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Hazlet: What's a Revaluation?

Here's a handy primer explaining the process that tries to more fairly distribute the tax burden in a municipality.

Last year, Hazlet was ordered by the Monmouth County Board of Taxation to establish current market value as a basis for their tax assessments.

Under a township-wide revaluation, homes and businesses are inspected for their comparable assessed worth in an effort to more fairly distribute the tax burden. Local government and school tax levies are comprised of tax points, which are literally every cent a resident pays in property taxes per $100 in assessed value.

While some residents may see their assessments and consequently their tax bills increase under a borough-wide revaluation, the process is intended to correct inequities in the tax base that may develop over time.

According to the appraisal firm, as of Jan. 1, 2013, the revaluation process was completed in Hazlet with the exception of tax payer hearings and the appraisals have been submitted for review. 

Check out the attached "What Is Revaluation?" guide that details the appraisal process as well as how to file an appeal.

frank cotton February 04, 2013 at 02:20 PM
There is nothing fair about Revals. First off, when your home increases in value they automatically raise your tax whether the town budget needs it or not. Then when questioned about it, they towns reply "your increase in tax payment is being used to help offset others." But what really happens is the towns have added revenue and instead of reducing taxes, spend money. Then when your home goes down in value alot, you get very little reduction if any (unlike other areas where town eithics is higher). Then the next wave comes and your house shoots up almost to where it was and they bang you again and thus got a bump in their ratable. How fair is that? Frank Monmouth County Tea Party Coalition
Mike February 04, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Frank, I'm not sure if what you're saying is entirely true (although it may have been true for your specific situation, I'm just not sure it applies to all situations). As the accompanying 7-page PDF details, there are times where an upward revaluation may result in lower taxes for some, while it may result in higher taxes for others. I live in a neighboring town where we had revals done a few years ago. While our appraised value went down by over 10%, our taxes still went up the following year. As the PDF also details, if the town needs to increase taxes, then yes, in a year where your appraised value went down, you still may be paying more in taxes than the previous year. The taxes that you pay are entirely based on the tax rate that is assessed, which is applied equally across the entire town. So yes, some people get screwed by revaluations while others benefit. (A friend of mine who lives in Bridgewater had her house reassessed a few years ago and it resulted in her taxes going down significantly, similar to the example in the PDF.) If you want to discuss how a town manages their budget, that's an entirely different story. But to generalize that everyone gets the short end of the stick when it comes to revaluations is simply not true.
Kevin Matejka February 04, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Things are not very complicated. Hazlet is not doing this for anyone's benefit other than the town being sure they get their tax revenue. Since so many Hazlet residents were appealing their taxes and winning the township was losing tax revenue. The best way to solve this was to do a revaluation. Appraise homes for substantially less then they are currently and the homeowner can't successfully appeal their taxes based on the appraised value. Once you have done this, just increase the tax rate to compensate for the lower appraised value and you generally increase your tax revenue or remain close the same. You can guarantee it won't be less, and now they have eliminated residents appealing their taxes. But think of all the services we receive for our taxes. Ha Ha I am still curious why town hall is closed on Fridays. I guess it is more important for township employees to have a three day weekend than to have it open for resident's convenience on a Friday. We must me saving tens of thousands of dollars by closing the facility on Fridays. I am sure they are turning off the electric and gas for the day (sure) and saving us residents so much money it is helping keep our taxes from increasing.
Tom Lucas February 04, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Are they getting paid for the day off too? My understanding is that they are not which is why it does save money. As far as services, I've found the town to be very good with them. Police are responsive, school facilities are in good shape and the work they did during the storm last year blocking off roads and getting information out was very good.
Kevin Matejka February 05, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Tom, do you really believe all the employees took a 20% annual reduction in pay and also their pension. I would have to disagree with your understanding. As far as town services you only mention one. I really believe Hazlet and the surrounding towns should consider shared services. In an area of probably less than 15 square miles we have 4 towns each with their own police chiefs, deputy chiefs etc each earning well over $100,000. In these economic times it really makes sense to save significantly by sharing services in such small towns. This is only one example where just by combining police departments you could save over a half a million dollars annually in salary and benefits by having one chief instead of four. Only problem none would give up such a job. I still have a hard time accepting NJ being the most populated state per square mile in the nation having one of if not the highest property taxes in the nation. Apparently, nobody in NJ has heard of the concept of economy of scale.
elcid1986 February 05, 2013 at 03:57 PM
The extra day off is supposed to save on the energy bill. Reality is that it is one less day for the citizens to reach the town for important permits etc. It is ridiculous that they close on a Friday when the citizens if they need something done would more than likely prefer a Friday so they can work on the project over the weekend but the town employees get it their way. The classic having your cake and eating it too. Also dont even imagine that the work week will change anytime soon as we just elected Barbara Ronchetti who worked for the town for 20 some odd years, and the democratically controlled committee is well entrenched with the public employees. Its just the truth deal with it. How about Town Hall closes on tuesday or Wednesday which is statistically the 2 days that private sector employees take off the least therefore leaving our public servants working for us more often.
Martin B. Brilliant February 06, 2013 at 03:41 PM
The state income tax is supposed to offset local real estate taxes. I can afford to pay more income tax. I was embarrassed years ago when my state income tax was reduced. That reduction increased the property tax burden on local residents. You may think a tax is a tax, but the income tax is easier to bear. Income tax is based on your current income, while the real estate tax is based on the income you used to have when you paid for your house but might not have any more. So if you're upset by the amount of property tax you have to pay on your home, ask for an increase in the state income tax.
Kevin Matejka February 06, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Martin, your suggestion that as a result of a reduction a few years ago is the culprit in NJ's unreasonably high property taxes to me is off base. While your argument may be valid in a short time frame, it still does not account for being one of if not the highest property taxes in the nation for decades. The real estate taxes are based on your property value, not your income. Although one could argue a greater income enables you to purchase a more expensive home. How one can suggest the best way to avoid being upset at skyhigh property taxes is to just pay more income taxes? How about fiscal responsibility? How about managing town resources better? How about stop wasting money? Answer me why does someone living in a trailer park with 3 children pay no property taxes, yet I live in a house and pay property taxes to fund school taxes? Enough free rides. The answer is not more or different taxes, but better managing the expenses we currently have. How well has raising the state sales tax worked out?
Martin B. Brilliant February 06, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Kevin, first you have to persuade me that property taxes in New Jersey are "unreasonably high." NJ is the most densely populated state in the US, and the central cities of the state's two biggest metropolitan areas are outside the state. Maybe that has something to do with our having some of the highest property taxes in the US. I know real estate taxes are not based on your income. That's my point. The taxes are based on the real estate that you were once able to afford, but that doesn't say you still have enough income to pay the taxes. No argument there. Skyhigh? Let's not exaggerate. If you can define skyhigh we could discuss it. And by the way, I didn't say the tax reduction was "the culprit." I only meant that if income taxes were higher, real estate taxes could be lower. Next: fiscal responsibility, management, waste, managing expenses.... Are you suggesting that the best way to get good government is to give it less money? Gotcha! You don't believe that taxing higher income people with an income tax will help lower your real estate tax, but you think taxing trailer park residents with three kids will? You've forgotten the Willie Sutton rule: go where the money is. I've heard it said that NJ has the most corrupt government in the nation. That might be another reason why we have high real estate taxes. But do you really think we would be better off if we brought our taxes so low there wouldn't be enough money in government to make corruption profitable?
Martin B. Brilliant February 06, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Oh, Kevin, one more thought. Parts of the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas are in our state, but we can't tax Philadelphia and New York real estate. We can, however, tax the incomes of NJ residents who work in Philadelphia and New York. Income inequality is increasing, and we could get increasing amounts of revenue if we taxed their income at higher rates. Never mind the trailer park residents; go where the money is.
Peabody February 09, 2013 at 03:27 AM
OK let me let you all in on a secret about the Hazlet bottomless pit office. The building is heated and air conditioned if it is open or closed. We have to keep it on because we had our HVAC guy tell us it would cost too much money to lower the heat or raise the AC because the recovery time on the next open day would wipe out the savings. You have to pump out all the hot air out of the walls, furniture everything to lower the temp in the summer and the reverse in the winter, pump the heat into walls furniture etc to raise the temp in the winter. Its like the politicians in Hazlet, they are full of HOT AIR. Its a day off smoking mirror the township administrator don't want to give up.. WOULD YOU?
Kevin Matejka February 09, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Martin, income taxes should be based on your income and property taxes should be based on your property value. With your argument, an individual with a high income living in an apartment should pay high property taxes? I define in this case skyhigh to mean unreasonably too high. No, the best way to manage government is not to give it less money, but to manage the money it has better. I find it funny you are concerned about making corruption profitable. Also,because I believe it reasonable for all citizens to pay their fair share (residents of a trailer park paying towards their childs education) you compare that to a bank robber. Explain to me why the Hazlet Pool Club which is supposed to be run as a separate self sustaining business supported by member fees has the Hazlet Public Works Dept painting and taking care of lawn maintenance at the facility. Is that a wise use of township taxes? A number of years ago, Hazlet stopped picking up recycling every 2 weeks, and no picks up every 3 weeks. What have they done with the extra 17 weeks of labor? Was there any cost savings to Hazlet residents? Your answer seems to be to just increase income taxes and this will lower property taxes. History shows all this will do is give municipal governments more money to waste, and our property taxes will still increase as they have always.
Kevin Matejka February 09, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Peabody, I could not agree more.
Martin B. Brilliant February 09, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Kevin, let's try to get back to the basics. While you say people who live in trailer parks don't pay their fair share, I say people with six figure incomes don't pay their fair share. I would estimate that more tax money would be raised by increasing the income tax on six figure incomes by one percentage point than by classifying trailers as homes instead of vehicles. I would say let's do both: increase the income tax rate and tax mobile homes as residence property. But you argue that the money would only be wasted, so don't bother. Your plan is, and I quote, "to manage the money it [the government] has better." That brings us to the hard part. You want me to explain why your municipality, or even mine, does this and doesn't do that. I can't. But if you want better municipal money management, either you have to explain it, or you have to elect somebody who can explain it. Until that happens, you want neither to raise taxes or lower taxes, regardless of the real needs of government. But until you show me how to make that happen, we will disagree.
Kevin Matejka February 09, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Martin, we have gotten way off base. I was citing examples of waste and inequity in our municipal government and taxes. I don't have it out for trailer park residents. I think you one of a very few who live in NJ who believe our property taxes are way too high. But you are entitled to your opinion. I have cited examples of what needs to be done to help lower our taxes.. There are too many people entrenched within municipal government to allow it to happen. Do you not believe the towns of Hazlet, Keyport, Union Beach & Keansburg could combine services at a substantial tax savings? But it will never happen. . You can keep throwing money at the problem, sooner or later there is just not enough money. Increasing the state income tax by 1% for those earning over 100K will not solve the problem. Also, these residents generally have more expensive homes and thus pay greater property taxes than those with with lower incomes generally have more moderate homes with lower property taxes. It is frustrating when your municipality's idea of saving money is to close the municipal bldg on Fridays. As Peabody stated this is just a way of serving the good of a handful at the expense of an entire township. With thinking like this do you really believe the town council will take any real action to control costs and eliminate waste? I do not. Just giving them more tax revenue is not the answer in my opinion. However, I respect your opinion it does, although I don't agree.
Martin B. Brilliant February 09, 2013 at 08:43 PM
I'm afraid I have to agree with you, Kevin. Whatever has to be done to get better government, it will never happen.

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