WARETOWN – Local Tax Assessor Martin Lynch plans to conduct two informational sessions regarding the upcoming changes in tax assessments of the township’s 4,600 residential properties.
Meetings are scheduled for all residents at April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Waretown Volunteer Fire Company, and for residents of Greenbriar Oceanaire at their clubhouse on April 10 at 7 p.m.
Towns are required by law to undergo this process once the average property assessment is more than 15% off from where it is supposed to be. Market pressures make home assessments go up and down based on a number of factors. A re-assessment is done to make sure everyone is paying their fair share. The assessment is not the same as the purchase price of the home.
“The Township Committee has received a revaluation order from the Ocean County Board of Taxation,” announced Deputy Mayor Lydia Dodd. “The order is to implement a municipal wide revaluation of the Township of Ocean.”
The order calls for completion of the revaluation by November 1, 2023, to go become effective in 2024.
Dodd said the governing body decided to appoint Lynch to complete the project rather than hiring an outside company that does not know the town or its homes.
“Doing the project in-house and hiring outside inspectors to work under Martin is a large cost savings,” Dodd said. “Martin Lynch is well versed in the homes and different sections of the town. An outside company would cost upwards of $600,000 and handling the project in-house will cost the town $250,000 over five years.”
An ordinance passed by the governing body allows the township to spread the cost of the mandated re-assessment over five years.
Lynch explained that the difference between a revaluation and a re-assessment is that the tax assessor performs the reassessment, while a revaluation is completed by an outside company.
Homes in the Township of Ocean were last re-assessed in 2012, with the New Jersey Division of Taxation records indicating that the average township property is assessed at 72.76% of its market value.
“Re-assessment is the process of appraising all real estate in a municipality according to its full and fair value, to ensure that each property owner pays their fair share of taxes,” said Lynch. “The process is revenue neutral, meaning the purpose is not to raise property taxes.”
Property inspections related to the upcoming reassessments will begin in April and are scheduled for completion in October. The process entails inspecting both the interior and exterior of all homes. Inspectors plan to collect data regarding several factors, not limited to design, style, overall condition, plumbing, heat source, air conditioning, and basements.
“If a resident is not home on the inspector’s visit,” Lynch shared. “A notice will be left asking the resident to call the office and schedule an appointment.”
Notices of the new assessed values for each property will be mailed at the end of this year and will reflect a change starting with 2024 tax bills. A re-assessment does not necessarily mean an increase in taxes for every homeowner and is designed to ensure that each property owner is paying their fair share of taxes.
Lynch said the tax rate will go down to compensate for the increase in assessed values. He added that since not all properties have appreciated in value at the same rate, some people may see their tax bill go down, while others go up.
Anyone with questions about the re-assessment should consider attending one of the information sessions or contacting the Tax Assessor’s office at 609-693-3302.