By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – The Atlantic County Board of Taxation has given the city another year to begin a full revaluation of all properties.
According to the board, changes in the real estate market caused by the pandemic, is the reason for the extension of time to get the process started.
The board, which reviews the uniformity and accuracy of assessments in each Atlantic County community, first ordered the city to perform a revaluation of properties in October 2020. The board said that the ratio of assessed valuation to true value in Margate had a coefficient of deviation of 14.6% for residential properties and 20.29% for commercial properties. The coefficient of deviation percentage demonstrates that Margate’s assessments are out-of-whack and need to be brought up to 100% of true value.
That order required Margate to begin its revaluation by Sept. 30, 2022 and become effective for the 2023 tax year. The order also required that the city’s tax maps be up to date, then-Administrator Margaret M. Schott said at the time.
The last time the city conducted a full revaluation was 15 years ago, City Administrator Richard Deaney said at the Sept. 2 Board of Commissioners meeting.
On Dec. 15, 2020, the city’s tax attorney, Hank N. Rovillard, requested an extension to allow the city time to update its tax maps, which were last updated in 2003. In his letter, Rovillard cited the volatility in the real estate market, and said the city’s coefficient of deviation is below the 15% threshold for ordering a revaluation.
The city’s request for a one-year extension was granted, with Schott indicating the new effective tax year would be 2024.
Although the city notified the county in February that it planned to comply with the new effective date, in August, Margate tax assessor James W. Manghan requested another extension, stating that “the uncertainty of circumstances beyond the control of the city,” prompted the city to request another year to start the process.
Manghan cited “extensive mapping revisions” required by the NJ State Tax Map Unit, required software updates, budgetary costs, and the unavailability of state certified revaluation contractors to conduct inspections amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some of the reasons for the delay in starting the process.
Manghan estimated it would cost the city between $750,000 and $1 million to complete the revaluation.
Additionally, Manghan said, “real estate volatility within the COVID economy” could result in “historically high valuations” that would drop soon afterward, causing a need for further reassessment and result in a high number of tax appeals.
On Aug. 27, county Tax Administrator Keith Szendrey granted the city another year to complete the revaluation. The new order requires the city to complete the revaluation by Sept. 30, 2024 to be effective for the 2025 tax year.
A revaluation requires property owners to cooperate with inspections by state approved contractors licensed to do the new assessments.
County officials have said in the past that in essence, a third of the property owners would see their taxes increase, a third would see their taxes reduced and a third would likely stay the same.
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