Ordered to revalue for 2018


The last time it happened, it was 2007 and the current Belleville mayor, Ray Kimble, was in his second year as the township’s chief executive.

Now, it appears that Kimble and all township property owners will be going through it again … a dreaded property tax revaluation … unless Belleville files an appeal.

Belleville was ordered to conduct a “reval,” as the procedure is commonly known, following a 6-0 vote by the Essex County Board of Taxation on Nov. 5, 2015.

The revaluation is scheduled to take effect in the 2018 tax year.

Copies of the reval notice were made available to the public at last Tuesday’s meeting of the township mayor and council by Belleville assessor Kevin Esposito.

Although the vote happened some two months previously, Belleville didn’t officially learn about the order until the Dec. 21, 2015, receipt of a letter from Essex County Tax Administrator Joan Codey Durkin who explained that the “order to revalue was formally approved by Dennis Shilling, Acting Director, Division of Taxation, on Dec. 17, 2015.”

Durkin advised the township that it has 45 days from Dec. 17 to challenge the order with the state Tax Court.

Absent an appeal, Durkin said, “the assessor and other municipal officials [are required to] prepare and execute a plan for the revaluation of all real property” and the assessor must “submit a written report within 30 days [of Dec. 17]. … This plan is to be updated monthly until the completion of the revaluation.”

Belleville is being ordered to undertake a re-examination of the assessments of all properties because current assessments “result in an unequal distribution of the tax burden within [the township]” and, more specifically, it has been determined that “the ratio of assessed value to true value for the township is 96.30% [but] there is a wide divergence of ratios (72.72% to 141.06%) as opposed to clustering.”

Other factors leading to the order were:

• It has been nine years since the last revaluation.

• Lack of updating since last tax maps were compiled in 2005.

• A loss of $252,665,995 in ratables from tax appeals since 2010.

Belleville must contract with a revaluation firm whose representatives will have to visit all properties in the township and provide new assessments of those properties.

At the same time, the township must maintain an up-to-date tax map, to be submitted to the state director of taxation.

Belleville is also required to provide periodic written reports to the county tax board as to how it will be financing its revaluation plan, including “the amount of monies appropriated and expended, the nature and status of any municipal ordinance or resolution introduced by the municipal governing body relating to the revaluation program and the funding for it, the number of line items completed and left to be completed … and the amount of time needed to complete each phase of the revaluation.”

One financing option open to the township is to “adopt an ordinance authorizing a special emergency appropriation for the preparation of an approved tax map, and the preparation and execution of a complete program of revaluation … the costs [for which] may be budgeted over five years.”

Typically, the cost for such a revaluation can amount to several million dollars.

The order cautions the township that, “Unwarranted delays in proceeding to undertake the revaluation could result in legal action to enforce the terms of the order ….”

– Ron Leir 

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