Green Residents See Assessments Drop

Green Township Committee, from left, Chris Bilik, Steve Kurzeja, Peg Phillips, Mayor Daniel Conkling, Township Attorney Richard Stein, Township Clerk Linda Peralta and Deputy Mayor James Chirip. Credits: By Jane Primerano

GREEN TOWNSHIP, NJ – Residents and business owners in the township received a letter telling them about their new assessment, and tax assessor Penny Holenstein told the township committee on Monday, Feb. 25,  that she expects a lot of phone calls.

Since the township lost $95,000 in tax dollars due to appeals, the township was reassessed for the 2013 tax year, she noted.

In 2012, Sussex County ordered a revaluation. In order to do that, the township would have to update maps first. Out of concern that a delay would result in ever more lost tax appeals, the township had Holenstein ask the county for permission to do a reassessment, which could be done more quickly.

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Residential property in the township dropped in value on average of 25 percent.

Generally, reassessments are done every 10 years. The last reassessment was done in Green in 2005, but the drastic drop in the economy caused property to lose value. Like many other municipalities in the county, the reassessment was held earlier.

Holenstein pointed out some municipalities pay for a reassessment of one-fourth of properties each year, so the entire town is done in four years.

“We don’t have the market value to do that,” she explained.

Deputy mayor James Chirip said people are surprised at how much their property values dropped, although that does not mean everyone’s taxes will go up. Holenstein noted although the township collects 100 percent of the taxes, it utilizes less than 20 percent of the tax money. The vast majority goes to support the school district.

Committeeman Chris Bilik noted on a list of 140 sales in the township, 40 were not useable for comparison purposes. Holenstein explained the law does not allow the reassessors to factor in short sales, foreclosures, sales in a divorce or estate sales. She said actually Green has fewer of those than many towns. She also said a look at the Multiple Listing Service for Green indicates there are very few short sales pending now.

Conferences Discussed

The committee will send OEM Director Jim Powderly to the OEM conference in Atlantic City in May.

The conference is five days. Powderly needs 24 continuing education units this year and, he told the committee, most of the online classes available only provide one unit.

At the conference, two of the classes, an updated basic OEM course, and one on warming centers, are 16 hours each over the course of two eight-hour days. He also could take another class while he is there.

The township generally limits attendance at conferences to two days.

Clerk/administrator Linda Peralta explained the reason behind this. “When I first got here, between 11 and 15 people were going to Atlantic City (for the League of Municipalities Convention) every year. And the New Jersey Herald reported how many people went and how much each municipality spent.”

Mayor Daniel Conkling acknowledged, “The problem was everyone went and nothing ever changes from year to year.”

He said the township should provide for its employees getting needed CEU's.

The municipality will continue its policy of allowing Peralta to ok attendance at conferences of two days or less, but will consider longer educational conferences on a case-by-case basis.

Peralta told the committee she received a full scholarship to the International Institute of Municipal Clerks from the Sussex County Clerks Association. The scholarship was for $475 to this conference which is only in New Jersey once in many years, she said.

The committee approved paying for her hotel stay.


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