Like it or not, Jersey City’s controversial citywide property revaluation is coming. This Saturday marks the first of a series of seven information sessions for the city to educate residents on how it will affect them. Mayor Steven Fulop will appear at this Saturday’s meeting, happening at City Hall, 280 Grove Street, at 10 am.
The rest of the meeting schedule is as follows:
Saturday, March 25, 10 am, Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center, 140 Martin Luther King Dr.
Tuesday, March 28, 7:30 pm, Grace Church Van Vorst, 39 Erie St.
Monday, April 3, 7:30 pm, CityLine Church, 1510 Kennedy Blvd.
Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 pm, Hank Gallo Community Center at Lincoln Park
Monday, April 10, 7:30 pm, School 28, 167 Hancock Ave.
Tuesday, April 11, 7:30 pm, School 7, 222 Laidlaw Ave.
If you’ve been living under a rock, the bottom line is that you’re likely to start paying higher property taxes on that rock come 2018. [Editor’s note: As a few commenters pointed out, the previous sentence is not entirely true, while some homeowners will see property taxes rise, others will see a decrease or marginal adjustment. However, no one can say with any certainty until the city finishes revaluing every property. Per the city’s website, “Until the revaluation is complete and the tax rate computed, it will be impossible to determine your property tax bill.” You can find more information on the city’s official reval page.] The reval is intended to correct the wide discrepancy between the assessed value of homes on the city’s tax rolls, and their actual market value. Since the last reval was performed in 1988, that discrepancy has increased to a current ratio of 27.63% assessed to true value.
That means that for some Jersey City residents, property taxes have been a relative bargain, albeit one that ran afoul of state laws requiring equitable taxation. New Jersey requires a reval when that ratio drops below 85%.
Of course, this being New Jersey, there is drama. Mayor Fulop, a Democrat, accuses Republican Gov. Chris Christie of playing politics with the reval. But the squabble didn’t start here; it’s been a political football passed back and forth since 2011, when a reval first started, only to be delayed in 2012 by former Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
When Fulop stopped the reval, citing corruption, Realty Appraisal sued for breach of contract and won. The city was ordered to pay the company $984,511 plus interest and attorney’s fees. The total cost to Jersey City taxpayers could be north of $8.5 million. Ouch.
Home inspections are expected to start this spring, with the state urging completion by November.