County directs boro to reassess property values

Officials successfully argue against more extensive revaluation


Staff Writer

RED BANK — The borough has gotten its wish from the Monmouth County Board of Taxation.

As the result of a November meeting, the borough has been directed to carry out a reassessment of property values, rather than a more extensive and expensive revaluation, which is exactly what the borough wanted.

The borough must complete the reassessment, which may or may not affect the borough’s tax rate, by 2006.

The last time the borough had a revaluation was 2001, and that may have been a factor in the board’s decision.

“If [the borough] had waited much longer,” said County Tax Administrator Matthew S. Clark, “the data, in the eyes of the law, would have been too dated to allow reassessment.”

Mayor Edward J. McKenna Jr. said after the meeting with the tax board that he was optimistic about getting the go-ahead for a reassessment rather than a revaluation because of the revaluation in recent years.

McKenna attended the meeting with Borough Attorney Richard O’Connor and Tax Assessor Mitch Elias.

Clark said the tax board issued its order on Dec. 8.

The director of the state Division of Taxation must now approve the order. If the director approves, the order becomes binding upon the municipality and the municipality has 45 days to appeal that directive to the Tax Court of New Jersey.

Clark said New Jersey Administrative Code provides a list of criteria that the tax board considers before ordering a revaluation.

Among these are whether a revaluation has been performed within the past 10 years and how far under market value the assessment of properties in a municipality have fallen.

Low assessed-to-true-value ratios do not in themselves denote lack of uniformity in the assessment base.

More importantly, the board’s review of sales coefficients is a means of determining whether the current assessments are sufficiently clustered together.

When the analysis of property transactions demonstrates that there are individual properties or classes of properties (vacant land, residential, commercial, etc.) that are not sufficiently clustered together, then the board has evidence of a lack of uniformity.

The absence of uniformity means that certain individual properties or types of properties are paying either more or less than their fair share of the property tax burden. The revaluation process is to remedy the disparity and bring about equitable payments, Clark said.

Other towns that were asked to come speak their cases before the board include Long Branch, which also received an order to reassess (although not until 2007) and Oceanport, which was ordered to undertake a revaluation (effective in 2006).

“Over the past ten years,” Clark said, “everywhere in Monmouth County, if not all of New Jersey, has gone through a tremendous change.”