Council Approves Tax Shift, Residential Exemption

Owners of condominiums, one-, and two-family homes should see a decrease on their tax bills next year, while owners of three-family homes will see a very slight increase.

Monday night, the City Council unanimously adopted the minimum residential tax factor that shifts a greater tax burden onto commercial properties, and a 35 percent residential exemption. The residential exemption, the highest allowed in the state, reduces the tax bill by excluding a portion of the residential property value from taxation.

With the votes by the council, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he expects the residential tax rate for the coming year to be $13.24 per $1,000 of valuation, and the commercial rate to be $25.72.

“The two votes … provide the most benefits possible, statutorily, for residential taxpayers,” said Ambrosino.

While valuations for residential homes went up over the past year, Council President Roy Avellaneda said the reason the tax bill is likely to go down for most homeowners is because of a recent revaluation of larger apartment buildings of four or more units.

“The issue that I had raised a few years ago was that I was looking at the values of the larger multi-families and that they weren’t assessed properly,” said Avellaneda. “I asked the city manager to look into this, and they did.”

The city’s assessors, working with an outside consultant, found a 30 percent increase in the values of the four-unit plus residential buildings. That increase, the council president said, created $284 million in new valuation for the city and almost $4 million in new tax revenue.

“That means those multi-families are going to be paying the $4 million we are asking for and it is not going to be borne by the single family homeowners and condo owners,” said Avellaneda.

Thanks to the revaluation of the larger residential buildings, Avellaneda said the smaller homeowners will be paying less in property taxes than they currently are.

District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero said he did have an issue with the slight increase of about one percent for three-family homeowners when the taxes for other smaller owner-occupied homes were decreasing. He said those homeowners deserved just as much of a break as the owner of one- and two-family homes.

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