Roselle Park News

Government

New Assessments Mean Tax Increase For Governing Body

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Published: January 27, 2016 @ 6:00 AM EDT
New Assessments Mean Tax Increase For Governing Body thumbnail

The New Jersey Association of County Tax Boards (NJACTB) website (link) has listed the assessments for properties in Roselle Park for the year 2016. These new assessments are the result of a townwide revaluation conducted by Realty Appraisal Company last year which was voted for and approved by council in 2014. Inspecting almost 90% of all properties in Roselle Park along with other research, the revaluation firm assessed the values of houses and businesses. This new ‘current market’ assessed value that averaged around $254,000 replaced the 1980s assessment figure of $70,000 that has been used to notify residents of the annual impact on their property taxes for decades. $254,000 will become the new average starting this year.

Roselle Park News will submit an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to obtain all assessments for properties in the borough for a future article that will provide analytical information on assessments and their impact on property taxes. In the interim, an exercise using a very small, yet significant, sample of taxpayers shows how members of the governing bodies for 2014, 2015, and 2016 fared with the new assessments.

The three (3) important components to property taxes are total assessments, annual budgets, and the tax rate. The total new assessments have been determined with the townwide evaluation in 2015. Last year’s annual budget amount to be collected by taxes is known. Using those two figures, the estimated tax rate can be determined. That figure, $3.642, was the rate used by Realty Appraisal Company in the letters they sent out to property owners. It is an estimate because if this year’s budget were to be the exact same amount as 2015, then the tax rate would be $3.642. It is simply used for comparative purposes and should not be taken to mean that this will be the tax rate or property tax increase for 2016. That will be calculated after this year’s budgets are approved and certified by the county. The basic formula for property taxes in New Jersey is:

Assessed Value multiplied by the Tax Rate per every $100 of Assessed Value
(Assessed Value) x (Tax Rate ÷ 100)
($254,000) x (3.642 ÷ 100)
$254,000 x 0.03642 = $9,250.68

The alarm and ‘sticker shock’ some residents felt when they received their assessment letters from the revaluation firm in November of last year can be reflected in the sampling of the governing body members who represent residents of Roselle Park. Councilwoman-At-Large is listed twice with a plus sign (+) because, according to tax records, she and her husband own two properties in Roselle Park. Mayor Carl Hokanson has an asterisk (*) to denote that he receives a $250 deduction given to veterans. That reduction is reflected in both his 2015 and 2016 property taxes.

The tax impact for this year’s governing body, three of whom did not vote on the revaluation, averaged a 4.9% increase of $389.78 in taxes for all seven members. Two council members, Eugene Meola and Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley, had a decrease in their property taxes with the 1st Ward Councilman having a $408 reduction. The remaining members of the governing body had an increase anywhere from a 1.3% to 17.5% with the Fourth Ward councilman having $1,331.41 added to his taxes; the highest percentage increase at almost 18%. Councilman Ryan Kelly’s family’s residence had a 3% increase.

Property Assessments (2016 Mayor & Council)
Name
Assessment
(2015)
Property Tax
(2015 Actual)
Assessment
(2016)
Property Tax
(2016 Estimated)
Difference
($)
Difference
(%)
Average Change
+$389.78
+4.9%
Eugene Meola (Ward 1)
$68,300
$9,279.92
$243,600
$8,871.91
-$408.01
-4.4%
Joseph Petrosky (Ward 2)
$61,400
$8,342.42
$259,300
$9,443.71
+$1,101.29
+13.2%
Ryan Kelly (Ward 3)
$66,400
$9,021.77
$255,100
$9,290.74
+$268.97
+3.0%
Mohamed 'Gino' Elmarassy (Ward 4)
$55,900
$7,595.13
$245,100
$8,926.54
+$1,331.41
+17.5%
Thomas 'Thos' Shipley (Ward 5)
$70,000
$9,510.90
$259,600
$9,454.63
-$56.27
-0.6%
Charlene Komar Storey+ (At-Large)
$64,900
$8,817.96
$246,500
$8,977.53
+$159.57
+1.8%
Charlene Komar Storey+ (At-Large)
$30,300
$4,116.86
$114,500
$4,170.09
+$53.23
+1.3%
Carl Hokanson*
$68,100
$9,002.75
$272,400
$9,670.81
+668.06
+7.4%
Total (Combined) Increase
+$3,118.25
+39.2%
Median
+$214.27
+2.4%

2016 Governing Body Property Taxes

Using the Realty Appraisal tax rate shows that the 2015 governing body that oversaw the actual revaluation would have the largest impact to their taxes. The 5.2% increase of $412.49 was the highest by far; 1½ times more than that of 2014’s governing body. 2015’s council only had one member, 1st Ward Councilman Eugene Meola, with a decrease in property taxes.

Property Assessments (2015 Mayor & Council)
Name
Assessment
(2015)
Property Tax
(2015 Actual)
Assessment
(2016)
Property Tax
(2016 Estimated)
Difference
($)
Difference
(%)
Average Increase
+$412.49
+5.2%
Eugene Meola (Ward 1)
$68,300
$9,279.92
$243,600
$8,871.91
-$408.01
-4.4%
Joseph Petrosky (Ward 2)
$61,400
$8,342.42
$259,300
$9,443.71
+$1,101.29
+13.2%
Ryan Kelly (Ward 3)
$66,400
$9,021.77
$255,100
$9,290.74
+$268.97
+3.0%
Mohamed 'Gino' Elmarassy (Ward 4)
$55,900
$7,595.13
$245,100
$8,926.54
+$1,331.41
+17.5%
Richard G. Templeton, III (Ward 5)
$68,100
$9,252.75
$257,500
$9,378.15
+125.40
+1.4%
Charlene Komar Storey+ (At-Large)
$64,900
$8,817.96
$246,500
$8,977.53
+$159.57
+1.8%
Charlene Komar Storey+ (At-Large)
$30,300
$4,116.86
$114,500
$4,170.09
+$53.23
+1.3%
Carl Hokanson* (Mayor)
$68,100
$9,002.75
$272,400
$9,670.81
+668.06
+7.4%
Total (Combined) Increase
+$3,299.92
+41.2%
Median
+$214.27
+2.4%

The governing body that approved the revaluation in 2014 has the lowest increase percentage-wise and in dollar amounts using the $3.642 metric. The average increase was $152.73, only 2.1%, for all governing body members with former mayor Joseph Accardi having a $1,261.85 decrease and former 1st Ward Councilman Andrew Casais’ address having a decrease of $694.41 in its property tax.

Property Assessments (2014 Mayor & Council)
Name
Assessment
(2015)
Property Tax
(2015 Actual)
Assessment
(2016)
Property Tax
(2016 Estimated)
Difference
($)
Difference
(%)
Average Increase
+$152.73
+2.1%
Andrew Casais (Ward 1)
$79,200
$10,760.90
$276,400
$10,066.49
-$694.41
-6.5%
Charlene Komar Storey+ (Ward 2)
$64,900
$8,817.96
$246,500
$8,977.53
+$159.57
+1.8%
Charlene Komar Storey+ (Ward 2)
$30,300
$4,116.86
$114,500
$4,170.09
+$53.23
+1.3%
Ryan Kelly (Ward 3)
$66,400
$9,021.77
$255,100
$9,290.74
+$268.97
+3.0%
Mohamed 'Gino' Elmarassy (Ward 4)
$55,900
$7,595.13
$245,100
$8,926.54
+$1,331.41
+17.5%
Michael Yakubov (Ward 5)
$59,900
$8,138.61
$242,600
$8,835.49
+$696.88
+8.6%
Carl Hokanson* (At-Large)
$68,100
$9,002.75
$272,400
$9,670.81
+668.06
+7.4%
Joseph Accardi (Mayor)
$84,100
$11,426.67
$279,100
$10,164.82
-$1,261.85
-11.0%
Total (Combined) Increase
+1,221.86
+14.7%
Median
+$214.27
+1.8%

The four members of the governing body who were in office for all three years had an average 6.2% increase of $496.25 with none of them having a decrease in their 2016 proposed property taxes.

Property Assessments (2014-16 Mayor & Council)
Name
Assessment
(2015)
Property Tax
(2015 Actual)
Assessment
(2016)
Property Tax
(2016 Estimated)
Difference
($)
Difference
(%)
Average Change
+$496.25
+6.2%
Ryan Kelly
$66,400
$9,021.77
$255,100
$9,290.74
+$268.97
+3.0%
Mohamed 'Gino' Elmarassy
$55,900
$7,595.13
$245,100
$8,926.54
+$1,331.41
+17.5%
Charlene Komar Storey+
$64,900
$8,817.96
$246,500
$8,977.53
+$159.57
+1.8%
Charlene Komar Storey+
$30,300
$4,116.86
$114,500
$4,170.09
+$53.23
+1.3%
Carl Hokanson*
$68,100
$9,002.75
$272,400
$9,670.81
+668.06
+7.4%
Total (Combined) Increase
+$2,481.24
+31.0%
Median
+$268.97
+3.0%

While there has been criticism of those possibly receiving a reduction, the other side of that argument is that they were paying more than their fair share for years and had their taxable responsibility adjusted to reflect a more accurate burden. The other accusation that the revaluation was some sort of scheme that would benefit elected officials’ taxes is hard to justify with the figures shown for a majority of representatives.

Knowing that budgets will most certainly increase means that the taxes represented here are on the low end and will, most likely, be higher. The frustrations of residents who feel they are already paying too high taxes would love to have a reduction in their taxes like that of former mayor Accardi but are afraid of an increase like councilman Elmarassy.

The actual impact on governing body members as well as residents will be revisited once the tax rate for 2016 is officially calculated. As previously stated, subsequent articles will provide more data and analysis. For the time being, as a result of a collaborative effort with former mayor Joseph DeIorio to provide information on the impact of property taxes based on the new assessments, a page has been set up to help calculate proposed changes in property taxes. The page can be accessed by clicking the photo below:

Tax-Calculator-Photo