21 Church Street, Vernon, NJ 07462
This Special Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on March 29, 2023 via Zoom Webinar and in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council Vice President Buccieri presiding.
STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE
Adequate Notice of this Special Meeting was provided to the public and the press on March 21, 2023 and was posted at the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A.10:4-7.
SALUTE TO THE FLAG
Council President Buccieri led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.
Present were Council Members Peg Distasi, Patrick Rizzuto, Bradley Sparta, Joseph Tadrick and Council President Buccieri. Also present were Mayor Howard Burrell, Business Administrator Tina Kraus, CFO, Donelle Bright, Municipal Clerk Marcy Gianattasio and Township Attorney Josh Zielinski.
PRESENTATION – REASSESMENT
Kristen Umansky, Tax Assessor
Darren Raymond - Senior Appraiser & Project Manager from Associated Appraisal Group
Melissa Rockwell - Sussex County Tax Administrator
John Fierro - President of the Sussex County Board of Taxation
George Conway - Commissioner on the Sussex County Board of Taxation
See attached Power Point Presentation
PUBLIC COMMENT (Limited to 5 Minutes On Any Topic)
Council President Buccieri asked for a motion to open the meeting to Public Comments.
All members were in favor.
Ann Larson – express concern about the reassessment program and how houses are chosen to be inspected.
Darren Raymond, Associated Appraisal Group – explained that Associated Appraisal Group does value the safety of residents and their privacy. You can call them and let them know that you do not want them to come in the house. There is also a virtual option for inspections. Background checks are done on all of their inspectors and they utilize experienced inspectors.
Mike Chirichiello – expressed concern about the reassessment program.
Peter Knipe – expressed concern about the reassessment program.
Heidi Caprese – expressed concern regarding the reassessment program.
Sean Clarkin – expressed concern regarding reassessment program.
Sally Rinker – thanked Council President Buccieri for having this meeting tonight.
Tom McClachrie – expressed concern regarding the reassessment program.
Jessica Paladini – expressed concern regarding the reassessment program and how this meeting was handled in regards to questions from the public.
Seeing no one else from the public wishing to come forward, Council President Buccieri asked for a motion to close the meeting to Public Comments.
All members were in favor.
Mayor Burrell would like the public to know that the Mayor and Council has taken the public concerns very seriously. There have been several meetings for this subject and this one has the best turnout. He thanked the Council for their leadership.
Council Member Distasi thanked everyone for being here and she apologized for some of the insults that have been received and the rudeness.
Council Member Tadrick thanked everyone for coming.
Council Member Sparta asked if the property record cards are searchable on the Township website.
Ms. Umansky said no but anyone can email her for this information.
Council Member Sparta asked if we can make it searchable.
Ms. Umansky explained that these records have some information that the public may not want on the website.
Council Member Sparta feels that part of the issue is that between 2008 and 2019 everyone’s taxes went up approximately the same unless they did an improvement or a tax appeal. He feels that we are seeing wild swings with this assessment program not only in the assessed value but also taxes. Council Member Sparta feels that in years past you could budget for your taxes. He wonders if there was some way to do the annual program but still have some uniformity on the tax increases and decreases.
The whole point of the reassessment is to make sure the tax burden is distributed based on market value. It will change taxes year to year, some will see increase and some will see a decrease.
Council Member Sparta questioned if the inspection is used in the appraisal of the house.
Ms. Umansky explained that it is a matter of inspecting the home to make sure the data is correct which would calculate the approval portion of the assessment for that property only. The mass appraisal model was built strictly based on sales and everyone’s data is part of that model. The inspection is only coming up with the improvement portion of your assessment and the market analysis is what we are determining the land formulas used to come up with what the total assessed value or market value of your home is.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT COMMENTS
Council President Buccieri thanked the professionals that were here and Kristen for putting the presentation together. She thanked the public for their participation and hopes they will call Kristen with any questions.
At 9:49 pm Council Member Sparta made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Council Member Distasi.
All were in favor.
Marcy Gianattasio, RMC, CMR
Minutes approved: April 24, 2023