Residents speak out at assessment hearing
WANTAGE — About 15 residents attended a public hearing on Thursday, May 1, to voice their concerns regarding the Lake Neepaulin Dam Special Assessment.
Although the meeting was not for residents to debate the assessment with Tax Assessor Kristy Lockburner and Township Administrator James Doherty, they both took comments from the public.
Many residents spoke more than once with concerns of fairness regarding the special assessment. As expressed in other meetings, concerns were brought up about being assessed around $279 per year and still being forbidden to use the lake.
Lockburner addressed specific residents’ questions regarding: the tax map, Tier 2 and proximity to the lake as compared to a neighbor.
Doherty said that the next repayment of the loan will be in September, and the town hopes to mail special assessment bills to the residents by the third week of June.
Others said the special assessment was a burden and equaled their monthly food budget.
Doherty said a payment plan could be arranged with Tax Collector Melissa Caton. He also said the bills should go out earlier in 2015 than they did this year.
When asked by residents if they had any further recourse regarding their assessment, he said there is a state provision for further challenge by appealing to the state after residents receive their bills.
Still others commented that the assessment was “Taxation without representation or Special assessment without representation.” Many were frustrated that “it is a done deal.”
Some members of the public were concerned that no members of the governing body was present at the hearing.
On Friday, May 2, Mayor William DeBoer said the purpose of the tax assessor hearing was for residents to ask questions regarding their assessment. He said the governing body was not present so Lockburner could answer their questions.
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