Quick Analysis: Tax Expense Change on the West Side, south of Lincoln Park

February 27, 2018.  Appraisal Systems released a new batch of assessments this morning and I was most curious about tax change in systemically over-taxed areas.  I was hoping streets in Country Village would be listed because, per estimates released by Jersey City in December 2017, Country Village is expected to see the largest dollar-for-dollar tax expense decreases when the 2018 property revaluation is completed.  Also, I recently gave a property tax workshop at Our Lady of Mercy Church, located in the Country Village area and I am hoping to follow-up with those attendees re: tax expense change. 

Country Village was NOT listed, but another systemically over-taxed area of the city - West Side south of Lincoln Park near Route 440, is included in the latest dataset.  So I've done a quick analysis of a few of those streets within the area of Clendenny Ave, Bennett Street, Mallory Ave, and Boyd Ave. The big picture: tax expense relief.  These few streets contain 162 homes which 142 will, in total, see $361,687 in combined property tax expense relief. The average tax expense change (across all 162 properties) $2,223 and the largest tax expense decrease is $6,229.  

If you're new to property tax analysis, I've provided some references to tax technical data (like importance of "Tax Block") as well as references to some visual aides, like this "Tax Map Viewer" (I found this online), which has Jersey City's official tax map digitized with various search features. 

Let's get look at the data and see what's changing. I welcome feedback, additional ideas on how this data can be broken out and analyzed, and of course if you notice anything that looks askance please let me know so I can fix!  All the data I'm using is available on Appraisal Systems Jersey City landing page here.

The Tax Map:

Understanding how Jersey City maps your home for tax purposes

Here is some fine print I want to point out before we look at the data below. Every property has its own tax record. Within that tax record are key unique data points for your property called:

  • Tax Block (think of this like a city block)
  • Tax Lot (think of this like the parcel of real estate your house is sitting on)
  • Tax Qual (this is an apartment or condo unit inside the building).

These key identifiers for your property are akin to a social security number (except, unlike a social security number, property tax data points are public, open data). 

Why tax block, lot and qual are important. The government needs its money - i.e. our property taxes - therefore it has to have an efficient means of collecting our taxes.  So while your street address matters, in that it's how you get your mail, deliveries from UPS and FedEx, and so on - what matters for property tax and revenue collection purposes is the tax block, lot, and qual.  

The government maps our city's real estate, using these key identifiers, into the "Tax Map". Every municipality has its own Tax Map which is a visual representation of tax records.   Jersey City's tax map was referenced in news reports when the current revaluation was first getting underway.

 

How I found over-taxed areas of Jersey City. 

Last fall I mapped recent sales, and included tax block and lots in my dataset, to get a sense of where the most over- and under-taxed properties in Jersey City were. Areas of the West Side included clearly over-taxed streets. So this morning I referenced my sales map to find a few over-taxed areas, took reference of the tax blocks, then searched for those tax blocks within Appraisal Systems' latest assessment dataset.  These are a few tax blocks I decided to analyze below:

  • Tax Block 19102
  • Tax Block 19103
  • Tax Block 19105
  • Tax Block 19106
  • Tax Block 19107

CivicParent 2017 Sales Map Showing Over-Taxed (Red) and Under-Taxed (Green) Properties

Where in Jersey City Tax Blocks 19102 thru 19107 are located

I've shown these tax blocks visualized below via Google Maps (on the left) and Jersey City's Tax Map (on the right) which you can view within the "Tax Map Viewer" site here

Tax Blocks Visible through Google Maps (click on image to go to zoomed-in CivicParent 2017 Sales Map)

Tax Blocks Visible through "Tax Map Viewer" (click to enlarge in new browser window)

Let's look at the impact of Revaluation for each of these Tax Blocks.

Tax Block 19102:

Includes: Clendenny Ave, Morton St, Williams Ave

Tax Block 19102 is bordered by Clendenny Ave on the north, Williams Ave on the south, Bennett St on the west, and Morton St on the East.  There are 22 properties on this tax block, all of which are class 2 single homes, i.e. no condo or rental units and here's the estimated change based on new assessments:

  • 21 out of 22 homes will see tax expense DECREASES based on the latest assessments. Only 1 home will see a tax expense increase.
  • The total estimated tax expense change is - $50,199.
  • The average estimated tax expense change is - $2,282.  
  • The maximum estimated tax expense decrease is - $3,987.

Tax Block 19103:

Includes: Clendenny Ave, Everett St, Morton St, Williams Ave

Tax Block 19103 is bordered by Clendenny Ave on the north, Williams Ave on the south, Morton St on the west, and Everett St on the East.  There are 19 properties on this tax block, all of which are class 2 single homes, i.e. no condo or rental units and here's the estimated change based on new assessments:

  • All 19 homes will see tax expense DECREASE based on the latest assessments. 
  • The total estimated tax expense change is - $41,810
  • The average estimated tax expense change is - $2,201  
  • The maximum estimated tax expense decrease is - $5,793

Tax Block 19105:

Includes: Clendenny Ave, Miller St, Williams Ave, Everett St

Tax Block 19105 is bordered by Clendenny Ave on the north, Williams Ave on the south, Everett St on the west, and Miller St on the east.  There are 27 properties on this tax block, all of which are class 2 single homes, i.e. no condo or rental units and here's the estimated change based on new assessments:

  • 23 homes will see tax expense DECREASE and 4 homes will see tax expense INCREASE based on the latest assessments. 
  • The total estimated tax expense change is - $60,468.
  • The average estimated tax expense change is - $2,240.
  • The maximum estimated tax expense decrease is - $6,229.

Tax Block 19106:

Includes: Clendenny Ave, Williams Ave, Mallory Ave, Miller St

Tax Block 19106 is bordered by Clendenny Ave on the north, Williams Ave on the south, Miller St on the west, and Mallory Ave on the east.  There are 23 properties on this tax block, all of which are class 2 single homes, i.e. no condo or rental units and here's the estimated change based on new assessments:

  • All 23 homes will see tax expense DECREASE based on the latest assessments. 
  • The total estimated tax expense change is - $52,504.
  • The average estimated tax expense change is - $2,283.
  • The maximum estimated tax expense decrease is - $6,047.

Tax Block 19107:

Includes: Williams Ave, Boyd Ave, Bennett St, Mallory Ave

Tax Block 19107 is bordered by Williams Ave on the north, Boyd Ave on the south, Bennett St on the west, and Mallory Ave on the east.  There are 71 properties on this tax block, all of which are class 2 single homes, i.e. no condo or rental units and here's the estimated change based on new assessments:

  • 63 homes will see tax expense DECREASE and 8 homes will see tax expense INCREASE based on the latest assessments. 
  • The total estimated tax expense change is - $156,706.
  • The average estimated tax expense change is - $2,207.
  • The maximum estimated tax expense decrease is - $5,394.

A few final notes:

  • Tax relief should NOT be construed as tax fairness.
  • It's imperative that homeowners understand their MARKET VALUE and then compare that to their new ASSESSED VALUE.
  • If your new assessed value is HIGHER THAN your market value, you are still over-assessed, which means you will still be over-taxed. I've got a tutorial about assessed vs. market value here and a tutorial about how to compute your FAIR tax expense here

Stay tuned!  I'll be writing more about the new assessments as they are released in the coming weeks. Also, as an aside. I've been asked this repeatedly so I'll share here: I do not understand why Appraisal Systems is releasing these new assessments on a rolling/staggered basis, other than for their own convenience to avoid high call volumes for appeals. It strikes me as increasingly unfair and unreasonable that some of the most systemically over-taxed areas of the city (e.g. Country Village, most of Greenville) are waiting weeks longer than some of the most systemically under-taxed areas of the city (e.g. Downtown) for their new assessments. 

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