WESTFIELD, NJ — With the town of Westfield’s first full readjustment of assessed home values for Westfield in since 1981 nearing completion, the first round of letters with new property valuations will be mailed to most residents later this week by the town’s certified vendor, Realty Appraisal Company, the town announced Monday. Letters will continue to be mailed out on a rolling basis until all appraisals are complete, it said in a press release.

About 700 properties in town still need to be visited and appraised, according to a press release from the town. The town anticipates that these will be completed in the coming weeks.

After more than three decades without a revaluation in Westfield, value changes will occur, Neil Rubenstein, a partner with Realty Appraisal Company, told the town council in November.

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Homeowners who will see the largest increases, Rubenstein said, are those who have had successful tax appeals in recent years.

Overall, the likelihood is home values will increase, allowing the municipality to compensate with a lower tax rate, Town Administrator Jim Gildea had said.

In 2017, the owner of a home assessed at Westfield's average value paid $16,727 in annual property taxes, according to state’s Division of Taxation.

“It’s important to remember that the purpose of a revaluation is to spread the tax burden more equitably among all property owners, based on current market rate property values,” Mayor Shelley Brindle said in Monday's press release. “While these new appraisals represent a key step in the completion of the process, we’d like to remind everyone that increases in their appraisals do not necessarily mean a similar increase in their property taxes. In fact, the expectation is that there will be both increases and decreases. The other piece of the formula in calculating property taxes is the tax rate, which is typically not established until mid-year, after it is certified by the county.”

To comply with New Jersey Division of Taxation regulations, Realty Appraisal Company is required to mail letters with the new valuations to all property owners, prior to the Tax Assessor filing the final assessments with the Union County Tax Board, the press release said. To assist property owners in understanding how the new assessments may impact their property taxes, these letters will include an estimated tax rate, based on the new valuations, as well as the average 2018 assessment and tax rate.  In addition, the letters will provide property owners with instructions about contacting Realty Appraisal Company with any related questions, or making an appointment for an informal hearing.

The town will also post additional information on its website at www.westfieldnj.gov/revaluation and social media channels in the coming days and weeks to address ongoing questions from property owners, according to the press release.