To the Editor:
Much is being said about Gloucester County’s current experiment with countywide property assessments, a program first championed by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney.
For years, local property reassessments, if they were done at all, were the domain of assessors chosen by individual towns, a system that led to wildly varied numbers across communities, many of which shared many similarities.
This created an artificial notion that some communities were “low tax,” while others were “high tax.” Equalizing values for assessment purposes across the county is designed to eliminate those disparities and, in the end, create a system that is actually fairer for all taxpayers.
Gloucester County has been a statewide model for how sharing services can lead to direct savings for taxpayers.
A 2010 study showed that the county’s implementation of shared services produced municipal savings of nearly $24.4 million, an average savings of 18 cents per $100 off local property tax rates, and a direct property tax savings of $270 for the average homeowner. Given the contracts granted to multiple municipal tax assessors, those savings can only be enhanced.
I don’t like paying property taxes. I don’t know anyone who does. But the goal must be to create a system that is fair to every property owner, not subject to the whims of town borders. We should allow the program to work to completion.