Property Tax Hikes Threaten NJ Homeowners


home.jpgTaxing times for many New Jersey homeowners.

Towns across the state are reassessing properties, but residents are outraged, saying the increases are forcing them out of their homes.

Dave Cheney is facing foreclosure. He said a tax assessment in 2007 put him in the scary situation. He saw taxes on his home go from just over $3,000 to more than $8,000 dollars.

“Even if it was a market I could sell my house, nobody would want to buy it. It’s unmarketable,” he said.

Cheney and several neighbors have appealed their assessments with the Monmouth County Board of Taxation, which has seen the number of appeals go from 1,800 to 6,000 in just a year.

Tax attorney Fredrick Niemann said it’s like this across the state. “You’re seeing that because real estate prices have just fallen through the bottom because taxes are so oppressively high in new jersey and people are looking at tax bills and saying how can we afford to stay here any more.”

“Many of us experienced 60 to 70 percent tax increases last year due to the re-evaluations done during the peak of the market,” said homeowner Kurtis Roinstead.

Roinstead and other home owners in Matawan said their historic section was hit hard while residents in the newer side saw their taxes go down or stay the same. “In our part of town because we hadn’t been assessed in 18 years because the town decided not to do it. We were assessed low.”

And that’s where the problem is.

The fact they hadn’t been assessed in 18 years means, according to Niemann, that “they were getting a very good tax deal for those years and now they’re being brought to fair market value.

Niemann said New Jersey has a formula when it comes to assessing taxes and that’s what local assessors rely on.

Matawan homeowner, Nadine Hemy, now unemployed, doesn’t think it’s fair. “We paid a fair amount and I thought our taxes were right.”

Matawan’s City Council was scheduled to meet for a budget hearing Monday night. Residents told CBS 2HD that the budget included a tax hike and that they planned on being there to protest.

Matawan’s tax assessor said he can’t comment on the complaints by neighbors because many of them have appealed their assessments.

(Source: CBS2 HD)