From the Montclair Times:
All Montclair property owners can expect their property tax assessments to change following a reassessment that’s now in progress, some more than others, the company doing the work told the Township Council Tuesday night.
Steven Rubenstein of Realty Appraisal Co., himself a Montclair resident, did a presentation to the council at its pre-meeting discussion session. His company will working off of a land and building database created during a township reevaluation five years ago.
“We will be revising all of the values from that 2006 reevaluation, including the thousands of properties that have been changed since that time,” Rubenstein said, later adding, “This is a downward reassessment.”
Under questioning by 2nd Ward Councilman Cary Africk, Rubenstein said that even Montclair residents who had successful tax appeals will have updated assessments.
“All assessments will change,” Rubenstein said. “Every single assessment will change. Some will change a lot more than others.”
The point of the reassessment is to adjust the property values throughout Montclair so they reflect current market values. Real estate prices plummeted after Montclair’s reevaluation was done, prompting Montclair residents to file tax appeals that reflected the decreased value of their homes. Those successful appeals have proven to be a huge financial burden on the township, with $2.1 million in tax refunds required last year and as much as $4 million being projected this year by Township Attorney Ira Karasick.
In addition, there’s a need to level the playing field in Montclair, so that property owners who never filed appeals, but whose home values declined, are not shouldering an unfair burden in terms of local taxes.
“The assessment seeks to restore the uniformity that’s been severely eroded by five years of tax appeals that have plagued the township,” Rubenstein said. “The taxpayers who have filed appeals over the last five years have gotten reductions. Their assessments are not going to change as much as some of the other assessments in town. Their new reassessment value may not be much lower than what they’re at now. For the thousands of property owners that have not filed tax appeals over the last five years, and whose assessments are therefore the same now as they were in 2007, those are the properties that are going to see the most percentage change in their new value.”