Mayors Sign On for Regionalized Assessor's Office Program The First Program of its Kind in NJ will Save County Taxpayers Millions
(Woodbury, NJ) - Mayors from throughout Gloucester County joined together today to sign a cooperation agreement to begin the first county-based regionalized Assessor's Office in New Jersey.
Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney, who authored the law that created the pilot program that will be funded by the State, said that the regionalized program eliminates the need for 24 individual municipal tax assessors' offices and creates a cost-efficient county office that will save taxpayers upwards of $1.5 million annually.
"The days of unfair assessments and outdated, costly revaluations are over in Gloucester County. The technology and tools that are available today no longer justify each town to perform tax assessing in the same fashion that they did in 1959," Sweeney said.
"We are going to save our taxpayers a lot of money with this regionalized program, and it will be fair system that keeps everyone at true market value," stated Director Sweeney. "Through the use of technology eventually every home in Gloucester County will be reassessed on a standard three-year cycle, and it will end the days of unnecessary, intrusive visits into your home to see if what type of minor interior improvements you have made."
Freeholder Frank J. DiMarco said that the first round of towns into the regionalized County Assessor's Office will include several towns that have recently completed revaluations: Harrison Township, Monroe Township, Borough of Newfield, Elk , South Harrison Township, and the Borough of Wenonah; and municipalities that were going to perform revaluations in 2010.
"Over the course of the next three years all of the 24 municipalities will be phased into the County Assessor's Office," said Freeholder DiMarco. "The state will be reimbursing the cost of the revaluations for all the towns, over $7.7 million. This is what it would have cost the towns to perform their own revaluations," stated DiMarco.
The Freeholders said that they will soon be voting on the purchase of a special Computer Aided Mass Appraisal (CAMA) software package that will be used to keep track of all the revaluations. The software will be one of the tools that the County Assessor's office will utilize to reassess each town every three years to keep fair assessment values.
Freeholder Jean DuBois, who served as County Treasurer before she was elected to the Freeholder Board said that the regionalized County Assessor's Office creates a fair assessment system that maintains a high equalization ratio, staying as near to "true value" as possible.
Harrison Township Mayor Lou Manzo said that he appreciated the fact that the pilot program took into account those towns that have recently completed a revaluation. "It was a large undertaking for our local government to perform the revaluation that cost us over $300,000. Receiving a reimbursement for our work creates a fair system and I am optimistic that this pilot program will become a permanent fixture in how assessing is performed in the future," stated Mayor Manzo.
Deptford Township Mayor Paul Medany said that by joining the regionalized County Assessor's Office his town is going to save more than $530,000 annualized over the next three years, and then $175,000 each year after that. Deptford is scheduled for a revaluation in 2011 that was estimated to cost $1.2 million.
"Saving taxpayers money is what regionalization is all about. I look forward working with the county and my fellow mayors in taking steps to correct an antiquated system that costs local governments too much to perform," said Mayor Medany.