Westwood's Assessed Value Drops $17M
The borough's assessed value is down, which could cause taxes to rise, according to auditor Gary Vinci.
The assessed value of Westwood has dropped by about $17 million this year because of tax appeals, a decrease in taxable properties and the former Pascack Valley Hospital remaining closed, auditor Gary Vinci said at a recent borough council meeting.
The drop in value from about $1,730,000,000 to $1,713,000,000 could mean a $28 tax increase for the average borough homeowner to compensate for the loss of ratables, according to Vinci. All properties in Westwood are included in the assessed value.
Borough officials are facing several rising costs for the budget this year, according to Vinci. The costs of health insurance, pensions and payment on debt service will all be increasing, he said.
Councilwoman Cindy Waneck said officials had been going over their budget line-by-line and already brought it down from a 9.26 percent tax increase to a 3.61 percent increase. They still planned to cut more capital expenses, she said.
"There will be additional cuts," Waneck said.
One example of the cuts: the borough will not continue its road repaving program this year, officials said.
Mayor John Birkner said that the assessed value of the hospital would increase once it reopens. Hospital officials have said they plan to open June 1.
"That will be a big boon," Birkner said.
The next two years may be hard for budgeting, according to Birkner.
Officials also said they would look for more sources of revenue to help lessen the tax levy increase.
The council is expected to introduce their budget March 19 and hold a public hearing about a month later.