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Hillsdale Property Inspections Start Wednesday

The borough is appraising the value of homes and commercial properties for a tax revaluation.

Inspectors from Realty Appraisal Company are scheduled to begin visiting Hillsdale homes and businesses Wednesday for a borough-wide tax revaluation, according to Councilman Douglas Frank.

Hillsdale officials decided to have a revaluation done because too many property owners, including expensive commercial property owners, were successfully appealing their taxes, according to Mayor Max Arnowitz. When a property owner wins an appeal, it ends up costing the municipality extra money because they have to return some local taxes as well as county and school taxes from the town's budget, Arnowitz said.

Frank said about 25 percent of residents are expected to see lower taxes, about 25 percent are expected to see higher taxes and about 50 percent will remain roughly steady.

"Doing a revaluation does not necessarily mean your taxes are going to go down," Arnowitz said.

The inspectors will need to examine both the exterior and interior of buildings. They will leave a note to schedule an appointment if no adults are home. Residents can also refuse entry to the inspectors, but the appraisal will then be made from just the exterior. In those cases, the inspectors "assess high," Arnowitz said.

Officials cautioned residents to make sure inspectors have identification. A complete list of the inspectors, with photos, is available online here.

Arnowitz also suggested residents check out the inspectors' work on their homes in the Municipal Building. Previous revaluations have included numerous errors, he said. In a personal example, Arnowitz said an inspector incorrectly credited his home with having four garages instead of two.

"Don't be afraid to come down and check your sheet," Arnowitz said. "There's no charge."

After the inspections are done, appraisers will determine the value of the properties and value notices will be sent out. The inspections should be done by October and residents should expect any changes to affect their taxes by next year.

Borough officials and representatives from Realty Appraisal Company will be holding meetings with residents to answer any questions about the process. Patch will have information about the meetings when it becomes available.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Barry Black August 15, 2012 at 03:09 PM
All things being relative most homeowners will not see a substantial change in their property tax. If there is a significant lowering of property values across the board, then the tax rate will be rise to compensate since the town budget won't change. Those few homes that are rated significantly above or below their present value will not affect the overall property taxes to any substantial degree just to the respective homeowner. However, the kicker is the relative value of commercial property to residential property. If the assessment determines that commercial property is over valued then it is possible that the majority of homeowners will see an increase in their taxes. It is known that many towns like to under-value commercial property in order to make it more appealing to business----will this happen in Hillsdale???----remember the assessors work for the town!!! The general thinking is that with more business and increasing commercial tax revenues the overall contribution from homeowners will be lowered eventually.

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