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Monday, June 17, 2024

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Cape May City Preparing for Property Revaluation

Cape May City Preparing for Property Revaluation

By Vince Conti

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CAPE MAY – No word has come down yet from the county tax board, but City Manager Paul Dietrich knows it is only a matter of time before the city will have to conduct a revaluation of all property. The 2024 preliminary equalization table released by the tax board shows the city with a ratio of 62% when comparing its current aggregate assessed property value with its calculated true value.

Cape May has an aggregate assessed value of taxable property of $3 billion, but the true value of that property, according to the tax board’s release, is $4.8 billion.

The normal point at which the county would look to revaluation in one of its municipalities is when the ratio of assessed value to true value falls below 85%. In the chaotic and frenzied real estate market in the county during and following the pandemic, values were shifting so fast it would have been like trying to ticket a car while it is still speeding down the highway.

So far the county tax board apparently is waiting for it to settle so that a meaningful revaluation can be done; Dietrich said he expects the county to begin with revaluations soon. Where they will begin is a different question, since every municipality in the county with the exception of Woodbine is significantly below the 85% threshold.

To prepare for the revaluation, the Cape May City Council introduced a bond ordinance on Wednesday, June 5, setting a sum of $250,000 for the preparation of a digital tax map. The project, according to Dietrich, could take a year to complete.

The Herald received an email from a resident concerned that the ordinance was labeled a special emergency appropriation and wanting to know the nature of the emergency. Chief Financial Officer Kevin Haine explained in an email that the use of the special appropriation was dictated by state budget law, which does not allow the preparation of a tax map as part of a standard bond ordinance.

According to Haine, “special emergency” is just a term used by the state for this category of ordinance, even if the project itself isn’t necessarily “special” or an “emergency.”

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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