Tax Hike Disputed
To the Editor:
The accusation by the Little Egg Harbor tax assessor (“Watch the Watchdogs,” 2/15) that I gave out misinformation needs further examination. A review of the assessor’s letter leaves one confused as to the point that he is attempting to make and the real reason why he felt compelled to make it.
The assessor stated that the actual loss in ratables as a result of Superstorm Sandy was $52,984,700, not the $540 million that has been quoted in most media including the Press of Atlantic City. It appears that the assessor is attempting to play down the impact of the storm on the lost ratables and place emphasis on the national downturn of property values and the township’s reassessment.
Garrett Loesch, the township administrator, said the fall of the housing economy and the impact of Sandy put the township in a difficult situation, a good portion of the loss coming from storm damage. The fact, as the assessor claims, that the storm played a small part in creating the largest tax increase in the township’s history does not lessen the impact of this increase on the taxpayer.
The letter writer claims that the average annual residential tax dollar increase in 2015 was approximately $7. If anyone believes that, I have a bridge they can buy. My residential taxes alone increased by more than $750 and some others increased over $1,000.
Ocean County ordered a revaluation only after receiving and granting an insurmountable number of appeals while the assessor and the township committee argued over the need for one. The value of our homes fell to an all-time low while our taxes jumped to an all-time high. After three years of getting municipal, state and federal assistance in the form of grants, the Sandy tax landed. Little or no preparation for that day of reckoning was made. Spending went on as usual.
So call it as you wish, the fact was the loss of ratables caused the highest tax increase in the township’s history.
Little Egg Township