SPARTA, NJ – Sparta township will begin reevaluating property values.  After nearly a year of discussions the process is set to begin. Letters went out to Sparta residents explaining what to expect. Each property in the township will be evaluated by representatives for Appraisal Systems, Inc.

Appraisal Systems’ employees will be making the physical inspections of each residence.  They will take photographs and measurements outside and inspect the homes’ interiors.  If the resident is not home when the appraiser comes for the initial visit, the appraiser will leave a card that advises of the initial exterior inspection and when they will return to inspect the interior, according to information provided by the township.

Each employee will have an Identification badge from the company, authorized by the Tax Assessor, Joseph Ferraris.  Residents are advised not to allow admittance to anyone without checking the ID.

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Sgt Dennis Proctor of the Sparta Police Departments said, “Whenever they do their canvassing, the police department receives all of their information as well as a picture of the individual in advance before they start the process.  All of this information is disseminated to patrols so they are equipped to quickly determine if the individual is legitimate when a town resident calls the police department.  

“In the past, these appraisers usually have a picture ID in plain view when they go to a residence, but obviously in these current times a fake ID is very easy to make or obtain.  Every now and then patrol will receive a call from a concerned citizen about one of these people and the officer will respond to verify it is a legitimate appraiser on the list we received,” said Proctor.

Proctor continued, “We always encourage any resident to call us if they have these concerns since they cannot be too careful in these current times with some people having nefarious intent.  Residents should always ask to see a form of official ID with these individuals and if they have the slightest concern they should contact the police department to verify this person is on our list.”

“If residents refuse entry to the property then the representatives will be left with no alternative, but to estimate the value of the property,” said Township Manager William Close.

According to AS, the appraiser will leave a card with the estimated value of the property.  If the homeowner disputes the estimate they can make an appointment to have the appraiser return for an interior inspection.

At the town council meeting on March 24, Close explained they would use the Honeywell alert system to notify homeowners that the inspectors would be surveying their neighborhood imminently.  He also said he would be giving a presentation on the reevaluation at a Sussex County Chamber meeting and would schedule meetings with other community organizations as needed.

“Sparta was last reevaluated in 2001, taking affect for the 2002 tax bill,” said Sparta Township Director of Finance Grant Rome.   

New Jersey State Constitution and statutes require property taxes to be based on the value of the property and the value to be determined by a common standard.  The standard is full and fair market values; the price that would be achieved if the property were to be sold by the owner.   

When the assessments being used to determine the township’s tax bills no longer represent the actual market values, the township must conduct a reevaluation.  While this is likely to increase the overall assessed value of the properties in the township, the tax rate can be reduced.  This makes it difficult to predict the impact the reevaluation will have on the individual tax payer.

The appraisal company has an FAQ and additional information on the website