City revaluation drops average tax bill, but some see hike

New Brunswick City Hall

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In a state straining under high property taxes, the average residential property tax bite in the city has dropped $700 following a revaluation, but the news was not good for everybody.

Taxes for residences went from an average of $6,870 per property in 2016 to $6,164 in 2017, according to figures from the state Department of Community Affairs.

City officials say about 2,500 property owners saw their tax bill go down, but another 1,500 owners saw their bill increase. About 1,000 owners saw little or no change through the revaluation.

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Average residential property values more than doubled, according to the state, going from $117,136 in 2016, to $271,166 in 2017, the year after the revaluation.

This was the first revaluation in New Brunswick in 26 years, with the last assessment of property values done in 1990 and put in effect in 1991.

City officials spent 10 years considering and planning the latest revaluation, starting in 2006, and it was done after New Brunswick had “third-party professionals” complete market research, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Bradshaw. The effort was delayed, in part, because the 2008 recession resulted in foreclosure and property sales.

“The purpose of the revaluation was to fairly distribute the necessary tax burden among all property owners based upon the true value of their property,” Bradshaw said.

“We took great care to ensure that our residents were as informed as possible by sending bilingual mailers out multiple times to all homes, and posting information and updates on our website,” she said.

Homeowners, she said, had opportunities to appeal the valuations.

The bill for municipal taxes dropped from $2,976 in 2016 to $2,703 last year, according to state figures. School dropped from $2,7733 to $2,402 and county taxes went from $1,161 to $1,059.

The value off all taxable property in the city jumped from $1.26 billion in 2016 to $3.38 billion this year, according to city figures.

However, this is only a portion of the city's total value. New Brunswick has large properties that are exempt from taxes, including Rutgers University and two hospitals, among other properties.

The total property value in the city is now $7.47 billion, up from $2.87 billion in 2016, because of the revaluation.

At a recent ceremony for the expansion of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Mayor James Cahill said that while many municipalities view hospitals solely as tax-exempt businesses, he views them as opportunities to boost the local economy.

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