WESTFIELD, NJ – A major adjustment of property values that hasn’t happened here in just over three decades is well underway, but officials say the municipality won’t be collecting more taxes as a result of the revaluation.
Town Administrator Jim Gildea said that by Wednesday 8,000 letters will have gone out to property owners detailing the valuations, and that several hundred of the property owners have already set appointments to discuss the new values. There are 9,200 taxable properties in town.
“There are still a handful [of properties] maybe three or four hundred that are still in the inspection phase,” Gildea said at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
Property owners have five days within receiving a letter from Realty Appraisal Company, the firm Westfield hired to conduct the adjustment of property values, to set an appointment to discuss their new assessed values with a representative of that firm, he said.
Officials have said that even though the property values are anticipated to rise from the existing $180,913 assessment, the rate at which homeowners are taxed is anticipated to decrease as a result. Still, potentially drastic property value changes are anticipated, the officials previously said.
A letter on the town website estimates that the average home value in Westfield will rise to about $805,000. However, the letter also shows an estimated tax rate at $2.01 per $100 of assessed valuation, down from the prior rate of $9.29 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
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What if property owners disagree with the valuations?
The formal tax appeal process will begin for Westfield residents in the middle of February, Gildea said. The deadline for property owners to appeal assessed home values with the county tax board is May 1. Typically, the deadline is April 1, but for property owners in municipalities undergoing a revaluation or reassessment, the deadline is one month later.
Anticipating questions, the town has posted information about the revaluation on its website, including a section detailing answers to commonly asked questions.
Realty Appraisal Company also has a calculator on its website that allows residents to calculate what their next tax bill is anticipated to be, officials said.
Westfield is among 14 Union County municipalities undergoing revaluations, including Mountainside, Garwood, Fanwood and Roselle, the town website states.
Typically, county tax boards order revaluations every 10 years, but Union County has not done that, prompting the state to order the revaluations starting in 2016, Gildea said.
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