Greetings from the Barnegat Light Taxpayers' Association,
Now that the summer season is just a fond memory, the BLTA wants to keep you apprised of our on-going activities and the positive things occurring in our town. A few notable examples are:
Bike Racks: the BLTA has funded the purchase of bike racks for each street at the beach entrance. They have been ordered and will be set up, ready for next summer. With the welcome news of a no parking ban on Central Avenue, more people are riding their bikes to the beach and they should find this as a nice benefit.
General Meetings: traditionally a May meeting is our first of the year, this year we moved it to June to see if we could increase our attendance. It worked and attendance increased over 30%, so when we announce our meeting schedule for 2017 we will start with a June meeting.
Our speaker series received very positive responses and our hope is to build on that success for next year. Most notable were the presentations from Jim Gutowski on “Barnegat Light; A unique place in the East Coast Fishing Industry” and Kimberly Belfer from the Save Barnegat Bay Organization. We would be remiss if we did not thank the Mayor, the Honorable Kirk Larson for taking the time to address our members at each of our 3 General meetings.
We encourage each of you to vote in the upcoming election. If you vote in Barnegat Light there are several choices you will have for Council and local and regional School Boards. As a public service we asked each of the candidates to provide a one page position paper on their candidacy for posting on our web site. For those who responded, you can read them on the BLTA web site under For Homeowners > Homeowner Info www.barnegatlighttaxpayer.org
In March of 2017 there will be a voting referendum on the expansion and consolidation of the LBI local school district elementary schools. The changes being contemplated could have a large impact on your tax bill, so we will keep you updated throughout the year by emails and postings on our web site.
Your organization works throughout the year on positive, community enhancing activities. We will continue to advocate for you, the taxpayer and will do our very best to keep you informed.
We also thank you for your continued support.
With warm regards,
Greetings from the Barnegat Light Taxpayers' Association,
The 2016 Winter Newsletter is full of interesting articles and timely items of interest. Your Board of Trustees have been working diligently on your behalf representing you in all things that occur in Barnegat Light.
Some notable matters that we have achieved in 2015 and upcoming changes for 2016 are:
- A new Sound System for our general meetings was purchased.
- Our first ever Survey was distributed with our Membership Drive and Newsletter.
- The Survey results were shared with all members, Borough Council and are on our web site.
- Emails have been more forthcoming regarding local events, as a direct result of your input on the survey.
- The attendance at our General Meetings was at an all-time high. The speakers were informative and enlightening on subjects that are of importance to all residents.
- We conducted an email survey regarding smoking on the beach. 291 people responded. The results are listed on our web site. We shared our results with the Borough Council, they appreciated our providing the feedback.
- The survey also prompted us to move our May General Meeting in 2016, to June, where we hope to have a greater number of members attend.
- Enclosed in this newsletter is our 2016 Please take the time to fill out the form and mail it back with your $20.00 check for dues.
- The 2016 Survey answers will form the themes of each of our 3 General Meetings. Our Speaker Series will then be built around those themes.
- Recognizing that too much Sun is not good for you, we will move all of our 2016 General Meetings to the First Aid Squad Building on 10th
- As part of our desire to increase our membership, we have elevated the quality of our Newsletter and we hope you find it interesting and informative.
- We have also invested heavily in our Web Site barnegatlighttaxpayer.org and now have one of the best taxpayer websites on LBI. Please check this site out, as it’s updated daily.
- We have attempted to communicate more frequently with you, via email and hope that you find it both interesting and helpful. As items of interest come up we will continue to notify you on a timely basis.
The Board and I hope to see you at one of our General Meetings this summer. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a concern. If you would like to contact me, my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the things that continues to amaze me is how passionate people are about Barnegat Light. There is a very real sense that members of our community and its leaders, want to do what is right for our town and residents. We share that passion and will continue to advocate for you in a fair, balanced and transparent way.
Greetings from the Barnegat Light Taxpayers' Association,
We wanted to keep in touch and give BLTA members a quick update on some items of interest in the Borough and at the most recent Council meeting.
Council approved a BLTA proposal to institute a Little Free Library this spring on 10th street, near the Post Office. Details and more information can be found on our website: barnegatlighttaxpayer.org (click on the Homeowners Tab).
Work has begun on replacing the beach walkways. If you were to stop by 22nd street you will see what an improvement they have made. The Borough has a schedule of streets that will be done over the winter. You can contact them if you’re interested.
Water meters used by the Borough is a topic of discussion by the Council. No time frame or mechanism for change has been established. It is in the exploratory stage at this time. The goal would be to shift water billing over time to an actual usage basis, and away from the spigot count method used today.
The Coast Guard property is still in the Open Space funding phase and no determination will be made as to its usage for another year or two. The immediate plan is to remove the uninhabitable buildings, clean the area up make it more park like. In the future there will be time for public comment.
There has been a slight increase in Beach Badges and Boat Ramp fees for next year. We will post up to date information on our web site.
You can stay current on the many things that go on in our town while you are away. Please visit our website: www.barnegatlighttaxpayer.org for timely news and articles of interest.
Greetings from the Barnegat Light Taxpayers’ Association,
Our September General Meeting at the First Aid Squad Building on September 12, 2015 was by all accounts a large success. Information pertinent to the borough was shared, new trustees and officers were elected and audience participation was at an all- time high. We are sending you this note to let you know what happened in our September meeting in case you were unable to attend, and to encourage you to view the current BLTA officers and trustees and much more on our web site www.barnegatlighttaxpayer.org. I have attached the minutes of the September meeting to provide you with more details -- click here to read them.
Our Fall Speaker Series featured:
Marilyn Wasilewski, Vice President of the LBI School Board, speaking on current Elementary School Issues. Marilyn also introduced Peter Kopeck, the new School Superintendent.
Bernie Haney, Tax Assessor for Barnegat Light, spoke on current property issues.
Mayor Kirk Larson, Spoke on current topics in the Borough and answered many thoughtful questions.
This was our last General Meeting for 2015. We plan to schedule three for next summer and hope that you will plan to attend. Over the course of the next few months, and as part of your ongoing membership, we will continue to update you on current topics that affect you in this beautiful piece of paradise that is our home by the sea.
Summertime... and the living is easy!
With July 4th and our BLTA July “Meet and Greet” General Meeting behind us, we are in the throws of another beautiful summer vacation season in Barnegat Light!
Our distinguished speakers at the July meeting discussed the pros and cons of multifamily development in the borough, the details of how taxes are raised to support the Southern Regional School District (“SRSD”) and the “State of the Borough”. Copies of the presentations are available here on the BLTA website and we encourage all to visit and review them.
Final Tax bills have been mailed and most will have received them at the time of reading this message. You will note a reduction in this year’s final taxes due almost entirely to a decrease in taxes for the SRSD allocated to Barnegat Light taxpayers.
Before rejoicing, most will remember that the 33% reduction in 2015 (from a rate of .244 to .162) follows a 27% increase in 2014 (from a rate of .192 to .244). The .082 reduction in the tax rate results in a $574 annual reduction in the school tax paid by a homeowner with an assessed value of $700,000. Yet, despite repeated assertions of public officials, neither the INCREASE in 2014 nor the DECREASE in 2015 is attributable to Super Storm Sandy!
The formula for initial determination of the amount of taxes paid by Long Beach Island property owners is highly discriminatory resulting in an average cost per student of $140,748 for LBI taxpayers. Taxpayers in Stafford Township are assessed only $3,753 per student. The cost to Barnegat Light taxpayers is $134,823 per student.
A second level allocation among the LBI towns results in wide fluctuations from year to year depending upon the actual number of Barnegat Light students attending the SRSD.
If you attended our July meeting, detailed information was presented showing the calculation of the school tax allocations. Copies of the presentation schedules are included on the BLTA website – under the tab “For Homeowners". Litigation is underway in other regional districts to address similar discriminatory allocations. The BLTA has continuously brought the issue before local officials who maintain a “wait and see” philosophy to date.
If you have an opinion on this situation, I urge you to reach out to local officials and let them hear from you. Borough Council meets on the second Wednesday of each month at Borough Hall on 7th Street and all are welcome (and encouraged!) to attend to express their opinions on important issues.
The weather is great, the beaches are clean ... Enjoy your summer! …and don’t forget our next General Meeting at the First Aid Squad building at 9:30 AM on September 12, 2015.
It’s Spring and getting warmer. Summer is not far off and memories of the cold and beak winter will be left far behind. A new beach season will soon be upon us and, as always, the Barnegat Light Taxpayer’s Association will kick off the calendar with our first General Meeting on May 16th at the First Aid Squad. All are invited to attend to hear an update on the LBI School District from the School Superintendent and Business Administrator and on the state of the borough from Mayor Larson.
In our recent membership mailing, over 53% of respondents identified school taxes as an issue of concern – second only (by a slight margin) to open space concerns. We have previously reported to you the struggles regarding LBI elementary schools consolidation in our January 2014 newsletter. And we previously reported both issues of the continuing elementary school consolidation efforts and the recent 27% increase in taxes paid by Barnegat Light residents for the Southern Regional School District in our January 2015 newsletter.
On Tuesday April 14, 2015, a presentation of the most recent study findings relating to the elementary school consolidation issue was made at the Ethel Jacobsen Elementary School in Surf City by the engineer, Frank Little, who was hired by the Board to evaluate the two schools and update recommendations regarding consolidation. Little and his team arrived at an estimate of approximately $2.7 million to update the LBI school, along with an additional $346,696 for the bus garage. Their analysis of the Ethel Jacobsen School, in comparison, showed a final estimated cost of $876,538. The board president, Jennifer Bott indicated at the meeting that the board would explore a lot of options – and no final decision has been arrived at.
We hope that as many people as possible will follow this matter and attend future meetings to express their views. There is a LOT of money with potential tax consequences at stake here! Not to be outdone, the BLTA is fortunate to have the Superintendent and Business Administrator speaking at our May general meeting. We hope you will join us.
For more information on the continuing consolidation school issues facing the elementary schools in the LBI School District and the allocation determinations of the Southern Regional School District, we urge you to review the "News" tab of our website.
On Property Taxes -- watch your mailbox!
If you own or lease commercial, residential and/or investment property in New Jersey, now is the time to review whether you should file a 2015 appeal. If you believe your their property is overassessed for 2015, you must file an appeal to contest the assessment by April 1, 2015.
New Jersey law provides that property owners must receive an annual “Notice of Assessment” from the local tax assessor by February 1st. The assessment should reflect the market value of your property as of October 1, 2014 and will be used to determine your property taxes for 2015.
The assessor must express the assessment of property on the Notice in terms of its taxable value. The term “taxable value” is defined as the percentage of true value established by each county board of taxation for all taxing districts within the county. The percentage of true value at which property is assessed varies among the taxing districts.
For Barnegat Light, the “equalization ratio” certified by the County Tax Board for use in determining 2015 taxes is: 98.89%.
For example, a property assessed at $600,000 in Barnegat Light with the above ratio of 98.89%, indicates an equalized fair market value of $606,735 ($600,000 ÷ .98.89 = $606,735).
The New Jersey Legislature in 1973 adopted a formula known as Chapter 123 to test the fairness of an assessment. Once the Tax Court or County Board of Taxation has determined the true value of a property during an appeal, it is required to automatically compare the true value to the assessment. If the ratio of the assessment to the true value exceeds the average ratio by 15%, then the assessment is automatically reduced to the common level.
However, if the assessment falls within the common level range, no adjustment will be made. If the ratio of the assessment to true value falls below the common level, the Tax Court or County Board of Taxation is obligated to increase the assessment to the common level. You should consider the average ratio before filing a tax appeal.
If the assessment on a property is $1 million or below, a taxpayer must first file an appeal with the County Board of Taxation. The taxpayer can then appeal the County Board’s determination to the NJ Tax Court. If the assessment on your property is above $1 million, the taxpayer can file directly with either the Tax Court or the County Board of Taxation.
See you in the Spring,