Over the past few weeks residents of Howell have received letters in regards to the township's recent reassessment efforts.
At the Town Council meeting on Tuesday night the Township's tax assessor and a representative from the company that conducted the reassessment gave an update on the progress of their efforts.
While residents may not have been happy with the updated value of the property Mayor Robert Walsh said even before they began their presentation that there was still no firm decision on the tax rate for the upcoming year. "Until we have what the budgets are from the schools, from the county, from the fire districts ther is no possible way to have a tax rate at this time," he said.
Neil Rubenstein from Realty Appraisals Co. said after sending out 20 thousand notification letters the reassessment is in what he called "the home stretch." Rubenstein said with the letters having been sent out residents would have a better idea of what his company determined their properties were worth. "The goal of the reassessment was to bring the assessment back down to what is called fair market value," he added.
Prior to the reassessment, Rubenstein said his company conducted a revaluation for the township in 2007. At that time he said the real estate market was much higher which also meant properties had a higher value. Five years later, he said that is no longer the case. "Since that time the market has fallen and the assessments were set at fair market value five years ago," he said.
Now that the letters have been sent out Rubenstein said residents have a chance to find out more about how their property values were reached. That includes calling the company to set up appointments with their representatives at the township's Human Services building on Adelphia Rd. "We meet with residents on a one-on-one basis to discuss the assessment, how we derived it, to explain it and to show if the resident would desire show them sales that we used to determine those values," he said.
It is the sales of properties in the area that he said plays a large part in determining property values. "We look at closed, useable sales," he said. Going by individual neighborhoods Rubenstein said they looked at the close to 300 neighborhoods in the town to help them reach their numbers. "We analyze the sales by neighborhoods to come up with the new values.
Working with Township Tax Assessor Greg Hutchinson, Rubenstein said there were some "tweaks" to the plan after looking at some of the neighborhoods. For his part, Hutchinson said residents can contact him with general questions about the reassessment not directly related to their property.
To set up an appointment with Realty Appraisals residents can call 732-571-4941. Hutchinson can be reached at 732-938-6242.