PATERSON, NJ – The City Council is moving ahead on a plan to borrow $2.1 million for a citywide property revaluation, even though officials have some doubts about the proposal.
A revaluation is property-by-property inspection and reassessment of every house , business and office in the city.
Council members are concerned whether the municipal tax assessor’s office has the equipment, the technology and the staff to make the best use of the data from a new revaluation. In particular, they say they doubt the assessor’s office could use the new property value information as a starting point to maintain records that would be updated electronically on an ongoing basis to prevent wide disparities between market and assessed values.
Veteran council members say that’s what was supposed to happen after the last revaluation in 2006. But the city tax assessor lacked the resources to do that, they said. As a result, when the real estate market crumbled at the end of last decade, many Patersonians’ homes were valued at prices that were far higher than what they were worth.
In each of the last two years, the city has had record numbers of tax appeals. This year, the figure almost reached 7,600.
The City Council on August 21 is scheduled to vote on an ordinance and a resolution that would put in place the $2.1 million needed for the revaluation.
During their August 8 workshop meeting, council members initially decided to delay those votes. But acting business administrator Harry Cevallos told them that postponing the financing of the revaluation could cause the city problems in awarding the contract for the work, which could prevent the city from getting the project done by 2014, its current goal.
The city has picked Appraisal Systems Inc. of Glen Rock to do the work. But the contract has not yet been formally approved and council members say they will wait to vote on that until after a September 4 meeting with county tax assessor’s office.