WEST ORANGE, NJ — Finding commercial buildings that were under-assessed for property taxes is a specialty of Charles Blau, Esq. With his guidance, the Township of West Orange has recently been able to increase tax assessments that will lead to additional taxes totaling $363,179.

For this success in bringing in new revenue, the West Orange Township Council approved a resolution on Tuesday authorizing the payment of legal fees in the amount of $121,059 to Blau.

“You can say that Charles Blau is a bounty hunter for us, in the best sense of the term,” said Councilman Joe Krakoviak. “He has been finding commercial properties that should have increased assessments, which is bringing in additional taxes.”

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Krakoviak also questioned why some of these assessments were much lower than what they should have been.

“Commercial property assessment varies a lot,” Business Administrator John Sayers said in response. “They drop drastically when a building is empty. When a building is renovated and filled, it’s worth more. The commercial real estate market is also on the upswing.” 

Sayers provided the council with an update on the Edison Battery Factory redevelopment, stating that the garage is being finished. He also said the Historic Preservation Commission is meeting with the developers this week to make sure the facade is exactly what the council is seeking.

Sayers said the two sides are very close to an agreement, which currently centers on approving the materials that will be used.

In response to Councilwoman Michele Casalino’s question about the completion of the library facade would be done, Sayers said there was a slight delay in getting the steel delivered. Now that it’s been delivered, Sayers said the work is ready to proceed.