Township Council To Host 'Open House' With Tax Assessor Tonight
Informal meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. at Town Hall
It's been a year and a half since the controversial 2010 revaluation hit the books.
And tonight, township Tax Assessor Eric L. Zanetti will be on hand at Town Hall at 6 p.m. to discuss his role and property assessments in general. It will be the first public appearance he has made since the new assessments came out.
Some residents - especially members of the Berkeley Township Taxpayers Association- have been clamoring for Zanetti to attend a council since the new assessments came out in October of 2010.
Although the Township Council discussed inviting Zanetti to a council meeting recently, officials decided instead to make it a separate event, Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said.
"We thought it would be better to have it on a separate night," Amato said.
The township's first revaluation since 1991 didn't sit well with some residents, especially those with oceanfront and waterfront homes. The Berkeley Township Taxpayers Association was born after the new assessments came out.
Residents tonight can ask Zanetti questions during the informational session, the mayor said.
They can also meet privately with Zanetti in the council caucus room to discuss their individual assessments after the session, Amato said.
Properties in Berkeley were assessed at between 40 to 50 percent of true market value before the revaluation, which was done by Certified Valuations Inc. After the revaluation, most were close to 100 percent of true market value
Overall, 84 percent of the assessments were accurate, said Richard J. Carabelli, president of Martin Appraisal Associates, the firm the township hired to review the revaluation results.
The remaining 16 percent had data collection errors, Carabelli said during a special meeting held last year.
Amenities like half baths, decks, pools, fireplaces and extra bedrooms may not have been included in the faulty assessments, Carabelli said.
"There was a litany of items," he said then. "If they (Certified) had one wrong, we failed them. It was a simple pass/fail."
But some of the problems with the assessments were not Certified's fault, Carabelli said.
"There were a number of homes they were not given access to, so that had to estimated," he said
Carabelli recommended that Zanetti take another look at two sections of the township - some oceanfront portions in South Seaside Park and some models in the senior villages - and re-examine the assessments.
Carabelli also recommended that Zanetti develop a "compliance plan" which would update assessments in the future.
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