Hundreds of Tax Appeals Prompt Revaluation
Washington Township officials said they want to have a revaluation done after 271 residents appealed their property taxes this year.
Property owners appealing their taxes have cost Washington Township more than $687,000 since 2010, not including 65 unresolved appeals from this year.
Residents and commercial property owners can appeal the assessed value of their home or business if they believe they are paying for more than it is actually worth. Appeals have been jumped from 105 in 2010 and 117 last year to 271 this year.
The amount paid out to appealing property owners has also risen sharply. The township lost about $168,000 in 2010 and $194,000 last year. This year, more than $322,000 has been paid out for county and state appeals so far and 65 more appeals that went to a hearing in July have not yet been resolved.
Most of the appeals have been coming from condo owners rather than houses or commercial properties, according to township attorney Kenneth Poller.
"We are getting hit really hard on the condos," Poller said.
The average home in the township is assessed at $540,000. The township's assessed value as a whole dropped by about $10 million this year.
Township Tax Assessor Ray Damiano previously told Patch the last revaluation was done in 2006. Damiano said he recommended that the township undergo a property revaluation because of the large number of appeals. Officials said they want to get the process done as soon as possible.
"We really need to get this ball rolling," Council Vice President Joseph D'Urso previously said.
Mayor Janet Sobkowicz estimated the revaluation could cost as much as $300,000.
In a revaluation, inspectors check out the exterior and interior of every home and business in the town and re-assess their values. Poller said the revaluation will not take effect until 2014 at the earliest because of the length of the process and deadlines for the town to send results to the state.
In Hillsdale, a revaluation is currently underway. Borough officials said they expect about 25 percent of residents to see a lower assessment, about 25 percent to see a higher assessment and about 50 percent to remain roughly steady.