Several River Edge realtors came out in force along with homeowners on Monday night to speak out against the 2012 reassessment results in River Edge to the Mayor and Council as well as Tax Assessor James Anzevino. While no one in the audience was happy, the realtors stressed their concerns that going forward few homes in the borough will actually be sold.
"I was born and raised in this town and my taxes have doubled even though I have not done any additions," Robin Baron of Monroe Court said. Baron is a local realtor with Weichert in Oradell. "My taxes were $5,900 and now are $12,300. I love River Edge, my mother still lives in town and my children live here and would hope they will stay here. But no one can afford this. You have killed the values of homes. I've been trying to see a home on Valley Road and the taxes will go up to $29,000. I just had the buyer's agent call me today and tell me they are withdrawing from the contract. No one will buy ahome on a 75-by100 lot with $30,000 in taxes. This will kill the real estate market and you will not be able to sell your homes."
There are currently 58 homes for sale in the borough according to the NJMLS, but local realtors expressed concerns that River Edge could be facing several shortsales under the new assessment.
"One problem I'm seeing as an unintendended consequence of all this is that people will be afraid to touch their homes, there will be no incentive now to add onto or renovate," Liz Serednicky Davis, a realtor with RE/MAX said. "Now I have potential buyers going it's a nice area but 'I don't know about River Edge.' It's not in the plan for someone to move here and have the taxes go up to $14,000 to $19,000. It will have a negative impact that someone won't be able to afford a mortage and the house go into shortsale."
Realtor Eileen Tummino of Weichert Oradell stated that she just sold a home for $532,000 after it was first listed in the $750,000 range.
"As the taxes go up, the housing values will go down," Tummino said.
The assessment by Appraisal Systems cost the borough approximately $174,000 by teaming up with Cresskill and Dumont to share the cost. For the past two years the borough had been slammed with tax appeals, approximately 150 as of November 2010 and then 132 by August 2011.
According to Tax Assessor James Anzevino, the overall residential values were reduced 13.57% while the commercial values showed an increase of 1.5%.
"The total aggregate was a 12% reduction in ratings overall," Anzevino said. "Two-thirds of the town saw a reduction while approximately 1,000 homes will see an increase. In the past eight years, the land value decreased while building values increased."
Among the reasons for the increased assessments are that if House A won a tax appeal in a prior year their taxes may go up so that all homes are assessed at 100%; also new construction or renovated homes with additions will have retained their values better.
"You are discouraging people from renovating or updating their homes," Timothy Riecken of Madison Avenue said. "I was completely blindsided by this. I have a small house, was paying to much in taxes so I played by the rules and put an addition on my house three years ago. This changes everything."
"I'm more than happy to pay my fair share of taxes," Ray Frost of Lozier Terrace added. "My assessment has gone through the roof, my taxes have gone through the roof and I can't sell my house for what I bought it for. I bought my house in 2008 and the taxes were $12,000, under this new assessment that I knew nothing about it's going up to $19,000. This is almost like going and buying a car at sticker price for $30,000 and two years later you come back and say we're wrong the car is actually valued at $50,000 and you now owe the $20,000. You'll have your first tax appeal and that will be from me. People are telling me their homes are paid off but they have a mortage on their taxes. No one will be able to live in this town."
Residents who have questioned about their reassessed values or the reassessment process can contact Anzevino by calling 201-906-2469. For any resident who wishes to appeal their reassessment, they can file a Petition of Appeal with the Bergen County Board of Taxation, One Bergen County Plaza, Room 370, Hackensack within 45 days of receipt of their final assessment property value card.