HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The new tax home appraisals were the hot topic of conversation at the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Council meeting on Tuesday evening, as Borough Administrator Michael Kronyak addressed the process and goal of the annual evaluations, and two residents challenged the process.
Councilman Ron Kistner asked Kronyak to address the issue, as he stated that he had been at dinner over the weekend and received several questions concerning the statements that residents have been receiving over the past week with the results of the 2020 valuation.
Kronyak explained that the town signed a contract five years for annual tax revaluations to be done in town. The program requires that 25 percent of the houses to be physically inspected and re-valued, while the other 75 percent are done using analytics to come up with the valuation
He noted that as a result of the program, over the past five years, the amount Hasbrouck Heights spends on tax appeals has dropped significantly.
As he has explained in past years, the main benefits of the continual re-appraisal process is that eliminates home-owners have large spikes in their taxes due to re-appraisals occurring on five or 10 year intervals. In theory, by continually re-appraising property values, there is a more accurate view of the what the values should be.
Resident Antonette Vignola was the first resident to question the council, noting that she had been doing research prior to the meeting, and had called Appraisal Systems Inc (the outside appraisal firm) and spoke to someone there who said that the appraisals were done using house prices from homes sold during the previous year. She noted that she checked several of the sales, and that the values listed on the spreadsheet that was given to her by Appraisal Systems, did not match the actual sales prices.
Vignola also questioned whether the Borough would be renewing its contract with Appraisal Systems, which expires this year. Mayor DeLorenzo noted that the Council would be reviewing the matter.
Kronyak noted that his office was just getting the information from Appraisal Systems, and that the Appraisers do their work completely independent of the town, and are actually employees of the state. He stated that he would be reviewing the data, and checking for huge swings in valuations. Kronyak also addressed the concept that individuals tax bills would be increasing based on the increase in valuations.
Kronyak noted that the tax rate for 2020 had not yet been set, and taxes could not be figured out without that part of the equation.
Mayor DeLorenzo added that the school taxes account for approximately 60 percent of the tax assessment, and the municipal budget had gone up by less than ½ percent since he had been in office.
Kronyak stated that he would look into the information that Vignola had stated was incorrect.
Resident Jeremy Selenfriend also raised his concerns about the continual rise in appraisal values. He stated that he has been owned his home only three years, and has had an increase in appraised value each year. He stated that he was worried that with the continual increases he would not be able to afford to settle in Hasbrouck Heights long-term as he had planned when buying the house.
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