Manchester Residents Enraged Over 2013 Reassessments

Most of the residents in Manchester Township who do not live in senior communities will see an increase in taxes later this year.

Several Manchester residents are frustrated that, in the 2013 reassessment, their home values dropped, but their taxes actually will rise in the third and fourth quarters this year - in some cases by more than $1,000.

Appearing at the Township Council's Monday meeting, Pine Lake Park resident Melissa Mascaro said: "No one is going to move here. I could list my house at $400,000, but I'd be lucky to get $250,000. And yet, I'm paying $8,500 in taxes. I came in and the assessor did lower my assessment by $20,000, but that translates to $200 off."

Most of the residents in Manchester Township who do not live in senior communities will see an increase in taxes later this year, despite the fact that the values on their homes have actually dropped, according to Martin Lynch, the township's tax assessor.

Mascaro and others pointed out the fact that if the increase in taxes had been more gradual, it would likely have been better received. But a drastic increase - particularly in this volatile economy - is going to be particularly painful for most residents, they say.

Council members were quick to point out that the taxes from each home paid to the municipality were only 27.5 percent of their total tax bill - compared with 18.5 percent to the county and 54 percent to the schools.

Council President Craig Wallis said: "We have zero to do with the schools … now that the rules have changed, if the [school] budget doesn't change more than 2 percent, it doesn't go to vote."

Wallis said the township has taken steps to reduce municipal taxes, by cutting staff and having township employees pay into their benefits.

Wallis noted that his home assessment has been reduced, and he will likely end up paying more into taxes, but as Lynch explained, this is necessary to maintain the decreases in homes whose assessments dropped more than the 20 percent average, and received a consequent tax decrease. "This is a rebalancing of everything," Wallis said.

As part of reassessment process, the total ratable base in town went from $3.9 billion to $3.2 billion. Residents throughout the town are being notified by letters, and not all have been informed of the changes as of yet, Lynch said last night.

Township officials said they are courting other revenue streams to offset taxes. As an example, in other action at the meeting, Manchester officials authorized a resolution that would enable them to go out to bid for a leased 750-foot cell phone tower, to be constructed on township-owned property in the Roosevelt City section of town.

Some council members called the measure "another means of trying to curtail taxes." The measure would still have to go before a land use board, however, several council members said the measure - which was initiated by AT & T, was "good for the township as a whole."

despicable me February 23, 2013 at 04:26 PM
.Michael Fressola has done nothing for the township of Manchester outside the walls of the senior communities and I think I speak for many of the residents (outside senior living) when I say WE DO NOT WANT THIS MAN TO REPRESENT US ANYMORE! If I am wrong and you can name one good thing this man has ever done for us non-seniors please correct me.
despicable me March 02, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Please for the love of god people wake up and call Governor Christie, we need an investigation, something sticks in Manchester and it’s NOT the dump, the adult diapers or the crap all over people’s properties and empty lots.
despicable me March 02, 2013 at 05:03 PM
CALL CHRISTIES OFFICE Office of the Governor PO Box 001 Trenton, NJ 08625 609-292-6000 BETTER YET EMAIL HIM ....LINK / ADDRESS IS BELOW http://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/governor/govmail/govmail_1c_new.pl
despicable me April 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM
High Taxes, NO CODE ENFORCER! Manchesters code enforcer retired months ago and has not been replaced. Place looks like one big junkyard.
Susan Santos July 26, 2013 at 11:48 PM
here is just the beginning of my letter to Governor Christie. I live in Wanaque. Same thing happened to us. At a town hall meeting in February GOvernor Christie said he knew nothing about this issue. February 28, 2013 Governor Chris Christie Po Box 001 Trenton NJ 08625 Dear Governor Christie, I attended your town hall meeting yesterday in Montville. It was a good meeting and your humor was appreciated. However, on a more serious note I am very concerned about my property tax situation. The man, from Montville, who asked about his 12% property tax increase is not the only property owner who is perplexed after a reevaluation. He said "something very strange is going on with the assessments/appraisals" and he is right. A similar situation occurred in Woodland Park (the Fours Seasons), they have filed a lawsuit. I live in Wanaque NJ in the Wanaque Reserve. We recently had a reevaluation. I had a tax increase of 10%, many others in the Wanaque Reserve had much more staggering increases while many in the rest of town saw a decrease in their taxes. The town has not been reassessed for 26 years. Our units at the Wanaque Reserve are 1-8 years old. How can any property that has not been assessed for 26 years have their taxes lowered and some by as much as 20% according to the posting on the appraisers website! It was also my understanding that newer construction is assessed close to market value already so should be the least impacted by a property reevaluation. I have done a lot of research and I believe we need to look into why we are having progressive property tax revaluations, all of the sudden, where a large share of the tax burden is shifted over to one neighborhood (specifically those with the higher valued properties), while much of the rest of the town, that has not been reevaluated for 26 years, has had their taxes go down! Our property values, at the Wanaque Reserve, an age restricted community, have dropped by 1/3 over the last 4 years and yet our taxes just went up by 10%! Could someone please explain when the rules of the game changed? Declining property values have always meant lower taxes not higher taxes! Property tax reevaluations are supposed to be neither progressive nor regressive. They are supposed to distribute the tax burden equally. Another form of inequity may arise from systematic differences in the appraisal of low-value and high-value properties. According to the IAAO (Association of professionals in property assessment and taxation.) 1990 Standard on Ratio Studies, "When low-value properties are appraised at greater percentages of market value than high-value properties, assessment regressivity is indicated. When low-value properties are appraised at smaller percentages of market value than high-value properties, assessment progressivity results. Appraisals made for tax purposes, of course, should be neither progressive nor regressive." Progressive and regressive appraisal are forms of inequity called "vertical" inequity. Staff reports a measure of vertical dispersion called the "Price-Related Differential" (PRD) for each property category on the CAD Summary Worksheet. The PRD is calculated by dividing a sample's mean ratio by its weighted mean ratio. The IAAO standard for this measure is .98 to 1.03, with PRDs below this range indicating progressivity, and measures above this range indicating regressivity. A PRD inside this range indicates that low-value and high-value properties are being treated uniformly in regard to level of appraisal. Table Seven shows a sample PRD calculation. In this example the PRD is 1.01, which indicates uniformity. I suspect this new methodology is a way of gaming your 2% cap, but only


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