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Realtors: "New Assessment Will Drive People Out of Town"

Realtors and residents stressed their dissatisfaction with the reassessment in River Edge

Several River Edge realtors came out in force along with homeowners on Monday night to speak out against the 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  and then 132 by .

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.

gixx April 03, 2012 at 03:29 AM
From my meeting with the appraisers, they told me that our new assessment is at 100%. So, if you are appraised at 450K X 3.035 your new tax will be $13,657.50 and the 450K represents 100% of market value (sale price).
Dr.Doom April 03, 2012 at 11:19 AM
I see, so they are crooks , they artificially lowered every body's assessment so people are not able to appeal
Maryann G. April 03, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I was in the same situation - tiny 1br 1bath house, $11,000 in taxes last year. My assessment went back down to a reasonable number. I don't think ANYONE on my street was paying as little as $5900. Bout time the "starter castles" paid their fair share.
GGT April 03, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Dr. Doom: paramus has all the business because last I checked Paramus has Rt 4 and 17 running through the town. River only has a small sliver of Rt 4. Business wants to be on the highways, and so they will go to Paramus. It has been the case all along, otherwise the south end of town would have been developed/redeveloped years ago. It really is very simple. The residents and Mayor & Council should have seen that very clear fact over the years.
GGT April 03, 2012 at 06:12 PM
gixx: The values of homes are falling becasue the reale state bubble is still deflating, the tax situation in town only adds to it.
gixx April 03, 2012 at 08:24 PM
GGT, The values in RE have been stable throughout the bubble (-5% to -7%) The tax situation is going to kill RE. We have the highest tax in Bergen County, if you take inconsideration the size of your home the lot size and the value of your home we pay the most. They try to tell us that McMansions where subsidized by the smaller homes. How many McMansions are there? 20, 30, 40? There 3000 homes in RE, so the 40 McMansions caused the rate to jump? They raised the taxes on over 1000 homes. They are playing games. They lowered our values and hiked up the rate so we can’t appeal the taxes. (150 people appealed last year) Those people that think their going to save on taxes are dreaming. When next year rolls around and they need more money (because there will be NO new construction or renovations) they will just raise the rate and we will not be able to do anything about it. You can’t fight the rate only your assessment.
Dr.Doom April 04, 2012 at 12:38 AM
if you look at the stats of the assesment vs actual sales prrices McMansions were inline with sales prices (9% under with eq county factor 91%). On other hand if you look at houses $400-$700 range they assesed 15% under the sales price (looking at the sale prices supposably used for the new assesment). So through the creative accounting RE shifter the taxes to the McMansions and killed the easy money coming to the town in the form of extra tax
Dr.Doom April 04, 2012 at 12:39 AM
look at Paramus - construction boom. RE - 1 house beeing built. and i dont think we should expect anything else
GGT April 04, 2012 at 01:46 PM
gixx: I don't know where you are getting your numbers form (sounds like the typical River Edge denial so many residents suffer from), but house prices are down at least 20% from the peak, and that is a fact. You are right in that the out of control property taxes will continue to pressure prices down in River Edge as prices begin to stabilize in other towns. But seriously the fact that you believe prices are only down 5 to 7% from the peak is shocking!!!
GGT April 04, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Dr Doom: i don't know what construction boom in Paramus you are talking about, there is some fill in activity both residential and on the 4 and 17 corridors. The fact is if a business is going to open, most will locate on the 4/17 corridor to capture all the shoppers; that is simple common sense. The Mayor does not need to hold a round table discussion with business owners in River Edge to figure that out. Meanwhile in other news Scripps is buying MEDCO located in Franklin Lakes, which is going to lead to layoffs and possibly more empty office space in Bergen Co. Medco is the largest employer in Bergen County, not good for Franklin Lakes, and not good for the Bergen County housing market in general.
gixx April 04, 2012 at 09:01 PM
GGT: The McMansions and expanded / renovated homes have not seen anywhere near a 20% decline. At the height of the market a 3000 to 3500 sqft home was selling at an average 865K. Now (before assessment) they are selling at an average 815K so I don’t see where you got 20%. Now if you had a dilapidated ranch, cape etc. and at the height you were getting close to 400K now you are at 300K I can see 20% to 25% The point is that we will all loose on this new assessment.
Dr.Doom April 05, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I do agree that the 4/17 helps the situation in Paramus, however the south of RE is not in the bad position as well. I dont think that the introduction of the extra business will make much difference in RE (extra $100-$200K / year is nice but not life changing). What could have made the difference is the replacing some old houses with the McMansions ($7K year extra surplus on each McMansion guaranteed w/o any effort). Now that's dead. I have friends living in Paramus to the West of the VS park. When i visit them i see at least 8-9 new constructions on 3 streets that i pass. The whole RE probably has 1-2 constructions overall (no surprise here).
GGT April 05, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Dr Doom: if the south end of RE was desirable it would have been developed years ago. As far as A Mc Man in Paramus vs. RE, if someone wants one of those things they might as well buy in Paramus, cheaper taxes, and the schools are just as good.
GGT April 05, 2012 at 04:03 PM
gixx: Average prices in River Edge (as well as elsewhere in the region) have fallen 20% form the peak. Look at some of the Mc Mansion resales for sale in town now, and look at what they originally sold for 5 and 6 years ago. Also look at the average house prices for sale now, and look at what they sold for 5, 6 years ago. As far as my information, it is from a friend who is a Realtor/Broker, and the Case-Shiller Housing index that is released every month. Prices in our area,including River Edge are back to early 2003 levels, and that is a fact. With all due respect it is shocking to me that you are not aware of that. That being said as I said the out of control taxes in town will continue to press prices further downwards in town while others stabilize as the housing market finds its bottom in late 2013.
gixx April 05, 2012 at 07:59 PM
GGT: I am fully aware of what is going on. I have access to the MLS and in the Construction field. Like I stated before the McMansions are lower by 5% to 7%. Take for instance the house that is pictured on this Patch (246 Valley). This House sold in 2007 (new) for 890K, and in Feb. 2011 was under contract for 880K prior to the people finding out the new taxes and running away! The point is that the New Tax Assessment will destroy RE. If you look on what is on the market now there is about 9 McMansions to the usual 2 to 3. So of course the prices are going to tumble. I have seen people drop there houses by 50K after being listed for 2 weeks so they can get out. Some people on this media will say that they deserve it. What they don’t understand if the McMansions loose value so will everyone else.
GGT April 06, 2012 at 03:43 PM
gixx: All the houses in town are losing value as the market continues to correct from the excess of the bubble. River Edge is and will continue to fall more because of the out of control taxes. And If Oradell wins the finding fight over the schools, its all over.
gixx April 09, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Farmus48: You couldn’t be more wrong. Do you really believe that your little cape was subsidizing the “Macs” Do you even know how many “Macs” there are in RE? Under 40. So you want to tell me that 2,960 homes where subsidizing 40?? You must also think that 25K is a fair tax on a so called Mcmansion in RE. In any other town your house would have a value 1.4mil and close to an acre of property to have that kind of tax bill. The pendulum is going to swing and in a year when all these so called “Macs” loose there value, I want to see what your cape is going to be worth and what your NEW taxes are going to be after there is no new construction or renovations in RE.
Dr.Doom April 10, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Anzevino is real something - quoting him "The majority of the values went down, which makes any appeals much easier to defend," explained Anzevino at the March 19 council meeting. As a result of the reassessment, he said, "I can't see us losing many appeals at all. If we do, I would be very, very surprised." Since the reassessment numbers were released, no appeals have been filed, he said." of course didnt hurt artificially lowering all the assesments in the town making it hard to appeal.
gixx April 10, 2012 at 03:44 AM
He got fired from Bergenfield for screwing up there taxes. Just like RE. but he still has a job in RE. He is also the tax assessor in Oradell and Paramus. He is a piece of work. (to put it nicely)
commuter April 12, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I am new home buyer who was looking at a River Edge "McMansion". I've decided to look elsewhere in the area because RE taxes are ridiculously high compared to similar towns (Paramus, Oradell, Emerson, etc.). I want a newer house for my family, and am willing to pay my fair share, but not at a 30% premium over neighbor towns with similar school rankings and equivalent houses (RE actually has less ideal houses, since most newer houses in RE are built on old foundation). I grew up in Bergen County, and intend to raise my family here, but I would not retire here (taxes have always been high in BC; why live here if not commuting to NYC and no kids in schools). For towns to appeal to well-to-do buyers, they need the McMansions. Young couples/families don't want old Ranches, unless they're on a tight budget. Guess what happens when a town's full of people on tight budgets... No money in the town. For a town to progress, it needs money and upwardly mobile families. It sounds cruel, but tax the old homes out of market, and they'll be razed and replaced by new homes paying higher (but equitable) tax, leading to a more prosperous town. Location is king, and all houses--whether old ranches or McMansions--should pay accordingly. If you want cheap, move to Marlboro/Manalapan, which have HUGE lots and houses at low prices.
commuter April 12, 2012 at 01:09 AM
What "more services" do bigger houses require that they "should pay more taxes"? More water & electricity? They do pay for them via utility bills. More police/school/parks utilization? Feel free to track them and let us know. More air? They're robbing everyone blind!
commuter April 12, 2012 at 01:17 AM
On Michael's note, let's tax extra for anyone who borrows a library book, drives or walks on a particular street, or sets foot on a park.
commuter April 12, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Amen. Cresskill was crossed off my list for a new house, since it's only full of old houses.
commuter April 12, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Paramus schools have been dropping in rankings, but River Dell has been steady...
Dr.Doom April 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Please take a look at the attached PDF on the top of the page for some interesting stats of the reassessment as well as government official comments in regards to the results of the reassessment
NO TO TAX HIKE July 13, 2012 at 12:35 AM
We need something more drastic to fundamentally change the trend of ever-increasing property taxes in River Edge. Think about merging with other municipalities to reduce the administrative costs. Think about enhancing the performance of the schools so that neighboring municipalities such as Paramus will be interested in the merge. Mediocre school performance and high taxes are taking heavy toll on us. People are rushing to enlist the house and new potential buyers are turning away. River Edge carries non-performing lands and properties and former and current administration got no good strategy to revive the borough. This is a country where independence was fought because of the tax hike. Concerned citizens should rise to seek more drastic measures from the Mayor and the Council members. Do they have strategy?
NO TO TAX HIKE July 13, 2012 at 12:46 AM
They reduced the property tax base, but increase 16% the property tax rate, resulting in more or less 10% net tax increase in my case. This, I consider, is outrageous. Some people might have got an overall increase of 20 to 30%. This is on top of the tax increase of 5% or more, every year, in the last several years. Every organization, firm, company, every one else is cutting down in this age. Why do we keep silent when our borough keeps rising taxes again and again and again and again. This seems endless and it must be stopped. Let us call our Mayor, our Councilman to raise our concerns and let them stop this non-sense. They should present a strategy to reduce the taxes, while enhancing the service of the borough. If they cannot do it, let us work with Oradell residents to merge the municipals and reduce the administrative costs as a first step. Thereafter, a strategy is need to enable the merge with Paramus, which has incredibly low taxes. Does anybody have any strategy.
Carol Knight September 05, 2012 at 03:24 AM
We are amost considering retirement.At this rate with an empty nest,it would be just as good to rent an apartment.Im paying over a grand per month to live in my house.I could invest what little we get for our house now and have no worries.Sad fact.Who would buy our house? The taxes alone higher than a rental.People would hold off until they needed room for kids.This is what kills the market as well.We would be stuck and drained.Our retirement funds wont pay our light bill!Let alone the taxes.
Michael Barry September 05, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Right on target, catnap25. Until our political leaders start to run River Edge as one would run a business, i.e. spend 10 - 15 % LESS than you take in, we will have confiscatory levels of taxation and more and more people will leave. And what do we get for our money? River Dell HS didn't even make the top 100 schools in New Jersey and Weehawken High school did! Look at you tax bill and you see 70+% going to "education." What a hoax...
Michael Barry September 05, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I agree 100%. We bought in RE in 1988 and were reassed at the high end. Therefore, we've been OVERPAYING for over a decade. FINALLY we received a reduction in taxes that was altogether fitting and proper. These people with the McMansions were paying too little for too long while people like you and I subsidized them. No more and we can thank the Republicans on the council for taking this affirmative and appropriate step. Thank you.


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