The following points are aimed at clarifying some of the issues and answering some of the more common questions.
1. It is extremely difficult to make generalized statements in 2016 regarding property taxes due to the County-ordered revaluation that was performed in 2015 and went into effect in 2016. Many property owners saw substantial increases in their property taxes while others saw substantial decreases. These variations were a result of market factors associated with the assessed value of each individual property as some properties increased in value at a greater rate than other since the last Township-wide revaluation was performed in 2002. As a general rule, if your new assessed value is 31.3% greater than your old assessed value (as that is the average increase for all properties town-wide) your taxes will have increased; and if your new assessed value is less than 31.3% of your old assessed value, your taxes decreased. How your property value appreciated in comparison to all other properties in the municipality is the single biggest factor in whether your taxes increased, decreased or remained roughly the same year-over-year.
2. Many property owners performed the tax estimate calculation on the Appraisal System website when they received their new assessed value in late-2015. The tax estimate calculator compared the 2015 tax rate based upon the former assessed values to the 2015 tax rate utilizing the new assessed value. The calculator was intended to only provide a general snap-shot estimate and did not factor any tax increases. Now that the tax rate has been finalized within the past weeks by the Morris County Board of Taxation, the Township has requested that Appraisal System update the tax estimate calculator to reflect the actual 2016 tax rate and final certified total assessed valuation.
3. In 2016, the amount to be raised by taxation increased for all of the local taxing entities. Most notably was a $1,683,761 or 8.35% increase from the Morris Hill Regional District for Denville’s portion of the regional School Budget. In the opinion of the Township, the regional school district funding formula is unfair and places a larger burden on Denville Township and Rockaway Township to the benefit of Rockaway Borough and Wharton Borough. The disproportionate increase has rekindled discussions between Township Officials and State Officials as to what can be done to make the regional school district funding formula more fair in the future.
4. Despite the increase in the amount to be raised by taxation, the change in status of Saint Clare’s Hospital from “not-for-profit” (tax exempt) to “for-profit” (taxable) had a significant beneficial impact on our overall 2016 tax rate. As you will see below, besides the significant increase from the Morris Hills Regional School District and a small increase for the local Open Space, all of the other taxing entities show a decrease for the average assessed property owner in 2016 (assuming that average assessed property owner's tax assessment increase by 31.3% or less between the 2015 assessed valuation and the 2016 assessed valuation).
The following is a breakdown of the distribution of taxes for the 2015 and 2016 average assessed property owner in Denville, with the increase/decrease listed after the 2016 tax rate.
2015 Average Assessed Property Value: $307,200
2015 Tax Rate: $3.119 per $100 of assessed value
Actual 2015 Tax for Average Assessed Property Owner: $9,581.57
2015 County – $ 1,118.21
2015 Local School – $ 3,760.13
2015 Regional School – $ 2,783.23
2015 Township – $ 1,680.38
2015 Township Open Space – $ 92.16
2015 Library – $ 147.46
TOTAL: $ 9,581.57
2016 Average Assessed Property Value (after revaluation): $403,200
2016 Tax Rate: $2.386 per $100 of assessed value
Actual 2016 Tax for Average Assessed Property Owner: $9,620.35
2016 County – $ 1,112.83 (Difference: - $5.38)
2016 Local School – $ 3,713.47 (Difference: - $46.66)
2016 Regional School – $ 2,870.78 (Difference: +$87.55)
2015 Township – $ 1,677.31 (Difference: - $ 3.07)
2016 Township Open Space – $ 92.16 (Difference: + $ 8.64)
2016 Library – $ 147.46 (Difference: - $ 2.30)
TOTAL: $ 9,620.35
(TOTAL DIFFERENCE: + $38.78)
Although there are no property owners that went from the exact average assessed value in 2015 ($307,200) to the exact average assessed value in 2016 ($403,200), I have attached a copy of the 2015 and 2016 tax bill of a property owner who was extremely close for demonstration purposes. As you will see, their taxes increased by a total of $61.74 total between 2015 and 2016 as their value increased by 32% (slightly more than the 31.3% average).
Again, due to the significant variations related to the revaluation where some property owners taxes increased while other decreased based upon the new property assessment value, each property owner is going to see considerably different results between 2015 and 2016.