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Brick's Post-Sandy Tax Assessments in Flux

Could mean temporary budgetary squeeze

State officials are continuing to debate, internally, how property tax reassessments may work in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

But residents whose homes are unliveable or, in some cases, destroyed, continue to pepper officials in Brick and beyond about the ramifications of paying tax bills on properties whose improvement values may now be lower.

In Brick, where both mainland and barrier island sections were hit hard by the massive storm, temporary revaluations could spell budgetary issues, at least on a temporary basis.

Business Administrator Scott Pezarras said Monday that he has participated in conference calls and meetings with county tax administrators and the state's Division of Taxation.

Pezarras expects state officials to outline how municipal governments should proceed in handling requests for reassessments in the wake of the storm.

"I'm hopeful that by the end of this week, we will have clearer direction," said Pezarras, explaining that officials are in talks with the Christie administration.

Some predicted the state's answer could come by way of a legislative solution of an executive order issued by the governor.

If a large enough group of property owners request reassessments, it could affect the township budget or residents' overall tax bills, though likely for only a short period of time – perhaps as short as one quarter – as the majority of homes will be repaired before the end of the year.

Reassessments will only take into account the improvements on a lot, Pezarras said. The assessed value of the land itself will not change.

As for long term implications, Pezarras said that in areas of the country previously affected by hurricanes, property values near the water actually went up over time, since homes were repaired and rebuilt using modern materials under updated zoning laws that require more storm-resistant construction techniques.

Oceanfront real estate, heavily damaged in Brick during Sandy, was an area where prices rose in South Florida, for example.

In Brick, the barrier island portion of the town represents about 12 percent of the township's overall ratable base.

Betty Ann November 28, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Good suggestion, Joe. And, yes Mike is correct, it was a gas main rupture, well before the storm hit land. In other States such as FLA, when a storm is coming, the utility companies automatically shut down in the areas that might be affected. It's my understanding that the shutoff for this area was actuall in Wall twp? hmmmm. NJNG, how come you didn't shut off the gas to the island?
Missing Brick November 28, 2012 at 07:24 PM
^^^yes, my point exactly, just explained much more eloquently^^^ Recovery will not be measured in week or even months. In the case of my neighborhood, I'd say a couple of years and looking at photos of LBI, I'd bet five years. Also, anyone who has been to New Orleans both pre-and-post Katrina can see that some places may be changed permanently. Yes, there are some places that should not re-build most likely...but others where matters of finance and short supply of skilled labor will really stretch things out. One quarter is a callous approximation on the repairs anyone on the water is about to undergo with few exceptions. I would bet in the town of Brick, there is barely a single home on the waterfront that didn't sustain any damage. My home never flooded before in 35 years...so asking for a quick action by taxes and a bit more participation in recovery by JCP&L and/or FEMA is not out of line. Our taxes are some of the highest in the whole country by all accounts, now is the time for them to ACT and not just consider as homeowners are struggling with 10,000 other details. I have to rent a car each time I want to get back to my home right now...is it truly so much to ask that they address us with some immediate solutions without each owner going through a timely appeal process with uncertain outcome as the best scenario. (and status quo soon replaced by even higher property taxes as a worst out come.)
Mrgrumpass November 29, 2012 at 02:47 PM
There is a bit of an advantage to this problem, it will show the town administration and the people who much less the town can do with in many areas!
Lauren December 01, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Normandy beach residents need to come together how do they expect us to pay taxes on homes we cant live in its going to take a lot of time to repair how can they expect us to say when are homes will be done getting contractors is almost im possible are homes are completely devestated we need to revolt
LP December 04, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Hang in there let them mediate the issue at hand. This devastation is not something that the township or any of the officials ever had to deal with. Surely there were township officals that were just as affected as the rest. Let them work out a soultion before the linching begins. In some areas land value will be affected and they will have to make adjustments to the assessments. These are basicly issues with CAFRA and the DEP. They have been out taking ariels the day after the storm looking for the means-high water line and the tidal lines. That is going to be where your argument at hand will be. So you sell that portion to the DEP. But keep in mind that once you sell it will no longer be yours. But you will save on your tax assessment. This is just food for thought. Not saying that is the way to go, but it has been done.

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