Property revaluations have been a hot topic over the past few months in the boroughs of Bloomingdale, Butler and Kinnelon. However, only two of the three boroughs—with Butler being the exception—have decided to undertake the process this year.
The Borough of Bloomingdale, according to the borough’s Assistant Tax Assessor Barbara McNamara, has been in the process of a property revaluation for quite some time. In fact, McNamara told Tri-boro Patch that the process is currently nearing completion.
“It’s been underway for probably three or four months already,” said McNamara.
Mayor Jon Dunleavy stated that the revaluation was not optional for the borough; instead, it was mandated for Bloomingdale by the Passaic County Division of Taxation.
Dunleavy also stated that this was a good time for the borough to undertake the revaluation process, which the mayor called “long overdue.”
“The revaluation is inevitable, and I think we are in a good real estate market to perform the task,” said Dunleavy. “Inflated home values have become more realistic, which will result in a more favorable assessment for our residents.”
Although the cost of the revaluation to the borough itself sits around $224,000, Dunleavy assured the public that the cost will have little impact on the taxes of Bloomingdale residents.
“The important thing for residents to be aware of is that the revaluation does not automatically mean a tax increase. The town has a specific levy which we need to collect to pay the bills,” said Dunleavy. “This levy does not change due to the revaluation. So, if a home value increases or decreases as a result of the revaluation, the total municipal tax rate is also amended to the amount needed to collect the levy to pay the borough’s expenses. Some residents' taxes may go down, some may increase and I think most will be stable.”
In Kinnelon, where the cost of the revaluation is projected to be between $225,000 and $250,000, a similar sentiment is felt by Mayor Bob Collins. Regardless of the tax impact of the revaluation upon residents, the borough still needs to collect a tax levy to stay financially secure.
“Typically, a third of properties go up, a third go down and a third stay the same (in property value following the revaluation process). At least, that’s what we’ve been told,” said Collins. “It doesn’t change the fact that we need to raise ‘x’ amount of dollars through a property tax levy. What (the revaluation) will do is slow down that rate of tax appeals.”
Kinnelon was in a similar situation to Bloomingdale in that the borough did not have much of a choice when it came to undertaking the property revaluation.
“It’s been some time since we’ve gone through the process. It’s been more than 12 years,” said Collins. “The county told us that we can’t do a (tax) reassessment, which is something we could do internally. Based on the amount of time, we’ve got to move forward with the revaluation."
Butler, on the other hand, was able to go the route of a tax compliance plan, which is estimated to cost the borough less than $10,000 when all is said and done, whereas the revaluation would have cost about $230,000 for Butler.
“I don’t think we need to have the revaluation right now. Everything is pretty much in order, from what I understand,” said Butler Mayor Bob Alviene. We don’t have that many questions or problems with where we stand right now. Eventually, I guess we’ll have to do it down the road, but we can wait a few more years before we have to do that.”
Morris County is in agreement with that notion, at least for now.
“The reason we can approach that is because, basically, our numbers are not too far off in most areas,” said Butler Borough Administrator James Lampmann. “There are certain sectors that have to be corrected, but other than that, our assessments are showing that they’re still valid. That’s the reason the county will approve a compliance plan, as opposed to a revalulation.”