I received my new tax postcard in the mail yesterday so I figured I’d share a breakdown of how to read it. This is very similar to the former tax post card, with some notable exceptions: You can now see your NEW tax assessed value. This is the value assigned to your property by Appraisal...Continue reading
Jersey City Public Schools: CivicParent Funding FAQs I have been trying to understand how Jersey City Public Schools are funded and am sharing questions I’ve endeavored to answer. As I learn, I’m sharing with the community in the hopes others will also learn and advocate. Where applicable I’ve provided citations and resources so that anyone...Continue reading
I've got another Revaluation update, this one focused on Neptune Avenue which is an East/West street that stretches pretty much across Jersey City's south Greenville neighborhood. Similar to other Greenville Revaluation-related updates, this is a story of systemic overtaxation that is being fixed with Revaluation. First, some high level details about the data. Appraisal Systems'...Continue reading
March 18 2018. Appraisal Systems released a new batch of assessments on March 16th - the same day Jersey City's public school teachers went on strike. So...this latest update wasn't covered in the news. It should be though; finally, Country Village homes are listed. Per estimates released by Jersey City in December 2017, Country Village...
If you are new to the topic of abatements, I recommend my tax abatement series here including my 2015 article,”Jersey City PILOTs Rob Funding from the School System.“ This post is a refinement of my previous “Mapping Jersey City Abatements By Project Type and Ward” post. I wanted to update the data, and the map, to show...Continue reading
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...
February 25, 2018. I got a question recently about the tax rate as it relates to property taxes. It prompted me to write about the tax rate in a bit more detail to explain how the tax rate is changing, why it's changing, and what to expect in the coming months as the Revaluation unfolds. ...
Updated: Feb 19, 2018. Appraisal Systems today published on its website an updated assessments file with about 1,950 new properties added (note: I won’t be updating this page with every single new release from Appraisal Systems…but I have a property tax workshop tonight at Our Lady of Mercy Church and I wanted to be equipped...Continue reading
Learn how to compute if your property tax expense will go up or down in a citywide revaluation. It’s helpful to have a calculator, pen, and paper on hand while watching this video.
Learn the basics about property revaluation in this 8-minute CivicParent tutorial:
This post is part of my effort to share information about Jersey City’s Property Revaluation. I wrote a Revaluation series last year which you can read here. In a citywide revaluation, your new assessment should equal your market value. When establishing market value of your home, one set of data that can be useful is...Continue reading
Figure out your ASSESSED value ASSESSED Value = Your home’s value according to the GOVERNMENT. Your assessed value is what the city thinks your property is worth for property taxation purposes. It is the basis on which your tax bill is computed each year: Your Annual Tax Expense = Assessed Value x Tax Rate Assessed...Continue reading
Jersey City property taxes, as seen through state compliance data: Jersey City’s last citywide revaluation was in 1988. Jersey City’s 2017 equalization ratio is 23.66%. Jersey City’s 2017 coefficient of deviation is 35.66%. On this map: Green = under-taxed | Red = over-taxed NJ property tax law is based on this foundational premise: assessed values are supposed...
WHO conducted Jersey City’s property revaluation? In 2016 Jersey City hired Appraisal Systems, Inc. for $4.4 million to conduct the revaluation. Here are some helpful links about the firm: ASI’s website page for Jersey City residents here. ASI’s generic powerpoint that explains the Revaluation process is here. This is an excellent overview of the general process....Continue reading
Jersey City Together Tax Appeal Workshop. In March 2017 I worked with a team of Jersey City Together leaders to provide a tax appeals workshop. We invited homeowners to meet with us to determine if their homes were over-assessed which, in turn, helped us determine if they were over-taxed. It was a cooperative civic action involving...Continue reading
I’m sharing a new map I created that pin-drops all abatements approved since Mayor Fulop and the current City Council took office*, i.e. since the summer of 2013. I created the map after reading Terrence McDonald‘s recent article from the Jersey Journal titled “Has Steve Fulop Evolved on Tax Abatements?” It’s a valid question and...Continue reading
I detailed in my last post how the JCPS budget is funded by a mix of state, local, and federal tax dollars. But how is that money then spent? That is the main focus of this post. Governor Christie approved a budget this week that included $8.5 million in state aid cuts to Jersey City Public Schools...Continue reading
I will be writing about this issue as it unfolds, it’s a big topic that taxpayers should understand. This is a quick primer on why the Sweeney-Prieto proposal to cut $8.5 million in state aid from Jersey City Public Schools would, to use Superintendent Dr. Lyles term, cause a “major hardship” for the district....Continue reading
I teamed up with Ellen Simon to co-author an op-ed in The Jersey Journal about how Jersey City’s PILOT policy harms our public schools. The article is dense with facts, figures, and assertions. To ensure our assertions are as accessible as possible to the public, I’ve created a landing page to help readers sort through the...Continue reading
I teamed up with Ellen Simon, a friend, fellow public school parent, and former board trustee of the Jersey City BOE, to co-author an op-ed in the Jersey Journal. The topic: how Jersey City’s PILOT policy “robs” funding from our public schools. The term “rob” is not ours…to find out who did coin the term, in context...Continue reading
Jersey City is undergoing a multi-month Revaluation process and appraisal firm ASI, Inc. is currently assessing all properties throughout the city. I wrote about the April 3rd Ward “A” revaluation presentation, hosted by ASI, Inc, and one promise from that meeting: that an interactive assessment map would be made available. Good news – that map is now available!...Continue reading
I attended the Ward “A” revaluation meeting on April 3rd and had a chance to listen to a representative from Appraisal Systems, Inc., the third-party appraisal firm hired by Jersey City to conduct the revaluation. Mark Duda presented; he is an ASI executive and the designated ASI “project manager” for Jersey City’s revaluation. ASI, Inc. is one of...Continue reading
Steven Fulop’s press person, Jennifer Morrill, made an egregious error on the record this month when she characterized tax appeals as not being based on sales prices. Tax appeals are, in fact, based explicitly on recent comparable sales prices. Ms. Morrill’s statement was in response to a story about a local resident, April Kuzas, who recently...Continue reading
If you are new to the topic of abatements, I recommend my tax abatement series here. I’ve updated my 2015 long-term abatement map to include 2016 data. The map is provided below, along with reports showing underlying data grouped by project type (affordable housing vs. market) and by ward. Source data was derived from the city’s user friendly...Continue reading
This is a guest post from Jersey City resident and mortgage industry professional Susan Kulakowski. Susan reached out to me after reading my last post, “Property Revaluation 501: Mapping & Color Coding Jersey City Home Sales by Assessment-Sales Ratio.” She analyzed the map’s underlying data and provided a ward-specific lens into the upcoming property revaluation. She offered...Continue reading
This post is part of an ongoing series about property revaluation in Jersey City. I partnered with CivicJC to create an interactive map to help residents visualize 2015 property sales in Jersey City and their corresponding taxes. Recent property sales are informing because they are used as a proxy for market value when establishing the city’s annual equalization ratio. Click here to...Continue reading
This is part of an ongoing series about property revaluation in Jersey City. Note: this post presumes an understanding of the equalization ratio, which I previously wrote about in “Property Revaluation 101: the Equalization Ratio.” With Jersey City officials recently announcing that they would finally move forward with a property revaluation, a common question has emerged: “is my home currently under-assessed,...Continue reading
This is part of an ongoing series about property revaluation in Jersey City. Please note, an update given new state tax data reported in 2017: the 2016 equalized tax rate is reported to be 1.86%. This is the best predictor of what the new tax rate will be, post-Revaluation. I’ve been asked by a few people: “How...Continue reading
This is part of an ongoing series about property revaluation in Jersey City. In my last post, I explained how Jersey City’s low equalization ratio was a cause for revaluation. The reason: when a city’s equalization ratio is low, its market values have grown out of sync with its assessed values, and that opens the door to potential tax...Continue reading
This the first post in a series about property revaluation in Jersey City. Jersey City has been growing at a breakneck speed for the past fifteen years. As a city grows, it is required to stop along the way and revalue its real estate. This process is termed “revaluation.” Revaluation is about ensuring that tax assessed values –...Continue reading
A strong public school system is essential bedrock to a healthy community. Yet in Jersey City, our bedrock is threatened by a fiscal policy that is over-reliant on PILOTs. Here’s the crux of the problem: PILOTs help grow the city, which in turn increases demand for public schools. But PILOTed residents don’t pay school tax, leaving taxpayers to bear the burden of...Continue reading
As I explained in my last post, transparency around abatements is finally, slowly, increasing. As data is unlocked, taxpayers can glean greater insight into how their tax dollars are spent. To help with this effort, I’ve mapped the 146 abatements from Jersey City’s 2015 “user friendly budget” into an easy-to-use Google map. Let’s Get Civic with...Continue reading
Tax abatement reporting in Jersey City is finally getting more transparent. Two distinct authoritative bodies have mandated changes that require Jersey City (and other cities) to get onboard the transparency train. This news should come as a relief to taxpayers since abatements now constitute over 20% of Jersey City’s annual revenue yet have been sharply criticized by the NJ Comptroller as being too opaque and...Continue reading
Jersey City has been estimating the cost of its abatements incorrectly for at least eight years, and the impact to conventional taxpayers could amount to millions of dollars. Here’s the problem: Jersey City has been under-counting the number of (a) residents and (b) public school students that will eventually live in each abated building. The City has been using...Continue reading
In my Abatement Series, I’ve discussed the basic premise of abatements, how they are funded, and the impact to conventional taxpayers. In this post I look at Mayor Fulop’s new tax abatement policy for Jersey City, which includes two notable components: Tiering System: A system of awarding abatements based on geographic location or project type1. Each “tier”...Continue reading
On Wednesday night, the City Council approved an 80-unit abatement in downtown Hamilton Park. Here are some of the specs on the property: located at 9th & Brunswick in downtown Hamilton Park a community the abatement will extend for 20 years contain 80 units, including 20 3-bedroom units and 35 2-bedroom units 1.88 kids from the building will attend the...Continue reading
In his 2010 report, “A Programmatic Examination of Tax Abatements,” NJ Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer highlighted numerous weaknesses with abatements. One issue he touched upon was transparency. He stated, “Information concerning abatement[s]…is not published in a transparent manner or centralized location, making it difficult to impossible for the public to compare, calculate the effect of,...Continue reading
This is article #3 in my series about abatements. Article #1 is “Tax Abatements 101: The Basics” and Article #2 is “Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers.” In my previous post, “Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers”, I focused on the orange slice of the pie pieces below. In this post I...
This is Article #2 in my series about abatements, which focuses on the impact abatements have on conventional taxpayers. My first post, “Abatement Basics,” is located here. How important are abatements to Jersey City residents? The answer: extremely important. Abatement revenues – also known as PILOTs, or “payments in lieu of taxes” – have increased from 3% of...Continue reading
A basic introduction to the topic of tax abatements in NJ.Continue reading
The genesis of CivicParent.org…. I live in Jersey City and on November 14, 2013 I learned that Mayor Fulop’s first abatement – the 3 towers planned for Journal Square – would not include dedicated funding for Jersey City public schools. I also learned that five City Council members, all of whom were Fulop-endorsed candidates, approved...