And The New Tax Rate Will Be…

Montclair residents are buzzing about the revals coming in. We’re hearing the topic du jour discussed at the grocery store, during dinner parties, and on the street. Appraisal System’s Rick Del Guercio says there are another three batches being mailed over the next three weeks. (It’s how they manage the deluge of post traumatic shock phone calls coming in.)
DelGuercio says assessments are set at 100% of fair market value on October 1, 2006. But what about the tax rate? We called the town tax assessor’s office and learned that residents get another nail biting six months to contemplate planning an exit strategy. The new tax rate will be determined sometime in July.
Baristareader/home contractor Martin Schwarz shares a guestimate:

To estimate your new yearly taxes, take the new assessment received from Appraisal Systems and multiply it by .0210 — and you should be pretty close.
The last tax appraisals were done at 45% of the real assessed value. This time appraisals reflect 100% of assessed value, and thus, the tax rate per dollar will go down from $5.36 to around $2.07 – $2.10 depending on the 2007 budget. How much it decreases totally depends on the Montclair 2007 budget voted on in the spring/summer.

I did a good bit of checking with the assessor and the county so I wouldn’t get burned. They won’t say anything publicly now because they don’t know what the coming township budget will be, but both are giving an estimate the $2.07-2.10 figure as a new rate for 2007. Could they be off? Sure, if the township council goes wild. But if the council keeps the budget close to what we have today, (they should coming into an election year) that number should be in the ballpark.

Want to take a look at your reval file? Call Appraisal Systems 201-493-7300 to schedule an appointment. They’ll be meeting with residents at the Montclair Library through January.

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146 COMMENTS

  1. You can appeal the assessment value. This from the town website:https://www.montclairnjusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=418&Itemid=468#official
    “you can file a formal appeal with your County Board of Taxation prior to April 1st. This step is similar to the informal interview. However, your comments will be heard by a Commissioner of the Board of Taxation. You will be given an opportunity to state the reasons you believe your assessment is inaccurate. After reviewing the facts presented, the Board will render a decision as to whether an adjustment is in order.
    In the event you are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Taxation, you have the right to file an appeal with the Tax Court of the State of New Jersey. This must be done within 45 days of your notification. This step in the process is formal, taking place in a courtroom setting before a Tax Court Judge.”

  2. Whatever our re-vals come in at, it falls on all of us to make sure the town does not dramatically increase spending. I find it inconceivable that -even just for an experiment- that they couldn’t try in the upcoming year to REDUCE the budget by say 5%. Seems the council rubber stamps everything that comes along. Last meeting they approved $65,000 to evaluate building some sort of day care center – I don’t think anyone at the meeting even asked about it- the $65K was being bonded (increasing our debt, and debt service) and I can just imagine what building something like this would cost – and who is this for? Whoa asked for it? What’s next a town masseuse to be available to give us all rub downs? When will the spending be restrained???

  3. “How do you appeal. Do you need comps like a regular tax appeal?”
    It is a regular tax appeal and you need proper evidence to support your position – comparable sales and/or an expert appraiser witness. And the appeal will cost you a filing fee, the amount depending on whether your assessment is 1 million or less.
    “This step is similar to the informal interview.”
    Actually the hearing before the County Board of Tax Appeals is a formal hearing and you need proper evidence. The informal interview is what you have prior to the hearing with the municipal tax assessor and/or her lackeys (i.e. the firm which did the assessing for her).
    Note: tax appeals can be a two way street if a “nasty” municipality takes the position that your new assessment is actually too low it theoretically could result in a higher assessment.

  4. LOL…you are going to pay up the you know what very soon…so complain all you want, accept me so you can find something else to complain about. Lol

  5. Folks would do well to attend council meetings and the pre-council meetings that proceed them.
    During these meetings you will see the council spend, and spend, and spend. Someone wants $70K for this? Fine! No questions asked. It just goes on and on as if it were play money.
    Here’s a question that should get us started:
    What did the new fire station really cost? It went in the budget at $2MM, and articles in the MT say it finished at $5MM, but there are those that say $7MM and others want to know if that includes the remediation of the soil which some have said cost another $2MM.
    See the picture? $2MM project comes in at $10MM?
    How about the Woodman project? What will that $700,000 project come in at? What will the newly found remediation really cost?
    Spending is out of control. Hey guys, we don’t OWN all those banks that are moving into town!

  6. You know what. Byron makes a great point. Find something else to complain about. Pay your taxes and don’t think your rants will be ever heard on a blog. Go to a town meeting.

  7. They should increase property tax and give relief to us renters that pay your mortgages. We should have parking spaces. So yes, I vote for the tax increase.

  8. I’m game…We’re going to need a campaign manager and team…So lets try to set up a committee.

  9. Hmmm … let’s see …. renters don’t care about taxes. But landlords do …. so the landlord gets a tax increase and, what, he pays it out of his own pocket?
    Here’s a better scenario, Einstein. Your landlord gets an increase in his taxes of 5%. He’s upset and decides to take it out on YOU and your rent goes up 7%! Trust me. That’s how it’s going to work!
    When you put together your campaign forces, join with someone who promises fiscal resposibility.

  10. I was shocked to see the Notice in last weeks edition of The Montclair Times, announcing a (non-competitive) grant to HomeCorp for $36,000 to provide affordable housing! Why, in the middle of all the controversy, are they awarding yet another non-competitive grant? There are other non-profit and for-profit agencies in New Jersey that can, and do, provide that service for multiple municipalities. Unbelievable.
    The Township budget will not get better until we make the Board of Ed take a reality check and do something about its unnecessary top-heavy administrative salaries and related expenses.

  11. Yes, thank you for replying. I’ll be posting a classified in the Times. I’ll post later for details. Wow this committee thing is really taking off.

  12. By the way rent control is overated. If you want to pass the buck, you owners will. I’ve lived in NY , means absolutely nothing. I don’t care about stupid taxes. I just can’t stand hypocrite owners.

  13. “How about the Woodman project? What will that $700,000 project come in at? What will the newly found remediation really cost?”
    It’s NOT newly found. BOE has known about it since 2005.
    They now claim to have “set aside money”.
    I didn’t know that they had money to set aside

  14. Good Job Montclairrenters, this is going to be great! We should meet at Tierney’s and discuss our platform.

  15. “I was shocked to see the Notice in last weeks edition of The Montclair Times, announcing a (non-competitive) grant to HomeCorp for $36,000 to provide affordable housing!”
    It’s a lot more interesting than that!
    As near as I could tell from the discussion, Montclair requires developers to set aside an amount of money under the town’s Affordable Housing rules.
    The town voted to give HOMECORP money from this fund, but it wasn’t clear that the fund had the money yet. The fact that they didn’t have the money, but anticipated it, speaks volumes as to how the town manages money.
    Several years ago, utilizing similar thinking, the town drained Edgemont Pond for dredging. Although they hadn’t sent the project out for bid, they drained it anyway. When the bids came in, they couldn’t afford the dredging. Nonetheless the pond was now empty.
    If you’re running Montclair, it’s OK to do these sort of things with money. Spend it without regard to a budget, spend it without having it, spend it without an accounting, etc.

  16. The person who estimated the tax rate (i believe he’s from appraisal systems) made some serious errors.
    He’s assuming that your property was assessed at CURRENT market value the last time it was assessed. Most likely, the value of your home has gone up, so even though the old tax system was 45% of the market value of your house, and the new one is 100%, reducing the current rate by 45% doesn’t give you an accurate portrayal.
    Do this math, if your old assessment was 45% of your new assessment, then the math works out pretty well. If your old assessment was significantly lower than 45% of your new assessment, the new tax rate will most likely not be 45% of the current tax rate, it’ll be less assuming spending doesn’t drastically increase.
    If spending drastically increases, then there is no formula to figure out a probable new tax rate, and we’ll all get to be surprised again in 6 months.

  17. For instance, let’s say your current property taxes are $10,000.
    On the current system, you’d take $10,000 and divide it by .0536. That will give you what your property is assessed at. Your property is assessed at 45% of the “market value” of your home. So you take $186,567.16 (10,000/.0536) and divide that number by .45 to find the actual “market value of your home”. In this scenario, the market value of your home would be $414,593.
    If the new assessment, which is 100% of the market value of your home is above or below $414,593, then the formula given by appraisal systems is wrong and your taxes will change.

  18. Ok guys, day two, lets get these taxes raised! Its time Montclair owners get what they deserve. They have been profiting off us renters for too long. Let them be gouged so we can move elsewhere.

  19. Dear Hiding,
    Your calculations are mathematically correct but, forgive the expression, they are ass backwards.
    You assume that all houses in Montclair are assessed at 45% of real market value – WRONG. The average of all assessments may be 45% but actually many assessments are lower and many are higher. One of the principal purposes of the reassessment is to eliminate great disparaties in assessment ratios and to distribute the tax burden on actual values. Your calculations based on the assumption of 45% current assessment are not very helpful for estimating whether any individual’s taxes will go up or down after reassessment.
    Someone, perhaps you, has in a prior post estimated that the new tax rate will be about $2.10 per hundred dollars of assessed valuation. Therefore, if you simply take the highest amount you believe your property would have sold for last September and divide it by .021, you will arrive at what your new tax should be. Of course, should may not equal will – because the assessors may have come up with a different idea of the value of your property, or because the governing fathers may continue their spendthrift ways and a higher municipal budget for next year would make the tax rate greater that the estimated $2.10.

  20. OK, it’s clear by some of the above posts that people still don’t get it. The pizza example didn’t quite work, so let’s revert to childhood and start with legos:
    Imagine ten kids and each one has a regular lego block — 2 reds, 2 yellows, 2 whites, 2 blue and 2 black. That represents a diverse community where everyone lives in their own lego. Now, 4 of the kids add window legos and 2 of the kids add a wheel, while 3 of the kids do nothing. Somehow, the tenth kid has transformed his one lego into a development of twenty legos, each with a lego Maserati in the garage.
    What the hell is happening? Now, each kid has to give $20 to the town because they are all assessed the same.
    Simple.

  21. I don’t know about the rest of you, but a new rate of 2.10 raises my taxes to an unaffordable level, and makes my modest, desperately-in-need-of-updating home destined to be desperately-in-need-of-updating as long as I own it. Hopefully, for my sake, the 2.10 number is high, or my house is way over-assessed. Otherwise, I’m done. I’ll officially be priced out of the town I was born in.
    But I also worry that there wouldn’t be anyone crazy enough to buy my desperately-in-need-of-updating home at its insane assessed value with the amount the new taxes will be.

  22. Montclairrentersrule – I am a Montclair landlord and by no means am I getting rich off of my tenants. In fact, my husband and I have often discounted our rental prices in order to keep our rental affordable for our tenants (whom we adore).
    We pay for the heat for our tenants – which is actually so expensive, we have frequently considered forgoing rental income entirely, because there’s not much left after we pay all that extra money to PSE&G each winter. Certainly not enough to cover the mortgage!
    Our taxes are so high already in this town that they are going to affect the resale value of my home. It’s hard to crunch the numbers to make the place work as an investment – there’s no way anyone could cover the carrying costs of mortgage and taxes based on the rent roll we have (our 2 family is owner occupied, so we do not need the tenants to cover all the costs).
    Be careful what you wish for. Your spitefulness might just lead you to a lovely rental in Newark!

  23. Calm down Hiding,
    I doubt very much that your house is CURRENTLY assessed too high. If it is, your new tax will definitely go down.
    I can’t understand your panic. The 2.10 rate applied to your current assessment should result in a figure less than 50 per cent of your current tax.
    Would you mind stating what your current assessment is and we can do the math for you.

  24. Yes, calm down and let Byron do the math for you: Therefore, if you simply take the highest amount you believe your property would have sold for last September and divide it by .021, you will arrive at what your new tax should be.
    So, if your house would sell for $700,000 , you divide that figure by .021 to find out that your taxes would be a mere thirty three and one-third million dollars!
    No need to panic. Now pay up.

  25. Byron, they are probably applying this assumed rate of 2.1 to the new assessment they just received in the last few days, not to the old assessment. And the result is probably what is scaring them. Many people have already received their new assessment.

  26. I meant that my NEW assessment is too high (or my old assessment was too low). I am currently assessed at 166. The new is asswessment is 584. If the new rate is in the neighborhood of 2.10, my taxes rise from 8,897 to 12,264. Bear in mind there has been no work done on the house in at least 20 years.

  27. another poster had indicated that their rate on new assessment would need to be about .015 to come close to their current tax rate. Maybe 2.10 is a tad high…
    Hiding with the $584 assessment: do you think your house would bring about that much if sold? That’s the threshold question, not the application of an imaginary tax rate. The whole point of the reassessment is that people should end up with an assessment that approximates current fair value.

  28. Quite right Mr. Math, I intended to say you should multiply by .021, not divide. The tax on 700,000 assessment would then be approximately $14,700. Thanks for catching it, else it would be cause for considerable panic.

  29. I think my house may possibly have sold for 584 a couple of years ago, but comps today can be had easily for less than 500.

  30. For those of you who’s taxes rise significantly, one of two things happened.
    1) Appraisal Systems totally screwed up
    2) You have been getting a free ride since the last appraisal.
    I have not read any indications that appraisal systems has made massive errors, so I would suspect that you would fall under category 2 above.
    I think the appraisal is a good thing since it balances out 20 years of events that have thrown tax equality out of kilter. Half of the town won tax appeals when the market turned down in the early/mid 90’s, and half continued to pay at a higher rate. If you made taxable home improvements without a permit, you are also underpaying.
    Anyway, the appraisal is a good thing, lets focus on getting the rate down.

  31. If you want to see what all the homes in Monclair are appraised for currently (not the new numbers), go to https://www.zillow.com/
    Quite interesting to see how you currently stack up against comparables and others in your neighborhood.

  32. Welcome to the ‘New’ Montclair envisioned by the ‘leadership’ slate.
    As long as the town council keeps spending money they don’t have, then expect more and more of the same.
    It’s a brilliant strategy for those who can afford to wait it out.
    It goes something like this…
    Leadership slate continues to spend like a kid in a candy store (with mom’s credit card in hand). Taxes continue to increase at 13% a year (at least mine does). Middle class and South end resident’s forced to move resulting in school test score improvement. Fancier eateries and shopping options grow to cater to ‘new’ residents who can afford such frivalty (Crisco dwellers?). Property values increase as a result of the creation of the Princeton of the north.
    Is it a suprise that variances are given to developers who cater to the wealthy or tax abatements for Volvo dealers?
    Does doubling the cost of parking permits at the rail stations (which is anti-environment) yet reducing the increase at local merchants play into this strategy?
    Wayfinding signs, fancy gazebos and new logos are all part of the plan. They must lure in the buyers to purchase the real estate from the those who can no longer afford to live here.
    Belgian block curbs and brick crosswalks?
    Need I say more?
    Wake up people and smell the wonderful stench of the new sewer tax.
    I guess Mattox was just getting in their way.

  33. Ha, Ha, that’s what you get for the Montclair ambience.
    I live nearby with great schools, etc. and my taxes are less.

  34. Well, unlike most of my peers (and mayors), I’ve been saving instead of spending. So far, it appears my family can afford to stay and will reap the benefits of the continued tax increases. I own/rent a 2-family that makes it possible for me to stay.
    I too, look forward to the revaluation since it seems every home around home has made drastic improvements since the last one. Either they did the work without permits (unlikely IMO) or that wonderful building on Claremont Ave failed to make the property tax adjustments (which is the case with my next door neighbor). Last year, they experienced a $3,000 tax increase from out of nowhere, so I guess the montclair accountants finally did some accounting.
    The ‘real’ problem here is that we all paid for Montclair’s irresponsibility for not collecting these taxes? Perhaps not just the sanitation crew works a 20-hour week? At the end of the day, do they get to take the truck home too?

  35. Mean landlord, I do sympathize with your plight but that is the cost of owning. You all thought you could make tons of money with the real estate boom and now that your houses are worth more you don’t want to pay the piper. Stay in stocks, historically outperformed real estate.

  36. Unfortunately the town council let the nice houses in nice areas become overpriced by not doing this property reval sooner.
    I believe the town was supposed to do the reval in 1999. They are only doing it now because the county demanded it. Historically in New Jersey, the sitting elected officials usually get thrown out of office after a reval. I guess that’s why they dragged thier feet.
    And, that’s why overpriced houses will now be paying inflated taxes.
    A $850,000 house looks pretty good at $8,000 in taxes (I know of one on North Mountain). I’m sure they wouldn’t have paid that price with $20,000 taxes.
    They can thank their town council for letting it get that out-of-wack.
    And, I would guess our county portion will go up because they let it get that out-of-wack.

  37. montclairrentersrule – I haven’t made a killing on my home. My husband and I bought in 2004 and paid a pretty penny. With the current decline in prices, I’d say my home is worth about what I paid for it.
    We actually were renters in our home and bought the place once the landlord passed away. Buying a 2 family was the only way we could afford to own anything in Montclair.
    Our landlord was always generous to us when it came to what we paid in rent and we have tried to pay that forward by helping our own tenants.
    Our home is very modest and has almost no updates. A big tax hike will probably chase our tenants out of town, because we’d have no choice but to pass along that increase (or at least a very healthy share of it)to them.

  38. An $850K house was only being charged $8K in taxes? That’s hard to believe. That’s about how much we pay, and our house is only worth about $400. That

  39. When I do the math (.210) for the assessment I received in the mail last week, I get an 18 percent rise in my taxes, which, as painful as it is, is about what I expected for being in this popular part of town.
    Of course, I’ll only admit that under cover of anonymity.

  40. The marsupial is obviously referring to a somewhat swampy neighborhood, ringed by the eucalyptus trees and rotting, insect-filled logs from which he derives sustenance. So where is Montclair’s equivalent to the outback?

  41. I think Barista needs a tax assessment map, where we can all see what percentages peoples assessments are going up in each area of town.

  42. Does anyone’s taxes go DOWN when they use the .0210 figure? With all these people who expect big bumps, some must surely come down, no?

  43. Some will go up, some will go down, some will stay relatively flat. The guys who live in multi $million who have “only” been taxed at around $15-20K a year are going to have the biggest increase. There are some folks likewise who have been overtaxed for years who will see a slightly smaller bill. My guess is that even though we’re all shocked at how much our properties are supposed to be worth, most of us will stay relatively flat to the ’06 tax amount. Remember this isn’t a winfall to the town now that properties are valued at 3X what they were before – their budget is still their budget – we all need to make sure they don’t assume that we can afford unlimited spending.
    If only one good thing comes of this reval, maybe it’ll be that everyone gets active & goes to Board of Ed meeting & Council meetings & shouts at the top of their lungs, “ENOUGH”

  44. By the way….where is Right of Center these days? Did he get taken down in a sex scandal & I missed the news?????

  45. Look, the dollar is falling, you’re income growth is flat, and the cost of doing business is increasing. Don’t be surprised that taxes are rising. If your want taxes to stay flat, you have to expect a drop in services IE. roads, education, fire, police, safety, water and public services, etc…
    There are strategies to head off some of this stuff.

  46. Ah, I hear above the revolutionary rustlings of none other than laserboy, seemingly about to cast himself in the role of a modern-day version of Wat Tyler.
    Strategies, mikey? Since when have you offered any such thing to the world?

  47. You’re kidding me. You make as a point of reference a 14th century historical figure Wat Tyler. Dennis Miller would be proud. Do me a favor and go knit me a hair shirt.

  48. I thought Walleroo lived in Glen Ridge. Didn’t earlier posts imply that? Or maybe i’m confusing him with some other critter.
    My taxes go up about 11% given the 2.10 rate. For my bill to stay flat w/ the new valuation, the rate would have to be 1.90, so I’m hoping Byron’s guesstimate was high.
    BTW, I thought the value they placed on my house was pretty accurate, though i have some neighbors who i think were over-valued, and other who were under-valued.

  49. ” If your want taxes to stay flat, you have to expect a drop in services IE. roads, education, fire, police, safety, water and public services, etc…”
    and moving ball fields, wayfinding signs, belgiun block, twice a week garbage pickup, renewal of the setout setback garbage service, no-bid contracts for the MEDC, 5% raises for the BOE folks who already make over $120,000, new fully loaded but unmarked township vehicles, the bottomless gas fillup for township employees, parking decks, tax abatements for developers…
    can you add to the list?

  50. Hey, if you can find budget items that you want to cut and you petition for them to get knocked down, more power to you. Democracy in action. Run for office.

  51. Any tenant who feels taxes are a good thing should own property with tenants and see it isn’t all glory and profits.
    Every repair, or newly introduce sewer bill which isn’t directly pass down to new rent is a tax. Note – in the past year every home has been hit by sewer bill so if your landlord passes the charge onto you you would have at minimum a $20-40 p/mo increase and that is only for the new sewer bill.
    More folks need to attend town meetings and advise officials they will NOT have a job.

  52. Tenants pay for property tax increase every year. Their rents are increased to cover it which is stipulated in the lease.

  53. My house is worth about 800k (my estimation as well as ASI’s) and for the last several years my taxes have been more than 20k. Ok, so not appealing was my fault but if the new rate is .021, my taxes would go down to about $16,800. Then life would be good.

  54. My house is worth about 800k (my estimation as well as ASI’s) and for the last several years my taxes have been more than 20k. Ok, so not appealing was my fault but if the new rate is .021, my taxes would go down to about $16,800. Then life would be good.

  55. Dear SilentMinority –
    You actually belong to a very large minority of homeowners who have been paying more than 20k taxes on assessments that were reasonably close to market value.
    The reassessment should lighten the burden of this minority.
    Don’t blame yourself for not appealing your assessment years ago. To succeed you would have needed to prove that comparable houses were being sold for less than your assessed value -not very likely that you could prove that.
    One of the oddities of our real estate tax system is that you cannot get your assessment reduced because your neighbors are under assessed. If the under assessment is wide spread and you are being singled out with a high assessment there is a basis for appeal but the proof required is difficult and expensive and the chances of success are not very good.
    Reassessment is going to be your financial salvation – so invite me to your celebration party.

  56. Thanks Byron. Assuming I get my much needed tax reprieve, it’ll be a heck of a shindig.
    Can the silence on this board mean I’m the only one whose taxes will go down with the new assessed value?

  57. Would that hair shirt be meant for coverage of your pate, mikey? In order to muffle the rattling inside?
    Wat Tyler is of the ages, mikey, because he is a Shakespearean character. Have you heard of Shakespeare? His ‘Romeo & Juliet’ was liberally borrowed from for “West Side Story.” They teach Shakespeare in some schools. Did you go to that kind of school, laserlad? Were you that lucky?

  58. My assessment came in right about the level I bought the house for in 2004.
    18k has been a big burden and I was hoping for a decrease but with the .021 level it keeps me right here.
    All of my neighbors pay 10k or less in taxes and have bigger houses…they are in for a rude shock.
    I was hoping that the spirit of equanimity would prevail and my taxes would come down while those paying an unreasonably low level would come up but it seems like everyone is just going up…
    At 15+ thousand for most homes over 750k this is going to put a HUGE damper on people buying our homes if we want to sell -this will be the killer…the bouyancy our home prices have had from those not able to affore Rye, NY and Greenwich, CT will disappear…..

  59. have just returned from my “informal revaluation hearing” at the library with asi. you are taken thru the info on file for your house – the number of bathrooms, condition etc as well as the square footage. we discovered several significant errors in the calculation of our livable square footage (25 percent over) and finished basement space. the pleasant young man filled out some papework and said “they” would look at it at the end of the month. we were given a letter with an address to mail the supporting documents.
    on the second floor of the library is the tax map, showing the neighborhoods used for comps, as well as large poster displays of house sales used as comps – interesting browsing and worth stopping by for even if you don’t have an appointment.
    for what its worth, using the current new assessment and guessing a .21 rate my taxes are unchanged — time will tell if the square footage gets corrected and what the impact is.
    the young man also mentioned that in a week or two asi planned to post the new assessments on the web — neighbor “comps”….

  60. If a basic, nice but not huge home on a middle or upper Montclair side street is now worth in the vicinity of 700-750k–that’s about $15k annual taxes, going by Martin’s 2.10 guesstimate at the tax rate. This is craziness! This is going to hurt so many working families who bought before the run up in prices and can barely make their bills right now, let alone with a several thousand $$ increase in taxes. The town must CUT THAT TAX RATE below 2.10! Is it a fantasy to think that’s possible? Something must be done–complete moratorium on new spending, privatize sanitation, I don’t know, but this is awful.

  61. I have to admit that I’m flummoxed by Martin Schwartz’ math. If the mil rate for 45% valuations is $5.36, why would the rate for 100% valuations be $2.10? I’ve tried to work through it, but no luck. What am I missing?

  62. “Hey, if you can find budget items that you want to cut and you petition for them to get knocked down, more power to you. Democracy in action. Run for office.”
    You simply HAVE TO go to one of these council meetings and watch this council in action! They spend money like it was growing in some hydroponic facility underneath 205 Clarement!
    Someone wants $40K for some off the wall project? No problem! $100K for something else? No problem! Where I come from you had something called a BUDGET. When I was responsible for a P&L operation EVERYTHING I spent had to be accounted for in a budget! Training for my people? Well, is training in the budget? And once the budget amount was spent, it was gone!
    In Montclair, if a project is budgeted at $2MM, like the firehouse, no matter if it comes in at $5MM, $7MM, or WHATEVER!
    No one is Montclair ever says STOP!
    Was money for the Wayfinding project ever budgeted? No, the concept just came up and it was approved. It took a lawsuit to derail it!
    It’s not a matter of cutting things from our budget. It’s a matter of living within the budget! When the money’s spent it’s gone folks!
    Montclair: Just stop spending money!

  63. My house was “generously” assessed at 700,000 and tax last year was $30,000 – ouch. I expect the new assessment will be about 1 million and my tax should go down to about $22,000. If so, I will help Silentmajority finance his tax relief party. P.S. I don’t expect Corzine to provide any tax relief for the average Montclair taxpayers who helped put him in office.

  64. Wow…tax relief for Upper Mountain Avenue while average Joe pays more. Who is doing this reval – the Bush administration?

  65. Have you gotten your letters yet? Wanna know what your neigbors assessments are? Check out:
    https://asinj.com/montclair.htm
    Info up only for neighborhoods where letters are sent. It looks to me like they transposed 2 columns – the 2006 Tax List looks like the new valuation and the 2007 Revaluation looks like the 2006 assessment numbers.
    Have you been screwed royally? Do tell!

  66. Have you gotten your letters yet? Wanna know what your neigbors assessments are? Check out:
    https://asinj.com/montclair.htm
    Info up only for neighborhoods where letters are sent. It looks to me like they transposed 2 columns – the 2006 Tax List looks like the new valuation and the 2007 Revaluation looks like the 2006 assessment numbers.
    Have you been screwed royally? Do tell!

  67. “I pay $11k on a house that is only worth $500. Bring on my new appraisal!”
    Just because you said its worth that doesnt mean it is. My house was just appraised for $569k. Curiously, no comparable house in my neighborhood sold for more than $525, even in the height of the housing boom two years ago. Where did they get this number?

  68. Have you gotten your letters yet? Wanna know what your neigbors assessments are? Check out:
    https://asinj.com/montclair.htm
    Info up only for neighborhoods where letters are sent. It looks to me like they transposed 2 columns – the 2006 Tax List looks like the new valuation and the 2007 Revaluation looks like the 2006 assessment numbers.
    Have you been screwed royally? Do tell!

  69. I just received my letter and was a bit surprised by how spot on the appraisal was… My wife and I closed on our house on 8/28 and were revalued a month later. The appraisal value was within $1,000 of the original listing price of the home (though a bit less than we paid).
    If I apply the .021 figure, my taxes will drop from close to $12k to about $11.5k.
    Personally, I think it is perfectly appropriate for all townshippers to pay an equal percentage of their home’s current worth. The system pre-reval punished homeowners in properties that have turned over (translation, young couples)…
    …and for all of those Chicken Littles bellyaching about the declining ability to resell homes in our town, look east young men/women! About 15 miles east of us is this little city called “New York” where $600k gets you a 700 sf one bedroom. $600k in Montclair gets you a 2,000 sf center hall colonial on a pretty street with friendly neighbors and a wonderful community.
    I’ll keep watching the skies but it doesn’t seem like the sky is falling yet.

  70. You can apply the .021 number but it’s just a guess.
    Since the Town Council refuses to reign in spending you may be in for a nasty nasty surprise.

  71. Looking through the numbers it seems like on average the new assessments are about 2 1/2 times what the old ones are. If yours has gone up more than that, I would image you’re looking at a tax hike.
    I’ve seen some on the list that are 3-4 times what the old values are….yikes!

  72. MikeG,
    You shouldn’t be surprised that your assessment came out close to what you very recently paid for your house. One of the things the assessesors consider is recent sales, and in your case they had a recent sale right on target.

  73. Hiding,
    Unless you itemize, organize, propose, and/or run for office you are just ranting. Its easy to rant. Work on the perceived problem is hard. I suggest you go on and do it. If you see a project that looks stupid make an honest protest about it.
    And do us a favor and choose an identity. Responding to “Hiding” is like a responding to no one.

  74. Lasermike,
    I protest!
    “Responding to “Hiding” is like a responding to no one.”
    NO it’s like responding to a large group of people. We post here more than anyone else does and that should earn us some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
    Even from the likes of you.
    is it true that you are really the marsupial in disguise?

  75. Found something on which I can agree with lasermike.
    People who post as “hiding” without taking the time to at least adopt an anonymous psuedonym are lacking consideration for facilitating the conversation on this site.

  76. I choose my name as Hiding IN Baristaville.
    I will type it in from now on.
    Hope this makes the two of you feel better.

  77. I will join you my brothers/sisters and will from now on sign in as Hiding in baristaville.
    You naysayers should stop criticising our POD!

  78. “Hiding,
    Unless you itemize, organize, propose, and/or run for office you are just ranting. Its easy to rant. Work on the perceived problem is hard. I suggest you go on and do it. If you see a project that looks stupid make an honest protest about it.
    And do us a favor and choose an identity. Responding to “Hiding” is like a responding to no one”
    OK. No problem!
    Oh, and by the way? I’m doing the things you suggest, but for the most part it’s like “beating one’s head against the wall.” Progress is agonizingly slow!

  79. BEATING ONES HEAD IS counterproductive.
    Showing lasermikey what you have is counterproductive.
    Going to town meetings is counterproductive.
    FILING A LAWSUIT WITH OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS – now, that gets the attention of the Town Council and Town Manager who now have four, count ’em, 4–attorneys on the town payroll.
    I say give them what they want- LAWSUITS FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!

  80. But ranting, thats what we need.
    This kind of pro-wrestling fox new vitriol will get us no where. Calm logical and reasonable consideration can get us a long way.
    Don’t foam at the month. Take a deep breath. I feel better now.

  81. but you said above:
    “Its easy to rant. Work on the perceived problem is hard. ”
    are you talking out of both sides of your mouth- or do you say ione thing and the marsupial says something else?
    what does “Don’t foam at the month” mean.
    Are you targeting women?

  82. Mouth.
    My dyslexia is on high today. My motivation to correct my errors is low.
    Hiding,
    What wing of the conservative moment do you come from?

  83. >>>https://asinj.com/montclair.htm
    Thanks for posting that! Seems the norm in my neighborhood that homes tripled or quadrupled in their assessments. If that 2.10 figure is accurate, there’s gonna be some pissed off folks out there. By my quess, the average increase would be 4-5k.
    >>>…and for all of those Chicken Littles bellyaching about the declining ability to resell homes in our town, look east young men/women! About 15 miles east of us is this little city called “New York” where $600k gets you a 700 sf one bedroom.
    But that’s the city with all its advantages. This is bourgois suburban hell. But you’re right — for $700k here you get a 3 bedroom loft in fabulous WooHoo.

  84. Lasermike – is this what you are looking for?:
    https://asinj.com/montclair.htm
    Info up only for neighborhoods where letters are sent. It looks to me like they transposed 2 columns – the 2006 Tax List looks like the new valuation and the 2007 Revaluation looks like the 2006 assessment numbers.

  85. What I was looking for are those budget line items that some consider waste. Efficiency should be a balanced goal of civil government in this time of diminishing resources.

  86. you mean like moving the ballfield 17 feet for $750,000.oo?
    or buying new fully loaded SUV’s so that the CFO can drive an unmarked one around and have the town pay for insurance and gas?
    or not insuring the trains station so that we now have to pay for the rebuild.
    Did we ever ever ever get an answer to the questions- are other properties owned or leased by the town of Montclair covered by REPLACEMENT insurance????

  87. Perhaps someone could research the new assessments on the homes of our mayor and council to see if they go up as much as for the rest of us.

  88. Without naming anyone, I can say that my appraisal took 5 minutes. My councilperson neighbor’s took close to an hour.

  89. NOT Hiding,
    You have to get your hands on the budget, identify those expenditures, and publish what you find. Then you have to be there when next years budget is being constructed. These towns are small and you can sway decisions or the next election. Get personally involved in the next election. Find the person you like and back the candidate with funds and volunteer your time.
    If you get a bloc of people together, you can make change.

  90. Dear Mikey,
    I don’t HAVE to do anything!
    I have already offered to volunteer my time to TED MATTOX.
    Now what is it that YOU are doing?

  91. lasermike026,
    Want to run with me in 2008? You sound like you’ve some good ideas!
    As to the budget, it’s been made much more confusing. The detail is now gone. So is the Joint Capital Improvement Advisory Council that used to look at the capital budgets of the entire town.
    One has to be a detective. Attend the Council meetings and when something goes by at 40,000 miles per hour you have to say “Wait a minute! What was that $40,000 for?”
    And you have to read the public notices section of the Montclair Times.
    Speaking of which, did anyone see the auditors report from a week ago? It was in the tiny print in Public Notices at the back of the Montclair Times. It points out some areas that could be improved …. (paranoia alert!!) hmmmm I wonder what that’s all about?
    Bottom line, is the email on your post a “real” email? If so, we’ll contact you and put you on our slate!

  92. Laserboy on the ballot? Oh but this is getting good. Thank goodness, too, there’s no longer a literacy test for candidates. Mikey in 2007!

  93. When was there a literacy test for canididates?
    I though that there was only a literacy test to keep our black brothers and sisters from voting.

  94. Seems to me that in the “old days” people who ran for office were accomplished business people, i.e. the President of a local bank, etc, and they ran their office with intelligence, grace, and pride.
    I think we need smart people to run for office. People who can think, people who will ask difficult questions.
    We also need people who will do the work that is necessary, i.e. read the bills, understand the issues and talk to people. If you’re too busy, don’t run.

  95. From the Montclair website:
    Montclair’s Form of Government
    Montclair Township operates under the Optional Municipal Charter Law (OMCL) popularly known as the Faulkner Act. This law is commonly called the Faulkner Act in honor of the late Bayard H. Faulkner, former Mayor of Montclair and Chair of the State Commission on Municipal Government.
    The Commission was charged with the duty of “inquiring into the structures of local government and suggesting ways laws might be changed to provide the fullest opportunity for local self-government consistent with the interest of the State as a whole.”
    The OMCL provides for several forms of government. In 1980 the Township voted to adopt the “council-manager” plan. In the council-manager plan there is only one directly elected power center: the council. The manager, while chief executive and administrative officer of the municipality, is appointed by the council and can be suspended and removed by a majority vote of the council. The manager’s function is to carry out the will of the council.
    The council members in the council-manager plan serve a four-year term. In Montclair, council members serve concurrent terms and all terms expire at the same time (except for vacancies). The power and function of the council in the council-manager plan is short and to the point: All powers of the municipality and the determination of all matters of policy shall be vested in the municipal council, except as otherwise provided by this act, or by general law. The council-manager plan is a legislative supremacy, and thus the setting of policy is the responsibility of the council alone.
    The mayor in the Council-Manager Plan is a member of the council. As stated earlier, there are two options for electing the mayor under the council-manager plan: by the council or by the voters. In Montclair the mayor is elected by the voters and serves a four-year term.
    But regardless of how the mayor is chosen under the council-manager plan, his/her duties are exactly the same: he/she presides over the council and, as a member, has a voice and vote in its proceedings. Aside from the power to appoint the trustees of the public library, and the members of the board of education in council-manager communities which have appointed boards, the mayor in the council-manager plan has no executive powers; he is simply the primus inter pares, the first among equals on the council.
    The Manager in the Council-Manager Plan
    The manager serves an indefinite term, and can be suspended and removed by a majority vote of the council, provided that the correct procedures are followed. The manager has the following functions:
    I. Executive functions of the manager:
    A. He is the chief executive and administrative official of the municipality
    B. Appoints and removes all department heads and all other officers and employees
    1. Except for the:
    municipal clerk
    tax assessor
    township attorney
    judge
    The council makes these appointments
    2. The council has the option to appoint the:
    municipal attorney
    planning board
    zoning board of adjustment
    C. Investigate any officer or department of the municipality
    II. Policy-making functions of the manager
    A. Attend all meetings of the council with the right to take part in discussion, but without the right to vote
    B. Recommend necessary or expedient measures to the council
    III. Contractual functions of the manager
    A. Negotiates contracts for the municipality, subject to council approval
    B. Sees that all contract and franchise terms are kept and performed
    IV. Fiscal functions of the manager
    A. Prepares the municipal budget
    B. Advises the council as to the financial condition of the municipality
    V. Ministerial functions of the manager
    A. Makes an annual report to the Council

  96. Actually, Byron, I’d much prefer to be a “certified arborist.” That way, too, I’d always at least have a hand saw nearby with which to defend myself against the lasermayor.

  97. I emailed Mayor Remsen about whether or not non residents can run in Montclair mayoral election and the answer is no. Non residents can not run in the Montclair mayoral election.
    I would like to thank Mayor Remsen for his quick response.

  98. Some observations based on looking at the assessments at:
    https://asinj.com/montclair.htm
    (neighborhoods 15-19, which includes areas around brookdale park and the heart of residential upper montclair)
    Assessments are listed for over 2200 houses. Comments below are based on an imperfect scan of the data which lost about 100-150 of the houses.
    The average assessment for this group increased by a factor of 2.69. If these houses are representative (no reason to think they are because there are significant differences between averages by neighborhood) the new tax rate would be about 2.0% of assessed value (based on a current tax rate of 5.36% of prior assessed value).
    Officials have commented that taxes would increase for approximately 1/3 of houses, 1/3 would be lower and 1/3 about the same, but, based on a 2.0% rate, only about 16% would change by 2.5% or less.
    Also notable is a general trend that low previous assessed values have higher percentage increases (eg houses with old assessed values below $200k have average increases of 2.85 times)

  99. “I emailed Mayor Remsen about whether or not non residents can run in Montclair mayoral election and the answer is no. Non residents can not run in the Montclair mayoral election.
    I would like to thank Mayor Remsen for his quick response.
    Posted by: lasermike026 | December 28, 2006 7:54 PM ”
    That’s funny – latebloomer reported e-mailing Hartnett with specific questions multiple timnes and was never answered and she LIVES IN MONTCLAIR.
    Ahh, new policy – only answer out of towners.

  100. Hiding in Baristaville-
    You have to assume that each section represented will be a representative sample. We have reviewed data and some properties’ taxes will seemingly go down (on Glenwood Rd and Montclair Ave) while others will go up on Inwood. Of course there are unknown variables but you could do analysis on provided information.

  101. Everyone Who is Posting:
    Keep up the good work and let’s keep this spot as “the” blog to update each other on the reval. It will be over the next month, just keep it going…

  102. Thank you “Tax data” for taking the trouble to scan into your computer the available data and providing your excellent analysis.
    Question: is that any significant common factor for the 100-150 homes not picked up in the scan?
    Question 2: doesn’t your conclusion that “based on a 2.0% rate, only about 16% would change by 2.5% or less” suggest that our guesstimate of a $2 tax rate is too high and that a $1.90 tax rate might produce the same total tax as the current $5.36 tax rate?

  103. Thank you “Tax data” for taking the trouble to scan into your computer the available data and providing your excellent analysis.
    Question: is there any significant common factor for the 100-150 homes not picked up in the scan?
    Question 2: doesn’t your conclusion that “based on a 2.0% rate, only about 16% would change by 2.5% or less” suggest that our guesstimate of a $2 tax rate is too high and that a $1.90 tax rate might produce the same total tax as the current $5.36 tax rate?

  104. That mikey took someone’s “suggestion” seriously and he subsequently emailed Ed Remsen indicates, at least to me, that the sky is indeed falling.

  105. CRIKEY maytes! it’s only taxes what’s the scoop and poop on the animal shelter in bloomfield? livin things are at stake there maytes! THAT’S what’s important!

  106. The topic of this thread is whether we will have enough left to be able to feed all the living “things” we are responsible for.

  107. I don’t think there was any common economic factor of the lost 100-150 houses – they included the top line of each page and then some random lines on several pages that didn’t scan properly.
    The $2 (actually 1.994) was the number that equalized the total tax of the data that did scan (2154 houses). That is, 1.994% equals the sum of all the old assessed values * 5.36% / the sum of all new assessed houses.
    There are several reasons why the $2 might not be an accurate estimate of the ultimate tax rate (beyond the lost data):
    -The average change varies by neighborhood and there are still a lot of neighborhoods that haven’t been posted
    -The $5.36 is the rate for the current tax year, the new rate will have another year of increases
    To give a sense of the variation by neighborhood: neighborhood 17’s assessed values are 2.36 times the old values while 19’s are 2.75 times the old values.
    19’s rate, if used for the entire town, (which is obviously not correct, but just as a hypothetical) would suggest an equalized tax rate of $1.95. So to get the overall tax rate down to $1.90, the rest of the town’s average ratio of new/old assessed value would have to exceed 2.75

  108. I am trying to be optimistic, Tax data, based on my belief that some of the other neighborhoods will have a greater number of properties with new assessments that are 3 to 4 times the old assessments.

  109. Byron,
    by trying to optimistic you are fooling yourself. Think worst possible case and you’ll feel better when it doesn’t happen.

  110. “is it true that you [lasermike] are really the marsupial in disguise?”
    How in God’s name can you confuse the two of us? Jesus Mary and Joseph.

  111. Byron-I just received my appraisal at 2x our old assessment. While all the numbers aren’t in yet, it is likely that the 2.75x will be on the upper end of increases and not 3x or 4x.

  112. let me get this straight….we won’t know what our new tax bill will be until we know what the new rate is, correct? whether it is $2.10/$2.50/$3.00 or whatever…so when I receive the assessement, it means almost nothing til I know the rate. Right?

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