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Tax Appeals Force NJ Town To Reevaluate All Property Values

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Property Taxes (credit: AP)

Property Taxes (credit: AP)

Marcia Kramer thumbnail Marcia Kramer
Marcia Kramer joined CBS 2 in 1990 as an investigative and political...
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MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBS 2) — Property taxes have been going up across the tri-state are, but in one New Jersey town, they’re reevaluating all of the town’s property.

Many residents fear that this time the tax man’s axe may fall so hard they’ll have to move, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

The “For Sale” signs are going up in Maplewood. Many fear that a move to reevaluate taxes this year for everyone in town will mean they just can’t afford to live there anymore.

“I’ve been here since 1965, and progressively, it’s gone up and up and up every year,” resident Sondra Somer said. “The problem is with that, I don’t know if I can stay in my house.”

“Property taxes have gone up quite a bit already,” added resident Mark Janiw. “I don’t want to, but I’m thinking of moving out of town.”

Local real estate agent Stephanie Mallios said Maplewood – like many towns in New Jersey – has had to reevaluate property because so many people appealed their property taxes as the real estate market declined. The successful appeals then left huge holes in local budgets.

“They have to have a budget, so if people are reducing the budget by successfully appealing their taxes, then the shortfall has to be made up somehow,” Mallios said.

People have certainly been appealing their taxes. According to the Essex County tax assessor, the number of property tax appeals has gone from 2,000 in 2008 to 7,200 this year.

In order to appeal, homeowners need to prove the value of their home is less than the assessed value. They can hire an attorney or file the paperwork themselves.

“Everybody thinks of appealing,” said Peggy Barnett of South Orange.

“We’re already almost at the limit of our tax, being able to carry our property taxes,” Maplewood resident Dean Nielsen said.

Over 74,000 property tax appeals were filed in New Jersey this year, the most since 1992, and officials expect that number to rise.

Appeals can be filed starting on Jan. 10 and as late as April 1 or May 1, depending on the locality.

For more details on the appeals process, click here.

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