ORANGE, NJ — While 2022 may still seem a ways away, Orange is currently getting its ducks in a row for 2022 taxes by engaging in a revaluation, its first since 2014. Every several years, municipalities undergo a revaluation process to reappraise properties at fair market value, thereby spreading the tax burden more equitably across the municipality.
It is natural for property values to change, often as a result of the general real estate market. A property’s value can increase due to add-ons, such as a garage, pool or bedroom, while a property’s value can decrease due to depreciation from poor maintenance or damage.
According to Orange Business Administrator Christopher Hartwyk, Orange property is currently assessed at 91.49 percent of market value for 2021.
“The Assessment-Sales Ratio Program is based on a comparison of the sales prices with the taxable assessed values of real properties which have sold and for which deeds have been recorded,” Hartwyk told the Record-Transcript on July 19. “It is assumed that values on the sold properties are representative of the assessment practice in the taxing district. For example, if the assessed values of properties sold average 90 percent of the sales prices, it is assumed that all similar properties in the taxing district are being assessed at an average of 90 percent of their true value.”
According to Hartwyk, Orange determined this number by having its assessor work with the Essex County Board of Taxation to gather sales information, which was then sent to the New Jersey Division of Taxation. The sales information was gathered from the past fiscal year, based on deed recording dates. From this information, the Division of Taxation was able to determine a ratio of assessed value to true value — in Orange’s case, 91.49 percent.
While the revaluation process will result in a change in individual assessed value for nearly every property in the city, it does not mean that individual property taxes will increase for all properties. The tax rate will be adjusted to compensate for the change in assessed values. Therefore, since not all properties have appreciated — or depreciated — in value at the same rate, some tax levies will increase, some may remain unchanged, and some may even decrease.
Orange has entered into an agreement with Professional Property Appraisers Inc. to perform the citywide revaluation. According to Resolution No. 265-2021, which was passed by the Orange City Council on May 18, the city will pay PPAI, located in Cinnaminson, $439,875 to complete the revaluation.
While, according to Hartwyk, this is Orange’s first time working with PPAI — in 2014, Tyler Technologies completed the city’s revaluation — the company has a long history of completing revaluations in the area, recently in North Caldwell, Springfield and Essex Fells. To contact PPAI, call 866-957-1388 or visit www.ppareval.com.
While some properties have already been assessed, the assessments continue. Each data collector should have a photo identification badge visibly displayed, showing the company’s name, Professional Property Appraisers, as well as the individual’s name. The inspector can provide a letter of introduction on municipal letterhead that contains a telephone number for questions or concerns. Residents should ask to see the credentials of anyone seeking to enter their home and should refuse to admit anyone who cannot produce this identification.
In order to ensure an accurate valuation, property owners should cooperate with appraisers, providing requested information about the property and allowing credentialed appraisers inside their home or office.
A notice of the new assessed values for each property will be mailed in the fall of 2021, but the impact of the new assessments will not affect the property owner’s tax bill until the 2022 tax year. The notice will also include information on how to arrange for a personal informal meeting with a PPAI representative to review the proposed assessment. Taxpayers attending the review should be prepared to support any disagreement regarding the appraised value of their property.
If the taxpayer is still not satisfied with the assessment following the information meeting, they have the right to file a formal appeal with the Essex County Board of Taxation on or before April 1 of that given year, with an extended deadline to May 1 for the first year after the revaluation.