Below is part II of Gerry Scharfenberger and crew’s smoke and mirror attempt at once again deceiving voters into believing that they are working in their best interests of township residents rather than their own.
Resolution No. 10-248 will be introduced Monday night at the monthly meeting of the Middletown Township Committee and may be pushed through for a vote without any discussion by Committee members in Executive Session, just in time for the annual Middletown Republican October surprise for the November elections.
If you read my earlier post as to why I say this resolution is nothing more than a smoke and mirrors trick to divert residents anger away from the huge 12% municipal tax increase, you will understand that the reassessing of home values will have little impact on the actual amount of property taxes that they will pay because regardless of what local real estate is appraised for the Township still needs to raise in excess of $45 Million in taxes. Sure, the home appraisal will drop by a few thousand dollars but as an effect of the drop off in value the tax rate will need to adjusted higher to compensate for the loss of home values.
As anyone learned while in science class, Newton’s third law of physics states, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. So, as property values are adjusted downward, property taxes are adjust higher to compensate for lost revenues.
The other problem that I have with this resolution other than the timing and intent, is the lack of transparency in which it is being presented.
During the public comments portion of the special budget adoption meeting of September 7th, resident Jim Grenafege made a comment to the effect that in his opinion, the member of the minority party sitting up on the dais was routinely excluded from discussions and not given the same access to information, often stonewalled, as other committee members may receive. Grenafege’s statement naturally got a rise out of our acting mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger, who vehemently denied that such things go on.
Well, I want to point out this resolution as an example of what Jim Grenafege was talking about because other than seeing Scharfy’s press release that is forth coming, I understand that Sean Byrnes was not aware that actions to conduct a town wide reassessment had taken place.
RESOLUTION NO. 10-248
TOWNSHIP OF MIDDLETOWN
COUNTY OF MONMOUTH
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING ASSESSOR TO PREPRARE TO
CONDUCT A TOWNSHIP-WIDE PROPERTY TAX REASSESSMENT
WHEREAS, after successfully seeking repeated deferrals due to extraordinary market conditions, the Township of Middletown was ordered by the Monmouth County Board of Taxation to conduct a property tax revaluation that was completed over two years ago at the height of the real estate market; and
WHEREAS, the Township has been forced to refund in excess of $1 million resulting from successful property tax appeals for the last tax year at a time when overall municipal revenues have experienced a significant decline due to current economic conditions; and
WHEREAS, such refunds have a devastating impact on the Township’s budget because the Township must refund nearly four times the amount of money it actually collects in taxes for municipal purposes without any refund from the school district; and
WHEREAS, the making of such refunds typically require special short-term financing by the Township as refunds must be made within 60 days of judgments being rendered as a matter of law; and
WHEREAS, Governor Christie’s new 2% tax levy cap law, which will become effective for the purposes of the 2011 tax year, does not provide any exception for the financing of refunds ordered via tax appeal judgments; and
WHEREAS, current market data analyzed by the Assessor’s office demonstrates that property values have declined significantly below assessments made based on the County Tax Board’s ordered revaluation which is resulting in a growing number of successful tax appeals with an even greater potential liability developing for the 2011 tax year; and
WHEREAS, a Township-wide reassessment does not require detailed inspections like those which are conducted during a revaluation and will reestablish fair and equitable property tax assessments that are more precisely in line with current market conditions throughout the Township while decreasing the number of tax appeals in the future; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 18:12A-1.14(c) and based on the forgoing analysis, the Assessor has filed an Application for Reassessment that has been approved by the County Board of Taxation and Division of Taxation and now having notified theTownship Committee of the same.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Middletown in the County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey that the Tax Assessor is hereby authorized and directed to take any necessary and appropriate action to commence a Township-wide property tax reassessment for the 2011 tax year