Seaside Heights will conduct a town-wide reassessment of its property values next year, officials confirmed at a borough council meeting Wednesday, though they expect to save money on the effort by keeping the project in-house.
“We were ordered by the county, and it got approved by the state Division of Taxation,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz.
The borough council on Wednesday appropriated $200,000 for the reassessment, which is required periodically under state law and, through various inspections and processes, measures the value of the entire town’s real property. Each home, business and even empty parcel is assigned a value, which determines the assessment of property taxes for that property.
Traditionally, reassessments result in about a third of properties remaining stable in their tax bills, and the remaining two-thirds either rising or falling slightly. But Seaside Heights is in the midst of a major redevelopment trend, with properties being demolished each week and quickly replaced by other properties that often have radically different uses – for example, motels being razed in favor of residential homes or nightclubs and parking lots being planned as mixed-use complexes. The law, however, does not take that into account.
“We have to do it,” said Vaz. “There’s no choice there once it’s ordered.”
Seaside Heights will utilize a team led by Eric L. Zanetti, the borough’s regular tax assessor, to conduct the reassessment. Many municipalities hire outside firms to lead such efforts, but officials said an arrangement with Zanetti would allow the project to be completed in-house without having to hire a commercial assessment firm, which could charge significantly more for their services.
An ordinance setting the $200,000 budget passed unanimously Wednesday.
“He will pull a team of part-time assessors together and that group will do the same type of work that a third party contractor would perform,” said Vaz.