"Perfect Storm" Causes $257 Regional Tax Hike to Oradell Residents
Following each borough's reassessments, Oradell taxpayers will see a tax hike under the Regional school budget while River Edge homeowners will see a reduction
For the coming school year, Oradell taxpayers can expect a tax hike under the approved $30.8 million River Dell Regional School budget for 2013-14. At the same time, River Edge residents will see a reduction in their portion of the tax levy.
The $26.9 million tax levy, which comes in at the state mandated 2% tax levy cap, calls for a $257 increase to the average Oradell homeowner while River Edge taxpayers will see a $19 reduction.
"The perfect storm hit after Trenton approved the reassessments," Board Administrator Thomas Bonfiglio said. "The River Edge percentage share went down while Oradell's went up. But by the 2014-15 school year, everything should equal back out again."
To combat a large number of tax appeals, both towns performed reassessments through Appraisal Systems of Glen Rock over the summer months. With a declining housing market, Oradell's recently completed reassessment has shown that the majority of housing values in town have all fallen. Mayor Joseph Murray had estimated that thirty percent of homes should see their tax bills go down greater than $250, 57% could see their bills go down anywhere from $249 or up $250 for a tax neutral scenario and 13% may see their tax bills go up in excess of $250.
River Edge on the other hand saw a mixed bag of results and an overwhelming number of taxpayers, developers and realtors last spring turn out against the reassessment results. Approximately one-third of all residents were going to see a hike in their taxes from $1,000 or more with newer constructed homes with an average tax bill just shy of $30,000 annually.
"One thing the public needs to know that the board does not control the disparities between the two towns," Finance Chair and Board of Ed member Joe Manzelli said. "The board controls how to allocate funds in the budget to cover the expenses. The difference between one town over the other is based on the ratables from both towns. Sometimes it swings greater one way over the other."
The budget includes paying off $1.5 million in debt service and refinancing the district's remaining debt service from the 2003 referendum will result in a future $1.2 million in savings over the next 11 years. The district will also look to add two new teachers, although specific details about the new teaching staff members will not be finalized until the district determines which grade levels and subjects have the greatest need.
River Dell was awarded $632,193 in state aid previously, but Board Administrator Thomas Bonfiglio stated that the district has to return almost $92,000 back to Trenton as a contribution to the Schools Development Authority's (SDA) funding. For the current 2012-13 school budget, River Dell was mandated to return $60,287 in state aid for the SDA.