As South Brunswick is still wrestling with an influx of new formal discussions will begin Tuesday evening on the 2013 budget and the impact of a possible revaluation program.
Last year, 391 tax appeals were filed in the township, up from about 180 appeals in 2011, when about 100 companies successfully sued the township for a tax reduction. That reduction resulted in the loss of over $100 million in ratables, $98.5 million of which came from commercial and industrial tax appeals.
Over the last seven years, the township's ratable base has decreased by over $180 million, in no small part due to the increase in tax appeals.
"The biggest concern we have is the fact that these suits are rising from people appealing their taxes," said Mayor Frank Gambatese last month.
With the continued flood of tax appeals showing no sign of slowing down, the council will discuss Tuesday evening whether the township should pursue a property revaluation program, which appraises all real property according to its full and fair value.
While some residents may see their assessments, and consequently their tax bills increase under a township-wide revaluation, the process is intended to correct inequities in the tax base that may develop over time.
Last year, the council attempted to revamp the tax appeal process by lowering the threshold for settlements on appeals. Previously, any settlement that was greater than $50,000 had to be brought by the South Brunswick Tax Assessor to the Township Council for approval. At a meeting last April, the council lowered the settlement limit from $50,000 to $25,000.
"(Revaluation) would be a last ditch effort that we may have to do to stabilize the suits that are coming in," Gambatese said. "Once we get a firm handle on how many suits there are this year, then we'll look at where we are. If we have an increase in true value then that's a good thing, but if it drops below 44 percent again then we may seriously need to look at different options."
At Tuesday's meeting, the council will also begin public discussions on the budget for the upcoming year. The Township Council approved a budget last year that held the tax rate at 72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
South Brunswick's average total tax bill was $8,520.57 last year, which remained above the state average of $7,870.28, but fell in line with the statewide average increase of 1.7 percent, according to Star-Ledger analysis.
well below the state average of $2,324.66.
"Every town is faced with the same issues," Gambatese said. "But we believe we have tremendous potential for businesses coming in and helping to offset the loss of ratables. We had a great year last year, so we hope that continues. We have a lot of companies coming in and submitting applications to expand or relocate here, so hopefully that helps us out."
The Township Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the township Municipal Building, located at 540 Ridge Road in Monmouth Junction.