22 Aug 2014
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Tax Talk Back on the Table in Hopatcong

Resolution on the council's agenda would extend third quarter tax payment deadlines to Aug. 30.

Tax Talk Back on the Table in Hopatcong
Last month, the residents of Hopatcong came out in droves and sat in shifts to have their say about their new and greatly larger property tax bills that came due Aug. 1.

On Wednesday, they will get another chance at public comment as the tax issue is on the agenda in the form of an extension in payment deadlines. If passed, residents would have until Aug. 30 to pay their third-quarter taxes.

The new higher taxes are the result of a reassessment done over the past year that dropped the total value of the borough by 30 percent, which lowered the values of the majority of homes and forced up the tax rate.

Appraisal Systems, the company charged with performing the reassessment, estimated the 2013 assessed value of the borough’s 7,128 taxable items at $1.415 billion, down from the 2012 assessment of $1.996 billion.

The reassessment was done last year at the behest of the Sussex County Board of Taxation because the borough’s assessment to market value ratio had reached 114 percent, Mayor Sylvia Petillo said.

Another factor was that Hopatcong was slapped with 360 tax appeals in 2012 and is anticipating more than 500 this year.

Residents who attended the meeting held at the Defiance Firehouse had little patience for the largely technical explanation for the tax increase. In between explaining that the  tax increase — in some cases 30 percent — could drive them out of town if they could sell their home, residents complained about the quality of Hopatcong schools, some going as far as suggesting that the local school district should merge with another district. 

Also on the hit list was the condition of the roads, the number of police cars, rude borough employees and the amount of weeds in Lake Hopatcong.

Wednesday's meeting will be held at the Municipal Building at 111 River Styx Road in Hopatcong. Will you be there? 

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