have no control and this will give us and the taxpayers some control to tell him what to do because the taxpayers are his boss and they pay his salary,” Kehm said.
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