Ratables decreased in township reassessment

The recent township reassessment shows a $700 million decrease in net ratables since 2006 and a $77,040 decrease in value of the average assessed home.

Voorhees CFO Dean Ciminera said the township performed a revaluation in 1986 and waited 20 years to perform the next one at the height of real estate market.

“When it crashed, we could no longer justify property values we had in 2006,” he said.

In a revaluation, the township’s property records are created from scratch, according to the township. A reassessment, meanwhile, only inspects certain properties.

This time around, the assessor did not need to assess any properties that had been inspected within the last four years.

Ciminera said the township performed a reassessment to set the property values as close to the true value as possible.

Thousands of people were appealing assessments, and the township must pay 100 percent of the appeal on top of litigation fees, he said. Taxes that go to the school districts, county, fire and police are not given back to the township after an appeal.

According to Ciminera, the most common misconception residents have when it comes to a reassessment is the township is trying to make money.

“The amount of tax revenue is independent of a reassessment,” he said.

He said the anticipated tax revenue for 2013 is just more than $18 million, $722,775 more than last year.

From 2009–2011, the township lost $500,000 in appeals.

According to Ciminera, the township paid $1.6 million in 2012 tax appeals, borrowing $1.2 million to cover the cost. He said municipalities are allowed to borrow up to 75 percent to pay off debt. The amount must be approved by the state. At a .85 percent interest rate, Ciminera said the township would pay off the note in three years.

But the future effect of the reassessment is unknown.

“It’s dependent upon the real estate market,” he said, adding the township could see fewer appeals next year.

With the reassessment setting the property values at a more

accurate level, it would be easier for the township to reject an appeal. Ciminera said if the assessor values a property at $100,000 and the resident claims the value is actually $95,000, the tax assessor could reject the appeal because it’s within 15 percent of the current assessed value.

He said if the appeal was 15 percent or more below the assessed value, that property value could change.

That was the problem the township was having.

“We are trying to make sure proprieties are valued correctly,” he said.