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Appeal Saves Building Owner $600K in Taxes

More than 1,100 appeals on property assessments were filed in 2012.

Officials settled a tax appeal between the township and the owner of a multi-story office building next to the Willowbrook Mall.

Willowbrook Center LLC will receive a $600,000 refund for taxes it paid between 2009 and 2012.

The land the building is on is assessed at nearly $3.3 million. The building is assessed at more than $4.9 million. Willowbrook Center LLC paid nearly $528,000 in taxes in 2012. 

Dorothy Kreitz, the township’s chief tax assessor, said that the number of appeals filed against the township has skyrocketed in recent years.

“Just a few years ago 39 appeals were filed,” Kreitz said. “More than 1,100 were filed in 2012.”

The council approves tax appeals at meetings constantly. Tax appeals are filed with the Passaic County Board of Taxation. Taxes themselves cannot be appealed; only the assessment of a property’s value can be appealed.

Appeals must be filed before April 1.

“I feel, personally, we’re settling these appeals too fast and too easy,” said 2nd Ward Councilman Alan Purcell. The building is located in the ward Purcell represents. “Every time we settle, because our administration feels that’s the best course of action, the residents have to make up the difference.”

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Bobtwo January 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM
This is a sign that real estate taxes are out of control. There seems to be no relief in sight.
Scondo January 17, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Declining values and being unfriendly toward private property interest are coming home to roost all over the country. Private Property was a recoginzed constitutional interest. The Govt, has burdened the private property owner with fees, taxes and regulation to the point that the very idea of ownership is losing favor. While the gun folks scream about 2nd amendment they remain silent as it respects the increasing burdens that government places on private property ownership. We have regulated ourselves into a real corner. With these burdens comes lowered value and that Alan is the conundrum the council finds itself in. Noting parenthetically that Gov. Christie has failed miserably in his attempts to rein in property taxes---the sine qua non of his campaign.
George January 17, 2013 at 05:03 PM
this particular case shouldn't surpise anyone, seems like the assessed value of that was overstated. How valuable could that parcel be when it floods 2 to 5 times a year making it unaccesible? Also, take a look across the street and see crumbled concrete for the past 5 years with no construction in sight for the foreseeable future. Thats a pretty good indicator of its value. Seems like the administration better get its act in gear and get some economic development going in town. Otherwise, you can expect more successful appeals.
Bobtwo January 17, 2013 at 05:33 PM
They have created large departments within the township that are feeding off the tax payers. You are correct Secondo, they have regulated thenselves into a corner. As for the governor, I have not seen any relief in taxes and do not expect to. We have a cap on the school superintendents salary so what dies he do, hires an assistant for 160K per.
Scondo January 17, 2013 at 06:59 PM
School Superintendents are licensed with dubious credentials. The credential package was legislatively created, thus the pool of licensees is limited and they then get to job hop and pump the compensation level. That fault lies squarely with the state legislators , who of course are acting at the behest of NJEA. No secrets there, but a lot of people are not aware of pircipals license and super's license which resticts the pool of potential hires.
Bobtwo January 17, 2013 at 08:13 PM
I am vaguely aware of the required credentials and it looks as though they have a closed union. A corporate administrator that oversaw millions or hundreds of millions of dollars of business would not qualify.
john colligan January 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM
if you think your property taxes are high now just wait ' who do you think is going to pay for sandy?
John Smith January 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Passaic Township and of course Wayne Township have the highest property taxes compared to incomes and property values in the nation. This is what the statistics show. The government in place has been spending property owners' money for many decades and we are seeing the relust. The worst has yet to come. They have decided (with the help of corrupt "judges", such as McVeigh) that they can violate the constitutional prohibitions against local or private taxes, and they have pushed the smart (i.e., business owners) money out of town. Then, they spend millions and millions of dollars on "special needs" kids; about forty percent of the spending on the local schools is on "special" kids. They are generous with other people's money. The end is near and it will not be pretty at all.
Scondo January 18, 2013 at 04:36 PM
First of all the local educational providers have a mandate to main stream "special needs" students and provide for their education. You may recall a certain Bush ERA program known as no child left behind. Each and every child regardless of condition and disability is entitled to maximize educational potential . Frequently that potential is less than that of a non disabled student, but nevertheless the child is entitled to that service. The cost is expensive and parents of students seeking that service frequently have to fight to receive the services they are entitled to. So before you go off half cocked at least try to learn that of which you speak. Some of the most dedicated educational professionals you will ever meet work in the area of "special needs". Gov. Christie had proposed a countywide special services educational system that would replace the outsourcing to private special needs programs or individualized town systems of special education. The cost reduction would have been great, however, the home rule and the interested beneficial recipients pretty much killed the idea and Chrisite of course got sidetracked , but that is another story.
Bobtwo January 18, 2013 at 11:41 PM
It seems that a very high proportion of our tax dollars go towards education and associated areas. In doing so we neglect the poor. the sick, both elderly and young. the disable and so many others. Everything seems to be centered around education and all others are ignored.
John Smith January 19, 2013 at 08:10 AM
The municipality's home rule power is limited, as is the legislature's, by the constitution, whether that limitation is express or implied. The home rule charter may not be inconsistent with the constitution. One uniformity provision is Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 9, of the New Jersey Constitution, the prohibition of “private, local or special laws.” This provision, located in the article on the legislative branch, prohibits laws that are not of general application, i.e., laws that apply to some but not all similarly-situated parties or parts of the state, such as in one municipality but not elsewhere. It explicitly applies to laws relating to taxation and to the public schools. Just to see the magnitude of the problem facing the homeowners in Wayne, a home assessed at $550,000 in Englewood Cliffs pays just $4,500 in total taxes (school, county and municipal); in Wayne, a home assessed the same amount would pay $20,000. This is violation of the equal protection clause. According to the federal policy (20 U.S. Code, Sec. 3401- “The Congress finds that:…. (3) parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their children..”), it is the children’s parents responsible for their education and not the neighbor. If the child has a right to an education, it is the parent who must provide and pay for it and not the neighbor. The federal government has been refusing to provide funding for the schools.
wyldthang18 January 21, 2013 at 07:13 PM
well if the town doesn't start turning itself around soon then its just going to be another sh*t hole. all the money keeps going to the school districts, while every business around is falling apart. All you ever hear about is how everyone wants to live in wayne because the schools are so great but that seems to be the only bright spot in our town. when the schools fall apart we are sunk. As for taxes why aren't they regulated to the number of kids you have in school or will be putting in school? Why do i have to pay such high taxes for the neighbors kid to go to school for free? Shouldn't my money go to the maintenance of the structure at the least, not the teachers salary or the supplies the kids use? Let the parents pay more.
Pad February 17, 2013 at 03:40 AM
I filed an appeal on my taxes and won. Why can't I get a refund for the last several years instead of 1 year. The tax office in Wayne is assessing houses way over thier real value. Unless of course you have friends in the town government. I know one house near Alps and Ratzer that has done major renovations and also an addition and his taxe are lower then many houses that don't even compare to his. Guess he knows the right person. When I appealed my taxes the town came up wth comparable homes, all were newer, had more square footage and one even had a built in pool. When I brought this up to them they said it didn't matter. I won my appeal but I still feel my house is over assessed. Next year I will not settle with the town I will go to tax court.

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