Sometimes a municipality in New Jersey actually shows foresight and at the same time saves itself a lot of money.  Such is the case recently in Lower Township, Cape May County.

The township completed a full-blown revaluation in 2007, raising the total value of all properties from $1.5 billion to $4.73 billion.  While the new figure was more in line with reality, it came at the time when the real estate market was in a deadfall.  Property values were dropping about a half percent per month.

A petition signed by 1,500 property owners against the new valuations put the township on notice to expect plenty of costly tax appeals.  It would also cause an imbalance in values since those folks out of a total of 15,930 property owners in the town that didn’t bother to appeal would unfairly be picking up the new burden.

Township Tax Assessor Art Amonette undertook an in-house revaluation in 2009, which cost just $25,000 instead of the $1 million price tag associated with a full revaluation.  Smart thinking, big savings!

The completed revaluation shows that the value of the township did indeed decline, from the previous $4.73 billion down to $4.1 billion, a drop of about 15%.  About 15,500 properties had their values reduced, while another 400 saw increases.

The range of change had some properties dropping 30%, as opposed to a high of a 10% increase.  Anyone who’s value dropped more than 15% will see a lower tax bill.  A reduction of less than 15% will see the owner’s tax bill increase accordingly.

So once again, the playing field appears to be levelled for Lower Township property owners.  Town officials being proactive was a wise decision all around.

– Mountain Man and City Girl