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Jersey City Revaluation Drama Continues, and Now a Bayonne Revaluation May Be On the Way. Two Very Upset Mayors…

Published On: April 14th, 2016Categories: Tax Appeal
Mayor Fulop

Mayor Fulop in front of a packed Old-Bergen Church, where the subject of a reval came up this past Monday

Mayor Fulop of Jersey City may have been surprised at how contentious the subject of a revaluation has become in the City, taking flack from “old” Jersey City constituents for not wanting to proceed with it. Mayors will generally fight a reval tooth and nail, because even if it benefits many taxpayers it also increases taxes on many constituents. Guess who is more likely to actually come out and vote in the next election, and for whom, and you get why they are sometimes considered political suicide. However in Jersey City Mayor Fulop is in a tough spot. The primary beneficiaries of the status quo, not doing a reval, are property owners in the Downtown and possibly Journal Square neighborhoods of the City. Much like what happened in the Hoboken revaluation in 2014, property owners of older (pre-2000) construction buildings will likely be hit the hardest. Some of these property owners purchased these buildings decades ago, when Downtown was anything but a desirable neighborhood and therefore properties were assessed relatively low. Some of these owners simply inherited the property, or else purchased it recently at a high price but with the expectation that the taxes would remain low despite the high value of the property. An example would be the elderly widow who has lived in her 2-family home most of her life, and after the reval her taxes go from $8,000/year to $25,000/year just because her home is now much more valuable than it was when she acquired it.

Downtown will take a hit, and that is the Mayor’s constituent base. Remember before becoming Mayor he was the Ward E Councilman and a downtown resident, and he probably has more in common with the young urban professionals who have gentrified ward E than he does with any other voter group in the City.

​That said, a revaluation would in fact benefit taxpayers in much of the rest of the City. If Downtown is under-assessed, then by definition other neighborhoods must be over-assessed and paying too much in property taxes. Being Mayor is in many ways a popularity contest, and Mayor Fulop must navigate this issue carefully. Or perhaps just delay delay delay…

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