Tax Reassessment Letters Are Out. Now What?

Maplewood property owners unhappy with their new values do have options.


Most Maplewood property owners received letters from Appraisal Systems Inc. (ASI) last week notifying them of the new assessed value of their homes, after the recent townwide reassessment.

The total value of the town went down by roughly 6.1%, said Jason Cohen of ASI, with many parts of town staying stable or decreasing slightly.

(All information connected with Maplewood's reassessment can be seen on ASI's website.) 

Condominiums showed a substantial decrease in value, said Cohen, particularly those on Meadowbrook Place near the pool. Condos that were selling in the low $200's in 2009-10 are now selling for $75,000-125,000. "It's a sad story," he said, but he noted that the new lower values would help to decrease the owners' tax burden.

Overall, said Cohen, some neighborhoods remained stable, and no area went up in value substantially. The east side of town near the Irvington and Union border (including the Hilton neighborhood), decreased some, possibly due to a higher number of foreclosures and short sales.

The west side of town stayed mostly "strong and stable" said Cohen, with the exception of the area above Wyoming Avenue. "My theory is that it is because that area is far from the train station," he said.

Golf Island values remained stable; the College Hill and Tuscan School areas experienced "a little drop."

So, what does this mean for taxpayers?

In a nutshell, if your assessed value went down by LESS than 6.1%, your taxes will increase. If your assessed value went down by MORE than 6.1%, your taxes will decrease.

Using a calculator found on the Appraisal Systems website, property owners can figure out the tax impact of their new assessed value using an adjusted 2012 tax rate.

"Our assessment went down slightly," said one resident who lives near Rynda Road and Melman Terrace. "While that is good in that it keeps our taxes lower, I do not feel it is the true market value of our home by any means."

An Oakview Road resident in the Tuscan area was happy her assessment had decreased, but said, "Does this just mean the tax rate is going up? Probably."

Indeed, the 2013 tax rate will change based on the results of the reassessment. ASI estimates on its website that the current 2012 tax rate of 3.186 is likely to go up to 3.393 (not taking into account township budget increases.)

If you are pleased with your new value, there is nothing further for you to do. If you disagree with the value, call Appraisal Systems (201-493-8530) to schedule an informal hearing to appeal.

Hearings will take place through Dec. 29 at Maplewood Town Hall, said Cohen. For residents who cannot attend a hearing in person, ASI can schedule a phone meeting. 

How to prepare for the meeting? "Bring a list of questions about your particular neighborhood or house, the town as a whole and the general reassessment process," said Cohen.

Obtain a copy of your record card by calling ASI or emailing them at maplewood@asinj.com.

Also, check the sales data posted on the website. "If you see sales that don't substantiate your value, bring a copy of the spreadsheet with those sales highlighted," Cohen said.

A meeting may result in an increase, decrease, or no change. No decisions will be made at the meeting. 

"We send letters informing property owners of any change by the second week of January," said Cohen.

Property owners will have until May 1 to file a formal appeal with the county. The new tax rate will be determined in the summer of 2013.

KSSR December 17, 2012 at 01:47 PM
So that means the estimated rate increase from 2012 to 2013 is 6.5%! Outrageous! Math: (3.393-3.186)/3.186 = .06497 = 6.497%!!!!!!
Frank Verderosa December 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM
While I don't fully understand this process- I question it. Our home value was shown to have had a value decrese of exactly $10,000. That's a very nice round number. It is also the same number for most of our friends in the area. So- what changed? It seems a bit arbitrary. Why is it lower a year after it was determined to be so much higher?
Taxwell Smart December 17, 2012 at 08:07 PM
because they pull these numbers out of their tuchus.
William W. December 18, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I bought my house 6 months ago for $375,000 and the appraisal is 474,000. Not sure what their process is but it can't be very accurate. I recommend anyone who feels there appraisal is way off to make an appointment. My guess is they either don't have current data or didn't look at it. I think they also have my square footage wrong... probably counted my basement or something. Also, KSSR it's actually 6.497% of A PERCENT according to your math. 3.393% = .03393. .03393-.03186=.00207 which is actually .207% increase.


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