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  • NJ A4839
  • Extends county-based real property assessment pilot program to Atlantic County; revises assessment calendar for counties operating under that pilot program.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill would extend the provisions of the "Property Tax Assessment Reform Act," P.L.2009, c.118 (C.54:1-86 et seq.) which created county-based real property assessment as a pilot program in Gloucester County, to Atlantic County. The bill amends that law to require the Atlantic County Executive to appoint a county assessor who would effectuate the transfer of the assessment function to the county assessor over a three-year period, in accordance with a schedule developed by the county assessor. The transfer of the assessment function from Atlantic County's municipalities to the county itself will require the revaluation of all municipalities within the county to create uniformity of assessment throughout the county. The county assessor would have the authority to assist in the orderly revaluation of all of the municipalities within the county, including the authority to grant a municipality a waiver from the revaluation requirement if the municipality has implemented a revaluation within the preceding 60 months and the county assessor believes that the revaluation produced accurate valuations that are still relevant. The county assessor would be aided by deputy county assessors, who would be recommended for appointment by the county assessor and appointed by the county board of chosen freeholders at any time after the appointment of the first county assessor. The bill preserves the requirement that the county must pay the costs associated with the municipal revaluations. The bill also preserves the requirement that the State must reimburse the county for the cost of the revaluations at the end of the three-year period during which the municipalities must be revalued. It is anticipated that a shift from municipal-based real property assessment to county-based real property assessment will provide significant savings for Atlantic County's property taxpayers. In its "Report to the New Jersey Division of Taxation Regarding the Performance of the Gloucester County Assessor's Pilot Program" from 2015, Gloucester County reported savings of over $2 million per year resulting from the efficiencies realized from county-based real property assessment. In 2014 dollars, the Gloucester County Assessor's Office maintained assessments at a per tax line item cost per year of $20.79, 46% lower than the municipal cost of $38.56 per line item. Atlantic County's property taxpayers could see similar cost savings resulting from a change to county-based real property assessment. The bill would also require Atlantic County and Gloucester County to operate, on a permanent basis, under the alternative real property assessment dates established for municipalities participating in the "Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program," P.L.2013, c.15 (C.54:1-101 et al.). As part of its report in 2015, one of Gloucester County's "Recommended Changes to Regulations and Laws Regarding County-based Real Property Assessment," was to incorporate the assessment calendar revisions in the "Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program." The alternative real property assessment calendar implemented as part of the "Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program" is designed to specifically address the systemic costs which result from losses due to successful assessment appeals by property owners, which reduce the property tax base, and which require municipalities to refund large amounts of property taxes previously collected from those property owners. Under current law, every municipal tax assessor files the municipality's tax list with the county board of taxation, which subsequently sets the local tax rates. Assessment appeals are filed by property owners on April 1 of each year, or on May 1 in the case of a municipality that has undergone a municipal-wide revaluation or reassessment of real property. Appeals are heard by the county tax board and generally decided in most, if not all, cases by the end of July. Successful appeals that late in the tax year result in reduced assessments, which reduces the municipal tax base. Because the county tax board has already apportioned the tax levy, a decrease in the tax base will result in the under-collection of property taxes to fund current year operations. The real property assessment calendar enacted as part of the "Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program" re-schedules the property assessment appeal process to dates prior to the calculation of the local property tax rate, which allows for a more accurate local property tax rate to reflect local budgetary needs and the true value of the tax base that provides the property tax revenue to fund the local budget. The chart below sets forth the current statutory dates relative to the individual functions that comprise the real property assessment process, and the dates for those functions under the "Real Property Assessment Demonstration Program." DATES RELATIVE TO CERTIFICATION OF THE TAX LIST, ASSESSMENT APPEALS, AND THE CALCULATION OF LOCAL TAX RATES IN MUNICIPALITIES THAT ADOPT THE REAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT CALENDAR UNDER THE "REAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM" Description of Function Current Date Proposed Date Assessing Date October 1 of pre-tax year October 1 of pre-tax year Certification of Preliminary Assessment N/A November 1 of pre-tax year Notification of Assessment Postcards February 1 November 15 of pre-tax year Assessment Appeal Filing Deadline April 1; May 1 in municipalities wherein revaluation of real property has occurred January 15 Assessment Appeals Heard May, June and July February, March and April Tax List Filed January 10 May 5 County Preliminary Equalization March 10 May 15 County Final Equalization March 10 May 25 Municipal Budget to Tax Board March 31 May 15 County Budget to Tax Board April 1 May 15 School Budget to Tax Board May 19 May 15 Certified Tax Rates May 20 May 31 Tax Duplicates June 3 June 3 Tax Bills June 14 June 14
2nd Reading in the Assembly
Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading  (on 6/19/2017)
Date Chamber Action Description
6/19/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (19:00 6/19/2017 Revised 6/16/17 - A2167 and A4586 have been added. In addition t)
6/19/2017 A Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading
6/19/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (19:00 6/19/2017 )
6/5/2017 A Reported and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
6/5/2017 Assembly State and Local Government Hearing (19:00 6/5/2017 )
5/18/2017 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 6/19/2017 Assembly Appropriations Committee: Reported Favorably 8 3 0
Detail 6/5/2017 Assembly State and Local Government Committee: Reported Favorably 3 2 0