BAYONNE, NJ - With the results complete for the residential property portion of the 2019 reevaluation of assessments in Bayonne, most homeowners will see decreased, or level, property tax bills in 2020.

City officials said last week that about 35 percent of residential properties will see an increase.

Terrence Malloy, finance director for the City of Bayonne, said the revaluation’s goal was to have all property in the city assessed at its true market value.

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While this will change as property is bought and sold, the revaluation is a “snapshot” in a particular time that puts all property values where they should be, Malloy told TAPinto Bayonne.

Since the last revaluation was done in 1991, most properties in the city did not reflect their actual current value, resulting in some properties paying more in taxes than they might under true value, while others had been paying much less.

Malloy said the process for assessment is relatively complex, partly because a number of factors go into determining true market values.

Sometimes two homes that look largely the same may see drastically different outcomes – this could be based on the current market needs, location in the city, as well as whether a property was recently awarded one or more tax appeals, he said.

If one house is near the Hudson Bergen Light Rail, it will likely have a higher assessed value than one that is located in a more remote portion of the city, Malloy added.

Market needs also figure into the formula. Sales trends, such as a sudden popularity in two-family homes over condominiums can also affect the market value.

“That could change later, and condominiums might become more popular,” Malloy said. “In that case, they would see a great assessed value.”

At a recent meeting of the Bayonne City Council, former council candidate Peter Franco questioned the estimated municipal taxes, offered his view that while a majority of properties might see a tax decrease, a number of properties that are seeing an increase are seeing a significant increase.

While some may be rising, Malloy acknowledged, Franco’s figures are based on incomplete numbers since not all the residential property assessments had been in at the time – and that Franco may be taking the worst cases when the actual impact is far more positive for most property owners.

One property owner in Bergen Point – an area of the city that may have seen the biggest increases in assessment – said she saw her estimated property taxes rise by a modest $53 a year. Several other property owners in the area saw similar increases.

Another area of the city that saw the greatest negative impact is that located near the Bayonne Bridge – where assessments were lowered during the bridge’s reconstruction, and with the end of construction, their assessed values were brought into line with the market. 

The tax estimate only includes the municipal portion of the tax bill, not the county or school taxes. Since none of the budgets for the city, school, or county have been adopted yet, everything is still an estimate.

But Malloy said the impact of the reval appears to be mostly positive, with many of the increased assessments being based on home improvements that increase the potential resale value of the house.

Changes in local regulations that allow landlords to take units off the rent control rolls when a current tenant move out, could also result in an increased assessment on that property – since the property would have a greater potential for increased revenue in the future.

Since there is no rent control on commercial property, assessments along shopping districts such as Broadway are based on factors of current market value and rent.

Because manufacturing and industrial properties are far less frequently sold than residential or commercial properties, Malloy offered, establishing a current market value on those is especially difficult

Malloy described that property owners who feel they have been over assessed have several options, including making an informal appeal with the company that assessed their property, especially as it relates to the weight items such as a new kitchen, remodeled bathroom or other home improvement may have carried. Homeowners can also request a new inspection if the initial review contained a mistake, such as listing the wrong number of bathrooms.

If still not satisfied with the result, the property owner can file a form tax appeal with Hudson County.

“No reval is perfect,” Malloy said. “And there are means to redress any errors made.”

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