Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and the members of the Monmouth County Tax Boards announced reforms to the controversial Assessment Demonstration Program yesterday. The changes are designed to address the volatility in property valuations that taxpayers have been experiencing during the early years of the pilot program’s implementation.
In addition to making appropriate adjustments to the program, O’Scanlon told MMM that he his hopeful that municipal officials will focus on the program itself, and not the controversy over the allegations of conflicts of interests among assessors, Tax Administrator Matthew Clark, and the vendors working the program, when deciding whether to continue their participation participation in 2017. The Tax Board announced last month that towns can opt out of the program for 2017 by April 29, 2016.
Tax Commissioners Cliff Moore, James Stuart and Kathy Cody Bjelka
The Monmouth County Tax Board acted on Monday to allow municipalities to opt out of the controversial pilot program, the Assessment Demonstration Program. The program has resulted in the volatility of property assessments and spurred a grand jury investigation into alleged conflicts of interest among key players in the County’s complex property tax system.
By an unanimous vote Monday afternoon, the Tax Board approved a resolution offered by Commissioner Clifford J. Moore III to immediately allow municipalities to opt out of the program for the 2017 tax year. Towns must notify the board that they are opting out by 11:59 p.m. on April 29, 2016.
TRENTON — Three New Jersey municipalities in Union, Hudson and Middlesex counties are under investigation by the state for stalling property reassessments for decades and could be forced to conduct revaluations. The investigation of Jersey City, Elizabeth and Dunellen is a shot across the bow to municipalities in the three counties the state says have neglected… Read the rest of this entry »
I know there is much speculation recently on the integrity of the Assessment Demonstration Project and I want everyone to know that we hear you and we will support your inquiries. Earlier this year, I along with my fellow members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders asked Matt Clark, Monmouth County’s Tax Administrator, to hold a meeting for all the municipalities to explain the details of the Assessment Demonstration Project. It was our understanding that attendees left feeling more comfortable with what they heard and understood the benefits of the program. As a result of the close working relationships we have throughout the County, numerous Mayors have contacted the Freeholders with concerns over the uncertainty of this program and the recent negative media coverage surrounding it. While we all did our best to alleviate those concerns, we also understand the difficult position it puts most of them in. After the events the past few weeks, without making judgements on the program, its administrator or county tax board members, we believe it may be best to put this program on hold until all questions are answered and the Mayors can explain the long term tax benefit to the residents of Monmouth County . It is our hope that the timeline of January 1 will remain intact while these issues are vetted, as it gives the municipalities the ability to budget for the following year’s tax appeals. It is our hope that you continue to stay informed and aware of the tax assessment program through your municipality or at the County level.
Mayoral and Council Candidates Pledge Solutions, Not Grand Standing
Ira Goldberg, Sui Allex and John Dwyer
Marlboro, NJ- Ira Goldberg, the Republican candidate for mayor in Marlboro Township issues his congratulations to Middletown Mayor Stephanie Murray and the Middletown’s Township Committee for taking decisive action to bring accountability and fairness to their Township’s Property Tax Assessments in the wake of the Asbury Park Press investigation that shed a scandalous light on the state-mandated Assessment Demonstration Program, the controversial new method of setting property values in Monmouth County.
“While Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik has been political grandstanding in the face of a scandal by calling for the ADP to be suspended without offering a replacement, my friends in Middletown have enacted a solution to inequitable tax assessments and put their own credibility on the line,” Goldberg said, “By firing Realty Data Systems, and bringing the home inspection and data collection functions in house, Middletown has offered a solution to the problem. That is leadership.”
Hornik Campaign: Republicans Don’t Know How Municipal Government Works, Blames Board Of Ed, John Dwyer For Tax Increases
Graphic via PositivelyMarlboro.com, the Marlboro Republican candidates’ website
Invoking Abraham Lincoln’s ‘You can fool all of the people’ quote and Congressman Frank Pallone’s promise of affordable healthcare, the Republican “PositivelyMarlboro” team of Ira Goldberg for Mayor and Council candidates John Dwyer and Sui Allex charged that their incumbent Democrat opponents, Mayor Jonathan Hornik and Councilwoman Randi Marder have been deceiving the public regarding their record of taxing and spending. The Republicans noted that Hornik’s own property tax assessment went down in 2015 and that Marder’s assessment is lower now than it was in 2011.
In a press release and postings on their website and on facebook on Friday, the Republicans said that Hornik and his “obedient” and rubber stamp” Township Council are employing election year budgetary gimmicks and deceitful campaign language in an attempt to convince voters that they’ve been fiscally responsible and that others—the Board of Education and the County Tax Board—are responsible for the growing tax burden.
The Republicans disputed Hornik’s recent claim that the new property tax assessment program has “effectively has eliminated the avenue to appeal a tax assessment.”
Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik and Councilwoman Randi Marder at a campaign event last month. photo via facebook
Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik called for the immediate suspension of the controversial tax assessment program, Assessment Demonstration Pilot Program(ADP), in a press release issued Tuesday evening.
Responding to an “investigate report” in the Asbury Park Pressthat alleges cronyism, nepotism and ethics violations on the part of Monmouth County Tax Administrator Matt Clark, former Tax Commissioner Daniel Kelly and the companies that won the contracts to provide the inspections and appraisals of all Monmouth County properties that are assessed through ADP, Hornik said, “I am heartened by the recent call by the Asbury Park Press for an investigation of the Monmouth County Tax Assessment Demonstration Pilot Program,” said Mayor Hornik. “I have been a vocal critic of this program since its inception, and I expressed, in no uncertain terms, that the program did not fairly and accurately reflect market value, that it inappropriately interfered with local tax assessors and that it had a disproportionate adverse effect on residential and senior citizen property taxpayers.”
Hornik joins Freeholder John Curley in calling for ADP to be suspended and investigated.
TRENTON — Minutes after being sworn in for his ninth term in January 2014, Assembly Majority Lou Greenwald pledged that the time had come for real property tax reform. “Let us join together. Let us do the unthinkable and prove the cynics wrong. Let us attack New Jersey’s property tax crisis once and for all,” Greenwald… Read the rest of this entry »
The Middletown Township Committee is slated to introduce their 2015 budget tonight with a spending decrease of $959,463. The total budget as introduced will be $69,437,466 compared to 2014 spending of $70,396,929.
Decreased non-tax revenues, including parking permits and court fees, of $2.8 million and increases in snow removal costs of $1.3 million and insurance costs of $600,000, were off set by savings from shared services agreements with other municipalities and the Middletown Board of Education, as well as utility cost savings for $223,000.
The tax levy on Township property owners will increase $428,484 to $46,964,220, not including the Township Library. With the library budget of $3,445,649, the overall tax levy increases by $486,502.
In New Jersey, school districts pay the salaries of their teachers, but it’s the state that picks up the costs of their retirements. Cities and towns, meanwhile, cover their employees’ salaries as well as their retirement costs. That split responsibility is at the heart of one of the core elements of the… Read the rest of this entry »