By MELISSA DIPENTO
Is your house worth what you paid for it nearly 20 years ago? Well, it’s time to find out.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bernie Platt announced that the township will undergo a complete property revaluation, which was ordered by the Camden County Board of Taxation, under the supervision of the New Jersey Division of Taxation.
The purpose of the revaluation, township officials said, is to ensure a fair and equitable redistribution of Cherry Hill’s tax levy, giving all residents their fair share of the township’s tax burden.
The last time the now-nearly 27,000 homes went through a property revaluation was in 1993.
“Many changes have taken place in the real estate market in the last 18 years,” Platt said. “New housing and commercial properties have been built, while older structures have been torn down, rehabilitated or replaced.”
Township Tax Assessor Mike Raio said the county asked the township for a revaluation in 2013 due to the disparity between the current assessments and what homes in the township are actually selling for.
“The county uses an equalization ratio. Assessments are becoming less and less accurate,” Raio said. “It’s time to wipe the slate clean and bring homes to 100 percent market value.”
The township has contracted the two-year revaluation project to Professional Property Appraisers, Inc., township spokesman Dan Keashen said. The cost of the revaluation is $1.35 million.
Raio said the revaluation will not generate any additional funds for the township.
“It’s revenue neutral and has no direct benefit for the budget,” Raio said. “It equalizes the playing field. Some may see and increase and some may see a decrease.”
The average assessed home in the township is $140,000, Keashen said. That number will likely change after all the assessments are completed.
Raio said there is no way to know if resident’s taxes will go up or down, but said revaluation is the best way to insure each property, based on its market value, will pay its fair share.
“It’s all individually based–that’s why inspectors go to each property,” Raio said.
Inspectors are expected to begin making the rounds throughout the township on Monday, May 16. Inspectors, Raio said, will inspect resident’s homes to collect data that will be used to determine each property’s fair market value. Weather permitting, Raio said, it could take about a year for inspectors to visit each home.
Township officials said each inspector will be wearing a photo identification badge. Each inspector will be registered with the Cherry Hill Police Department and photos of the inspectors will be posted on the Cherry Hill Police Facebook page.
The new tax assessments will officially go on the books in 2013.
Keashen said residents will receive notice of their new assessment figures in late 2012. Keashen added that the revaluations are not set in stone; residents may contact the township to set up an appointment with PPA to sit down and discuss the inspector’s findings.
For more information on the property revaluations, visit the township’s Web site, www.CherryHill–NJ.com and click on the new tab called “Reval Project.” There, you’ll find a list of frequently asked questions, such as how revaluations will impact taxes and how to schedule an appointment if you live alone.
Residents may also call PPA directly at 764–6500 or the township’s tax assessor’s office at 488–7899.