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Property Reassessment and Taxes

By Mayor Charles Daniel

Last year, the town council decided that a property reassessment was necessary. Why? The decision was primarily due to the disparity between property market values and assessed values.

The last reassessment was completed in 2004, during the boom of the real estate market, which resulted in high assessed values. While assessed values remain constant, the value of most homes has decreased dramatically. Reassessment is meant to restore tax fairness throughout the borough.

Our current property reassessment was completed by the end of 2010. The Hunterdon County Tax Board sent “Notices of Property Assessment for 2011” (the green postcards) to each resident. This notification contains your 2011 total (land and building) property assessment. (It also contains your 2010 assessment so you can compare values.) The result of the reassessment was that the average residential property value decreased 10.8%. In 2010, the average home in Califon was worth $368,000. Now, the average property value is now worth $328,000.

Due to the decrease in property values, will property taxes decrease? The answer is no, since the amount of taxes needed to support all municipal government activities still remains. While the average property value decreases, the tax rate increases, resulting in a net gain of zero.

In April 2011, the town council introduced and passed a 2011 municipal budget — a budget that was well within the 2% tax levy mandated by the state. The municipal portion of taxes will increase $26 for the average property value of $328,000. If your home is valued higher, for example $410,000, your tax increase will be $33. If your home is valued lower, for example $246,000, your tax increase will be $20.

We — the town council, myself as mayor, Chief Administrator and CFO—continue to work diligently to keep municipal services at its highest quality while balancing a municipal budget with minimal impact to our taxpayers. If you have any questions concerning the municipal budget, please call me at 832-7850, ext. 207.