Compliance Plan Now Can Save Money Later: Tax Assessor

Plan will allow reassessment of up to 50 percent of properties.

In an attempt to save the township the cost of future tax reevaluations and benefit from a stabilized tax base, Jefferson Township has undertaken a tax assessment compliance plan for the 2012 tax year, according to tax assessor Shawn Hopkins.

“The compliance plan allows us to reassess up to 50 percent of the properties in the municipality,” Hopkins said. “It will only change part of the town’s assessments, to neighborhoods that are showing up as too low or too high based on uniformity statistics given to us by the state.”

According to that data, Hopkins said, there was only evidence that 43 percent of the township properties were overassessed. The other 57 percent showed no indication that they deserved a reduction.

“We look at other dimensions besides just the neighborhoods,” Hopkins said. “For example, is there new building or transportation nearby? If a neighborhood doesn’t have any sales, residents shouldn’t be denied a possible tax reduction just because of that.”

The township will continue to work on compliance plans in 2012 and 2013, with the goal of inspecting 50 percent of the township’s properties by the end of 2013, and an aim toward getting the state Division of Taxation to approve a full reassessment, Hopkins said, also avoiding a reevaluation.

“Reassessments are done more frequently than reevaluations,” Hopkins said. “In a reassessment, I can change assessment structure without having to reassess every property. In 2010 I was able to reassess and all taxes went down because the real estate market went down. We changed everyone’s assessment from 2005 (the last time a full reevaluation was done) to 2009. I was able to make those changes in 2010.”

Reevaluations are expensive, Hopkins said.

“Our contract with the reevaluation company in 2005 was $600,000, plus somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000 to get the tax maps approved,” he said.



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