Bill Would Consolidate and Streamline Property Assessments, Save Millions for County Taxpayers
In the interest of saving money for taxpayers by making use of shared services programs, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo to switch to a countywide tax assessor system in Atlantic County, a move that has already enabled Gloucester County residents to save millions per year, was approved Thursday by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.
“I was proud of the many shared service ventures I initiated when I was Mayor of Northfield. I know how much taxpayer dollars we can save when government operates smaller and smarter,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Despite the attempts to spread misinformation about the tremendous success of Gloucester County’s model, I know the potential Atlantic County’s implementation of a similar plan holds and I am focused on ending the strain on taxpayers that is caused by 6,000 property tax appeals a year.”
The bill (A-546) would consolidate and shift the tax assessment function from municipalities to the county under a pilot program. This pilot program would re-schedule the property assessment appeal process to dates prior to the current calculation of the local property tax rate, which allows for a more accurate local property tax rate to reflect local budgetary needs as well as the true value of the tax base that provides revenue to fund local budgets.
Under the bill, the Atlantic County Executive would be required to appoint a county assessor and would oversee the transfer of assessment functions from the municipal level to the county assessor over a three year period. The transfer of the assessment function from Atlantic County’s municipalities to the county itself would require the evaluation of all municipalities within the county to create uniformity of assessment throughout the county.
Currently, only Gloucester County is authorized to take part in the pilot program, which is already producing a savings of $2.3 million dollars a year for Gloucester taxpayers by creating a countywide tax assessor’s office to remove the duplicitous and unnecessary burden on individual municipalities.
“By expanding the program to Atlantic County, we can save taxpayers millions a year and streamline assessments so that every town gets an identical and fair process,” added Mazzeo. “With almost every municipality at or near true value, the time is right for Atlantic County to enter the 21st century and end the practice of spending millions of dollars on outside revaluations once and for all.”