Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Paramount Gains Tax Appeals

A chance visit to the tax assessor's office this week uncovered the fact that the largest owner of commercial properties downtown won tax appeals resulting in a $1.3 million reduction in the assessed valuation of 18 properties formerly valued at $4.2 million.

In 2007, Paramount Property Management acquired 45 city storefronts from the Pittis Estate, many in the prime downtown shopping district. At the time, Plaintalker compiled a list of the properties, many of which were under limited liability company names, but all with the same address in Bayonne. Plaintalker's chart included the block and lot, street address, name under which each property was listed in the tax book and the assessed value of each property.

Having written a blog post about 110 East Fifth Street, this writer realized it was not on the chart. Upon checking the books in the tax assessor's office, it became clear that the assessed value of many Paramount properties had changed. The value of some had dropped by over 50 percent, meaning proportionately less taxes had to be paid by the owner. Overall, the average reduction on the 18 properties was 32 percent.

It is a legitimate thing to file a tax appeal. The petitioner must demonstrate proof that the value has declined, based on values of nearby properties, among other things. Plaintalker makes no claim to understand the fine points, but here is a link to a state brochure on the process. The question that comes to mind, however, is how the process may differ when one entity owns the bulk of one category of property. Paramount owns a large share of commercial property in Plainfield, just as Connolly owns most of the residential multi-family buildings. Although Plaintalker did not document recent tax appeals for Connolly, several have taken place, according to the tax assessor's office.

These reductions may just be a drop in the bucket. In researching the value of exempt properties recently, Plaintalker learned that the total value of all property in Plainfield is $1,260,499,421. Believe it or not, it has been higher in past years. A million here, a million there in reduced value is worthy of notice, but maybe it will not break the bank.

How to change the trend upwards? That is the question. As long as tax abatements and PILOTs are added to the mix, revenues will decline and property owners will have to chip in more to meet the cost of running the city.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...


Unfortunately for homeowners commercial property revaluation is quite common and is the first step commercial property owners take when the market goes down.

What homeowners can do is just the same. There have been cities that support this move and even have had a mass revaluation of entire areas so they don't lose their homeowners.

I believe with the small amount of homewoners that we are in the city we could benefit from a "city-wide homeowners association", specially if Robinson-Briggs wins re-election. Knowing of this revaluation makes me wonder how are we, the city, is ever going to move ahead.

I hope with this reduction Paramount reduces its rents and invests a small fortune in marketing their empty spaces. It would only be fair that in exchange of a tax reduction, they invest in bettering the commercial areas they own.

Thanks for the story.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess who gets to make up that $1.3M? You the the home owner. Just to put this in perspective, this $1.3M will result in 2.7% tax increase for each and every homeowner. That is before any other increases - like cost of living and fuel, health insurance etc.

So if your property taxes are $5,000 then you will see a 2.7% tax increase just from this alone or $135.00 per year.

After that we still have to add the other tax increases. Ouch!

12:23 PM  

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