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Seaside Heights Property Reassessment Getting Underway

The entrance to Seaside Heights from the north. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The entrance to Seaside Heights from the north. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Seaside Heights officials this week announced that a county-ordered property reassessment is poised to get underway after months of preparation, and residents can expect to receive notification letters over the next month.

“We were ordered by the county, and it got approved by the state Division of Taxation,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz in the fall, when the revaluation effort was first announced.

“After much consideration, the county board approved the borough to perform a reassessment to go on the books for the 2025 tax year,” Vaz wrote in a notice published this week.

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The inspection of the borough’s 2,000-plus homes and commercial properties will begin in April and continue over the next six months. A property inspector will be physically inspecting the interior and measuring the exterior of each property. If a resident is not home on the inspector’s visit, a notice will be left asking the resident to arrange an appointment. Some of the data that the inspector will be collecting includes the “design and style of the structure, overall condition, plumbing fixtures, heat source, air conditioning and if there is a basement or not,” the notice said. The data collected will be utilized to determine each property’s full and fair value for the 2025 tax year. It will not affect a property owner’s tax obligation in 2024.

The difference between a revaluation and a reassessment, Vaz said, is that a reassessment is a cost-saving measure completed in-house by the tax assessor’s office, utilizing the office’s existing knowledge and resources, and a revaluation is completed by an outside firm that usually has a much higher cost.

The borough council, in September, appropriated $200,000 for the reassessment, which requires overtime and extra work on the part of employees. Each home, business and even empty parcel is assigned a value, which determines the assessment of property taxes for that property.

“The process is revenue neutral, meaning the purpose is not to raise property taxes but to redistribute the tax burden, ensuring that the property tax assessments are fair and equitable,” Vaz said.

The last reassessment occurred in 2013 and, according to the New Jersey Division of Taxation records, the average property in town is assessed at only 61.17 percent of its fair market value. Since 2013, the borough has seen a redevelopment and building boom that has replaced a great deal of commercial motels with high-value homes, and reshaped portions of the oceanfront along the boardwalk.

Eric L. Zanetti, the borough’s tax assessor, will hold a public meeting next month to provide information to property owners seeking more information on the reassessment process.

The meeting is scheduled at the borough court room located at 116 Sherman Avenue, at 7 p.m., April 2, 2024.

A reassessment does not necessarily mean an increase in taxes for every homeowner. The borough is not planning on collecting more money from residents or business owners above and beyond the normal operating budget, and the tax rate will go down to compensate for the increase in the assessed values. Officials say, historically, about a third of properties see an increase in taxes, a third remain about the same, and a third see their property taxes decrease.

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