A number of property owners have come forward with questions since the new values went out in the mail last week, and DeKlerk shed some light on the numbers—and the numbers behind the numbers—at Monday's township committee meeting.
According to DeKlerk, the ratable base of the township—which now stands at roughly $1.5 billion—shrunk by 18 percent since the last revaluation in 2007. Since the township (and school district and county) still has to collect the same amount in taxes to provide services, the tax rate had to go up.
Here's what that means for you: If the value of your property dropped by 18 percent, your taxes likely won't change very much. If the value dropped by less than 18 percent, you'll see an increase.
The majority of property owners—57 percent—will have their taxes lowered as a result of reassessment, DeKlerk said, while 11.8 percent will only pay between $0-200 more.
The remaining properties are broken down as follows:
- 738 properties (11.6 percent) will increase $201-500
- 527 properties (8.3 percent) will increase $501-1,000
- 704 properties (11 percent) will increase $1,000+
The levy in 2010-11 decreased .12 percent from 2009-10, the 2011-12 levy was a 1 percent increase, and the 2012-13 levy only went up by .04 percent, DeKlerk explained.
"So even though that’s not a daunting amount of relief for some people, it certainly does suggest the lowering of the estimates in some of the letters," he said.
Taxes aside, Mayor Anthony Minniti told DeKlerk a number of residents have also expressed concern over the decreased value of their properties. Among them is Deputy Mayor John McCarthy, who—though happy his taxes dropped $150—expressed some dismay that his property value had shrunk by 20 percent.
While the drop in values is obviously primarily attributable to the downturn in the economy and the overall shrinking of the market, DeKlerk explained that there's a strategy involved as well.
"There is concern among some real estate professionals that New Jersey is in store for another downturn," he said. "So part of the thinking is if you set your baseline for assessments just a few points below the actual market, it will protect the ratable base from this type of fluctuation (in the future)."
The average home value in Cinnaminson dropped by $50,000 as a result of reassessment—from $282,600 in 2013, to $232,600 today.
The new taxes will be split between the August and November tax bills, with no change to the first and second quarter bills, DeKlerk said.
Property owners with questions about their new assessment have until Jan. 20 to set up an appointment for an informal review with Professional Property Appraisers. Following that, the formal appeal period begins—tentatively—on Feb. 25 and lasts until May 1.