Thursday, November 13, 2014

Carmelo Garcia's latest after 3rd lawsuit against Mayor Zimmer: 'No rolling reval'

From the desk of Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia:


ASSEMBLYMAN GARCIA SPEAKS OUT AGAINST HOBOKEN’S ROLLING ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
Garcia questions the fairness and impact on homeowners and renters
Residents raised questions and concerns about rolling assessments at a community forum sponsored by the city of Hoboken.   The program, which calls for annual reassessments of a percentage of properties in town, has already received approval by City Council.  The mayor claims it will save the city money in the long run.  But some residents are fearful their taxes will increase.  And I share their concerns.
Questions remain about the accuracy, transparency, and necessity of this program, especially since many seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities are still struggling from the last massive tax increase.  “I’ve heard horror stories from homeowners who spent significant time and money fighting appeals just to get a shot at a fair shake,” said Garcia (D-Hudson).  They shouldn’t have to fight city hall time and time again for what’s right.  Where is the return on their investment?”
Garcia calls the rolling revaluation “an unnecessary assault on privacy” that will make it difficult for homeowners to plan for their taxes from year to year.  And he rejects Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s claim the program will save money.  When pressed, Mayor Zimmer and the city’s business administrator could not point to any specific or estimated cost savings for the $125,000 per year that Hoboken is paying for the reval, “said Garcia.  “And the program will burden already overtaxed homeowners.    
Homeowners aren’t the only residents who could be adversely impacted.  Renters may also take a financial hit because property owners and landlords could pass increases on to them.    

Instead of rolling assessments, Garcia believes the revaluations should be conducted every six years.  He’s calling for a public referendum to let voters decide if they want yearly assessments.