Teaneck Property Revaluation Set to Advance

Township preparing to conduct revaluation after flood of tax appeals

The Township Council is expected to vote Tuesday to move ahead with a property revaluation after facing a deluge of successful tax appeals.

An ordinance introduced in July to spend $712,470 on the revaluation notes the process would not be finished for the 2014 tax cycle, leaving open the possibility Teaneck could be on the hook for future tax refunds.

The large amount of properties to inspect and process of advertising to find an appraiser for the work were cited as reasons the town wouldn’t be able to finish the revolution by Oct. 1, according to the ordinance.

“Bergen County Board of Taxation has expressed its willingness to extend the completion date as of October 1, 2014 for the Tax Year 2015, subject to the Township of Teaneck diligently proceeding with such revaluation,” the ordinance states.

The council is expected to award a contract for the revaluation to Whippany-based Appraisal Systems, Inc., which submitted the lowest bid at $712,470.

Residents have criticized township officials for not acting sooner to launch a property revaluation as it faced a rise in appeals. In April, the state’s Local Finance Board approved Teaneck’s plan to issue refunding bonds over three years to cover $2.2 million is successful appeals from 2012.

Art Vatsky August 19, 2013 at 04:02 AM
As part of the loyal opposition at Teaneck Council meetings, I am afraid the Council has taken its eye off the ball on policy once again. Chuck Powers was the most eloquent of the residents that raised the property tax issue over and over, only to be ignored by the Council while it spent time on other, less pressing, issues. We still have a 4 day work week at town hall and no DPW truck garage but we do have spending on a $21,000 bathroom only recently stopped, an overelaborate soccer field project at Votee Park, and an expansion of town hall that appears justifiable on grounds of Council ego. This Council is out of control and needs to be replaced.
Jacob August 19, 2013 at 09:18 AM
Thank you, Council, for authorizing this revaluation. It is sorely needed. Please stay focused on the important issues.
NC August 19, 2013 at 01:49 PM
This is great! By the time we see any tax breaks, I'll be living in another town.
Barbara Ley Toffler August 19, 2013 at 05:19 PM
In early 2012, Jamie Tighe, our town tax assessor recommended that we do a REASSESSMENT ( cheaper than a revaluation) for 2013. My then council colleagues decided to ignore his recommendation, hence the horrendous cost of 2013 successful tax appeals. I can only assume the township wants this kind of irresponsibility and continued tax increases, since it voted for the perpetrators. Why are you upset folks? These arrogant ignorant men on your council are what you wanted and voted for!!
Barbara Ley Toffler August 19, 2013 at 05:20 PM
BTW Jacob, the Council did not choose to authorize the reval. The state demanded that they do so!!!
Art Vatsky August 19, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Barbara is right! It is not only WHAT a council does but WHEN it does it that counts. The Teaneck Council has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into doing the right thing. Besides, the REVAL is not the only example. The DPW garage resolution (~$4 million) was passed in 1999. There may be a reason to not go forward with that resolution (~8 million in Court judgments against Teaneck) but a simpler, nearly as effective, pre-fab building could have been erected in the interim. If enough Teaneck citizens look at Council record, there will be new Council next Spring. Think about an effective Council that can rebuild Teaneck's reputation for good governance.
zizi August 20, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Art: When you are going to stop talking about the garage? It is time to outsource all vehicle maintenance and save some money. All the vehicles should be bought with maintenance contracts. Why are you so consistently insistent on spending more of tax payers money? Why can't you think out of box and have the interest of the tax payer in mind for a change instead of special interest groups?
Barbara Ley Toffler August 21, 2013 at 09:08 AM
Since our DPW is one of the few well-functioning departments in Teaneck, and Fran Wilson, superintendent, by far the best dept. head, I'd hate to see them go. There is such wild waste Anne disregard for residents in so many area, Zizi, get involved to elect responsible, educated, knowledgeable people to the council next May. That's what's important.
zizi August 21, 2013 at 09:33 AM
I see no candidates who will work for the tax payers..... all have agendas to serve interest groups..... We need people who will never agree to tax hike.... keep the costs down by using new ideas like outsourcing cost centers... things that can be done cheaper using non-employees.... saving in payroll, healthcare and retirement..... Reduce the waste by never agreeing to pay raises (Teaneck employees make much much more than our peer towns)..... eliminate the ever increasing useless projects that TM/mr. broughton seem to come up with... like spending 20k on a bathroom in an abandoned building.... what a waste...... Put a ban on borrow and and spend...... make balanced budget a requirement every year.... put BOE budget on ballet box... letting tax payers decide what is appropriate..... The list goes on.....
zizi August 21, 2013 at 09:40 AM
By the way... DPW is such a shame... they are slow as hell... they took about 2 hours to grind down roots of a tree..... a private company could have done that under 30 minutes....... anyway.... the town can save a lot of money if we ban huge gigantic trees on side walks..... these trees destroy sidewalks every few years and cause extra expense... they also pose serious life threatening problems.... these trees have killed people.... destroyed property..... We could probably save half of DPW's budget if we eliminate the need to service these huge trees..... Leaf collection can be automated by using suction trucks that can just drive by collecting leaves unlike the age old method Teaneck uses that involves dozens of workers, the machinery, the upkeep of these huge machines, their pays, their benefits and it is a slow process.... not efficient at all...... The list is long....... taxes are on the rise......
Art Vatsky August 21, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Zizi: Why do I harp on the DPW garage? Because outdoor truck work is slower, more prone to problems, likely less safe. Ever work in winter when your fingers get stiff? Ever work in summer where sweat is running into your eyes? Because I am an engineer who has worked indoors and out with technicians and I currently teach the subject. Because it has probably cost us millions in vehicles and labor hours. But don't believe me, just ask all the other DPWs in Bergen County if they have truck garages. Ans. They do. Here is another money saver: Lets keep our fleet of fire trucks and ambulances outdoors 24/7/365. (I am just joking here) Imagine cleaning Ice and Snow off an Ambulance or Fire Truck in an emergency. ONLY our DPW trucks have to do that and they must clear the roads before the fire trucks go out!!
Art Vatsky August 21, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Last night's Council Meeting was a doozy. Sounds like a REVALUATION IS ABOUT 10X MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A REASSESSMENT. Alan Sohn reported that seven other Bergen County municipalites got away with REASSESSMENTS but Teaneck waited too long to act and is being forced to do a full REVALUATION. The Mayor tried to explain that the other towns will have do a REVAL as well but that doesn't seem to be happening in any of the other towns. Meanwhile, our property holders are split into those that get adjustments and pay less and those that don't and pay more. I don't call this good government. Do you?
zizi August 23, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Art: I question the work you mentioned..... Teaneck doesn't need to do it.... simply outsource it.... all maintenance should be outsourced..... by coupling vehicle purchase with maintenance.... the town can save big.... eliminating all those employees and their benefits.... A simple structure to safeguard vehicles can be constructed rather cheaply..... shouldn't need air conditioning or heating..... The trick is to think out of box.....
zizi August 23, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Art: we lack leadership that can think out of box..... and in the interest of the tax payers...... That is the real problem..... majority of persons involved in the town business have agendas that do not include the interests of the tax payers.....
Art Vatsky August 23, 2013 at 07:56 AM
Zizi: "simply outsource it" does not resonate with me. First, it is not simple. Second, while they may be cheaper at first, that may not be true later on. Finally, can they be relied on to be there in an emergency? Yes, a relatively inexpensive structure could be built but it would be used for repair of trucks primarily. In 1999, the Council approved about $4 million for a garage. I think the legal decisions against Teaneck that came in the early 2000's - about $8 million put the kabash on that. Then there was the rebuilding of the Police station - twice. Those of us who don't think it necessary to know the recent history of Teaneck are mistaken. We must know or we will reward the guilty and punish the innocent.
zizi August 24, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Art: I am sorry to disagree with you. The vehicle maintenance can be had for cheap if it is bought with the original purchase. If one compares the true cost of owning a garage - (cost of land, building, maintaining the building, equipment, maintaining the building, supplies, salaries, benefits, retirement benefits, insurance... blah blah) one can see that outsourcing vehicle maintenance is a no brainer. This option is clearly superior to having it in house. But as I pointed out in my previous responses... there are plenty of people around with agendas... who force their hands when it comes to decision making in Teaneck.... hence the high taxes...... Can Teaneck spend another 4million (1999 estimate) on this? My answer is to outsource the whole darn thing..... and save money upfront and onwards..... but I am sure there are others who do not think out of box and have agendas.....
Art Vatsky August 28, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Zizi: The rate for a trained, certified diesel technician is over $100 an hour when you factor all the costs you mention. I sense the people we outsource to will want to make a profit - no harm in that - but I think it better than our vehicles are worked on in Teaneck by technicians who work only on Teaneck vehicles. That means our trucks are priority number 1. When a sewer backs up, or a tree falls down, I don't think residents will want to wait very long. We deserve, we need and we have paid for a truck repair garage in Teaneck. Ask the Council and Manager why we are not getting it. I am serious. Ask them.
zizi August 28, 2013 at 01:58 PM
The assumption that outsourcing means outage in service is absurd. SLAs (service level agreements) can be negotiated and are standard business practices in such contracts. I assume some one who is in the business of providing such a service would have better trained professionals and facilities than a town like Teaneck. They probably can provide service faster, quicker and better.


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