Sandy Leaves Behind 'Monstrous' Financial Burden

Following storm, some residents apply for tax reductions, as costs related to the storm go up.

Homeowners who have reduced property values due to damage from Sandy will likely apply for tax relief this year, meaning that the brunt of the existing taxes - and others that may arise from the costs involved in cleaning up after the storm - may shift to others living in that town, according to several people interviewed by Patch yesterday.

Local taxes are based upon the property's value on Oct. 1 of the preceding year, but a property that suffers material depreciation after Oct. 1 but before Jan. 1, must be revalued by the town's assessor, as long as they are notified by the homeowner.

Anthony DellaPelle, an attorney with McKirdy & Riskin PA in Morristown, noted however, that property owners must notify their town's assesor quickly. He provided Patch with a letter (attached) that homeowners can use to notify the local assessor.

"For communities like Toms River and Brick, if the valuable properties on
the ocean are no longer valuable, that means the tax assessments will be reduced to reflect what they are worth now, and that means people inland are going to pay a greater proportion," DellaPelle said.

Barnegat and Waretown Township Administrator David Breeden said in remarks at the town's regularly-scheduled meeting last night that residents with homes that have been substantially damaged from the storm "can petition their local assessor and the assessor has to adjust their value ... This will have an adverse effect on the town, from a local, and county perspective."

Committee members last night authorized $3.5 million in emergency funds to cover various expenses, from debris collection to overtime pay for emergency responders.

Stafford officials noted a similar situation in the township, adding that the tax burden will likely shift to the homeowners that live further inland.

Mayor John Spodofora told Patch: "Part of being in a community is that we all share the good and the bad," Spodofora said. "It's no different than the schools. We've lost a couple dozen houses in Beach Haven West."

Breeden noted that there were 106 homes in Barnegat and 94 homes in Waretown that were "red tagged" following Sandy, which means work had to be done before the home could be deemed habitable. 

Breeden said he expects at least 75% and up to 90% of funds allocated for the disaster will be reimbursable, but he said, until such time, those funds need to be set in place. To that end, both the Stafford Council and Barnegat Township Committees yesterday authorized a shared services agreement with Ocean County for debris pickup.

township officials will amend that initial resolution accordingly, according to township officials.

"We don't yet have a full picture, but your taxes will probably have to go up," Spodofora said in response to a resident's question. "We can't carry this whole burden, it is monstrous … we are playing around with the budget to minimize the impact, but it would be wrong of me to tell you that we're not going to raise taxes."

B. Smith November 20, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Was anything mentioned at the Barnegat Township meeting about rebuilding the dock and the time frame for completion?
Colleen Platt November 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Hello, Yes, they did discuss. And yes, they plan on rebuilding, but there is as of yet no time frame. I will update as more information becomes available.
Dentss Dunnagun November 20, 2012 at 01:36 PM
are a property's elevation above sea level taken into consideration in assesing a property value or proximity to a body of water ?
Paul Clauss November 20, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I would prefer that a one time assessment be levied on property owners rather than a permanent tax increase. A tax increase would be forever even after the cost of the storm is long past placing an even greater burden on us in the long run.
foggyworld November 20, 2012 at 04:38 PM
A good deal of the costs involved are in fact being picked up by the homeowners themselves. Many of us have worked hard at cleaning up and paying for help and dumpsters. And while the insurance and FEMA pictures are not particularly rosy, where I live in Bayville we have had until recently next to no help from the town, county or federal governments. We have been on our own other than having a policeman sit in a car to wave residents in. Different areas seem to have received much more than others so please don't assume all of this is going to fall into your plates. And while we haven't had any volunteers visit, we may soon and they won't be costing others to face higher tax bills. Some politicians are saying things that need to be questioned, IMHO.
foggyworld November 20, 2012 at 11:52 PM
And I do agree that if the various towns can produce spreadsheets showing where every penny of the monstrous burden was spent and if we the people agree, a one time assessment ought to do it. And while I like Governor Christie, I am tired of paying for expensive Commissions that rarely produce anything original. This area has been studied to death and many of us have been trying for so long to get building codes improves and to do the many things that would help the Bay. The answers are available now as they have been but it take the will of those civil "servants" to buckle down and implement tough coastal building codes. That just takes a Xerox copy of North Carolina's costal code. The future should not be left in the hands of any Commission because this is NJ and they surely won't all be saints. The people of NJ need to be willing to learn more about the southern part of this State and why it is much more unique than that of the north. Investments to protect certain things will have to be made but there is no money at the moment so repairs take priority. At one point five years ago and just for the hell of it I found 17 agencies in NJ who had a say in one thing or another about Barnegat Bay. That is over management and it is just paying the double and triple dipper crowd to do the bidding of their handful of wealthy, vested interest supporters.
foggyworld November 20, 2012 at 11:58 PM
And we are fortunate to have Stevens and Princeton and Rutgers and so many independent of government groups who have been collecting data and working on these issues for years. We need to ask them to help and to work with local communities as healthy and positive plans for the future are worked out. And given the situation, we just might for a change ask those attached to universities to donate their time to this State where most of them reside. It's a form of community service but on a different level than the work many of us are doing now. We really are all in this together and no one should be profiting from this disaster. But it's up to us to insist on the State letting others who are more educated and more than politicians join in the effort to make this a much better State.
mr henry November 21, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Sounds like fool talk..money is at the shore on the Water and in the Views,,, a few people lost old houses and people want to make it sound like they are all moving away due to property values dropping..be a long time before anyone will ever say lets take a vacation and rent a house in the pine barrens..fool talk by fools.
foggyworld November 21, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Mr. Henry, I am not here to fight with you. I do know who my neighbors are and sir, most of them are older people who struggle to stay here because the taxes are difficult to meet. We also have some younger folks who work very hard for a living. Not one is a one percenter or anything close to it. I believe the highest resale value on the last home sold four years ago was $425K. And the latest sale was for $175K. There is nothing wrong with old houses but yes, all of the shoreline needs to start to meet the tough building codes in place in states like North Carolina. The views are magnificent and the responsibility to the beautiful birds in the wetlands is one we take seriously. Property values have dropped dramatically here and throughout the entire State because it has become one of the most expensive States in the union to live in. And while we pay heavily, we are close to the bottom of the list of States when it comes to getting our share of federal tax dollars returned to us. And Mr. Henry, people never rented houses out here and fewer and fewer people in this nation can even dream about having a vacation home. Those days are over for more and more Americans
foggyworld November 21, 2012 at 04:06 AM
And Mr. Henry, while this may not be the wealthy community you imagine, it is small and filled with good and decent people who deserve and need help. One older woman became a widow two months ago and when she returned to her demolished house literally flipped out. Yes, I got her help but you just cannot imagine the depth of the profound pain that is in the air we breathe out here right now. No one helped including the town which still dutifully picks up the remaining once a week garbage cans. So after realizing I couldn't with just those physically able to help do it on our own, I took to using a computer to tell anyone who wanted to help that Good Luck Point was being overlooked. It isn't fool talk to me because I keep watching broken hearts and lost dreams that belong to my neighbors who I care very much about. I am not asking for help for myself at all but I am begging anyone who has boots and gloves and brooms or tools to come out and help tidy up the mess so maybe the county or State will remove it. Every house has its own needs so all skills are welcome and if anyone has a machine that would power wash our 3 streets and doesn't require electricity, he would be hailed as a hero. We also went through very bad mud slide.
foggyworld November 21, 2012 at 04:11 AM
And I wish you well Mr. Henry and hope you are spared from this sort of disaster for all of your days. But whether it's a tornado in Kansas or a flood in NJ, these are human beings who I care about and wish you could, too. John Donne several centuries ago delivered a sermon in which he said, "No man is an island ..." That's how most of us are trying to live and with his words in our hearts, survive.
mr henry November 21, 2012 at 01:02 PM
You seem to be politically connected and have issues with facts..Fact is most people that live beyond the reach and veiw of the water do so because they didnt have the resorces to buy on LBI or a Bayfront or a Lagoon and did not want the Tax burden or insurance burden. Seniors in developments should not bear the cost of the township payroll because a few have suffered a loss..If thats the case then remove those lots from development and avoid any future claims or loss. I dont believe anyone on the water is walking away saying I will never be in a home here again nor due they think thier lots are worthless.I have helped clear mold from many houses since this has happened and will continue to do so til the job and restoration is complete. Fool talk is what we got in the statements is stafford about shifting the tax bruden inland ..You also have a Great Holiday and God Bless you for you efforts to help others.
Ray November 21, 2012 at 01:30 PM
It would be nice if all the public employees and police volunteer their time during the storm instead of getting paid overtime. The first aid, fireman, and residents do that but the others are adding to the taxpayers burden.
Ray November 21, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Mr. Breeden hired a company to file for FEMA money because he said he didn't have the expertise. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to file for FEMA funding. You document your costs and submit it. He's paid a handsome amount of money. Also, why is a Florida company being apid to pick up the trash from Sandy damages. Don't we have a NJ company that can do it.
Jp November 28, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Then why are they illegally dumping in stafford? Why is there dumping going on after hours? We have to pay for that?


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