Wantage tax base increases

| 14 Feb 2018 | 01:02

    Based on information just released by the Sussex County Board of Taxation, Wantage Township's Total Assessment for 2018 increased by $749,070 to $1,198,925,512. But, before you congratulate the members of the Township Committee, consider the details.
    If the assessed values for the two properties that the Committee wants to buy-as "Open Space" had been removed from the 2018 tax list, the increase would have been a whopping $73,470.
    The biggest increase was for "Apartments" at $1.9 million. Next was "Vacant Land" (not "Open Space") at about $1.8 million. Question: Where did they find about $1.8 million of new "Vacant Land" in Wantage?
    It should be noted that the N.J. Division of Taxation on page 597 of its Handbook For New Jersey Assessors, Revised January 2016, provided the following definition for ' Class 1: "Vacant Land" means land above and under water in its original, indestructible, immobile state. It is idle land, not actively used for agriculture or any other purposes. It is unused acreage, approved subdivided land, on the market or held for sale.'
    The biggest loser was "Commercial" at $1.6 million. But not to worry, rumor has it that we might have a parking lot in our future. Next was Class 2 Residential at about $1.3 million.
    For 2018 the assessed value of the average residential property decreased to $260,598.79.
    In 2018 the residential properties, Class 2 and 3A, will pay over 86 percent of the taxes.
    What many people don't recognize is that Wantage has 303 parcels of tax exempt property (municipal, school, church, state, federal, etc owned properties including any improvements) with a total assessed value of $91,525,800, an increase of $1,558,500 from 2017. The two properties mentioned above will add another $675,600 to this. Probably even more, because the farmland should no longer be farmland assessed.
    Not included in the above are five properties in Clove Hill Manor, consisting of 54.56 acres with improvements (roads, clubhouse, swimming pool, etc.), for which Wantage's tax assessor has assigned a "O" assessed value; therefore, the owners pay no property taxes.
    William H. Gettler