Council unanimously approved the 2014 municipal operating budget as well as an ordinance which officially begins the process for the borough to conduct a town wide revaluation at Thursday night’s Mayor & Council meeting.
The budget, which does not include capital items or projects – that will be voted on at a later time – has an increase of $99.45 for a house assessed at $65,000. That second figure – the assessment – is on its way to being updated to reflect current values of homes, now that council approved an ordinance to find a firm to conduct a revaluation on property in Roselle Park. Houses in the borough currently are values in the $200,000 range and up but due to the fact that a revaluation has not been done in over 25 years, assessments are still below $100,000.
Residents, as well as council members, have had questions and concerns regarding revaluation from what the impact will be on property taxes to how the assessments will be conducted. As an example, it was erroneously believed by some residents that an increase to an assessment will correspondingly increase taxes (i.e. the tax rate will simply be calculated into the new assessment and if taxes were $6,000 with a house assessed a $65,000 they will increase triple fold). During previous meetings, the governing body stated it will put out a bid to hire one of 10 state-approved revaluation firms and before any actual home-to-home/property-to-property assessments occur, mayor and council will have the appointed firm come in to be available to answer questions and concerns from residents in town-hall style meetings.
The budgeted amount of $500,000 for the revaluation will allow the municipality to include the equivalent of a performance rider in their specifications where any appeals that may be filed due to the revaluation will have its associated costs covered by the firm.
Currently, the borough has lost more than half a million dollars in revenues due to tax appeals over the last five years – including one from former Borough Mayor Joseph DeIorio in 2011. Last year $164,000 was lost from the tax rolls due to tax appeals.