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Hopatcong Expected to OK $300K for Revaluations

Payments to be spread out over five years, borough official says.

Hopatcong has started toward a borough property re-evaluation.

The council is expected to approve $300,000 to fund the re-evaluation, which wouldn't count against the 2012 budget, Borough Administrator Robert Elia said. In fact, Elia said, the money would be spread out over payments of $60,000 a year starting 2013.

Elia said Hopatcong hasn't hired a company to perform the re-evaluations yet. During the 2008 re-evaluation the borough employed Certified Valuations Inc., Elia said.

Tax Assessor Therese DePierro said 368 property tax appeals had been filed in Hopatcong as of April 1.

The re-evaluation "should reduce the number of appeals," DePierro said.

Earlier in June, Councilman Michael Francis .

"It's time to let our people know that we recognize the fact we're a little bit off kilter with some of that stuff and I think people would be more acceptable of our financial problems if we were taxing them at the real value of our homes," he said.

Interesting August 01, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Oh Michelle - please do a bit more research - I believe, with some research, you will find out that you are very wrong about this "tax break". It is done in conjunction with meeting certain state requirements that are the same throughout the state - it has nothing to do with this mayor or any past mayor here or anywhere. If you or i like the idea is one thing - but why it is possible is a result of the state. Now then... Let's try to be a bit more responsible in what we write here. Well you are entertaining anyway...
Roll Back Our Tax August 01, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Interesting....glad to hear from you. Just have someone on your team tonight at the Council Meeting at 7:30 PM available to answer the following question. "Wouldn't it be better that we claim bankruptcy instead of spending $ we don't have"?
Emily August 02, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Roll back do yourself a favor and don't put yourself with Michele. She has no clue and is a very jealous individual. Numerous times she has mentioned the wealth of our mayor and mr. kellogg, Where does she believe all this started with the Mayor, it started from way back when. Fallicy , humbug. I realize your trying very hard to prove your point, which yes it is valid, but you don't have the backing from enough people. oh by the way the mayor's family business is kenvil and roxbury but her home is here where she pays taxes like the rest of us. Maybe she doesn't hear any of you because of how you approach her. I've got say I never has an issue with her returning phone calls and talking to me. Don't know what your problem is. I thought you were tired of running with the football and your moving out of here. did I read that wrong. Enough , now I really don't have time for this. This all started because I didn't like or appreciate you using Rosco as a political ploy. Still upset over that. He is family and brought this town together and was loved by all adults and young people. Maybe you should take a lesson from that. Next time you make a comparison make your sure your brain is in gear before you open your mouth. calculate that sir. Good-bye and Goodnight
Roll Back Our Tax August 02, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Emily...personally I like Michele. I have mentioned the wealth of Mr. Kellogg too. I believe he's #171 on Forbes list. If he was any kind of man he'd give the borough $50M out of his billions and bail the borough out since he uses over 1,000 acres of the land in Hopatcong virtually tax free. Instead he gives his $25K donations and expects us to believe he is generous. He could care less about this community cause he lives in Short Hills. Knew about the business and residential locations of Petillo too. Also, I have no problem with the way I approach the Mayor. I am a straight shooter. I just told her tonight at the Council meeting to "take the borough into bankruptcy" because with $50M in debt and only $15M in revenue, it's unsustainable. Yes, I am tired of running the football yes I am out of here as soon as I can sell the house. Furthermore, I didn't use Roscoe as a political ploy and the subject is getting old. You should move on to what this article is all about and you should give me the benefit of the doubt that I meant no harm since I am an animal lover. In closing, "when this borough's taxpayers are pissed off enough they'll do something about it". But they aren't seeing the low turnout tonight. But the next meeting is August 15th to pass the referendum for the reassessment. You should show up cause I'd like to meet you. Maybe you could teach me a few things about the Mayor.
Michele Guttenberger August 02, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Our Attorney Ursin has confirmed today at the Town Meeting that MMK Reinsurance Bermuda Ltd is Hudson Farms. They will answer my question on August 15th at the special meeting: Taxpayer - MMK Reinsurance, (Bermuda) LTD. Assessment $4,135,300 - Percentage of Net Valuation Taxable 0.20%. What is the taxable amount they are paying. At first Ursin told me I should ask the tax assessor this question but the assessor will not be attending this meeting. If you want to know if I get my answer then why don't you attend this special meeting since it is going to impact every tax paying resident of Hopatcong when they pass this ordinance authorizing a special emergency appropriation in the sum of $300,000 for the preparation and execution of a COMPLETE program reassessment of real property. Ask yourself why this is an emergency using our emergency funding account? We had a Complete assessment less than 10 years ago. Would like the Town to define our emergency situation. Don't think they will define what makes this a valid emergency fund condition. That would be telling you the real financial health and devalued market value of everyone's property. But one thing that will never falter is their spending budget. We can rely on certain numbers to go up when everything else is going down. It is a budget number you can trust that will never go away no matter how bad the economy gets.Thanks to us the unquestionable taxpayer that keeps on giving & are NO Shows to Town Meetings.
Michele Guttenberger August 02, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Interesting in response to the Land Trust having nothing to do with the Mayor. Municipal Land Use Law ( N.J.S.A 40:55D-44) ...."Once a town meets the Planning Incentive criteria, it receives funds in the form of a special block grant, similar to a credit line, that can be used for any parcel listed in its approved OSRP The block grant enables a municipality to react quickly when a market opportunity arises, instead of waiting to see if an individual grant will be approved for a given parcel". Sounds to me the Mayor has the power here On this Open Space Recreation Plan once it is approved. Yes, "Interesting" I do my research before I open my mouth. My past career was conducting Sarbanes Oxley Audits. I found many fallen in the cracks accounting and misguided policy that was not realized by the shareholders.
Emily August 02, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Roll back, Your getting old. If your ideas had any merit you would have a whole town behind you. I really don't see any lines forming behind you or Michele. You may like her I don't. I really like the Mayor and as far as teaching you about her find out yourself, like I did. Your not as up front you say. As I bid you a fond farewell I sure hope you find what your looking for.
Emily August 02, 2012 at 12:45 PM
hey roll back, Is that the only thing you can come up with. hahahahahahaha Thanks for the laugh. Don't respond because you have nothing to offer , you sound like a cry baby. So in the meantime Mr. Roll back get a life!!!
Roll Back Our Tax August 02, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Emily.......here's something everyone can relate to across the pond in Jefferson. http://jefferson.patch.com/articles/estimated-tax-bills-mailed-to-residents "The total increase in spending, raised by taxation, increased by an estimated 0.813% over 2011 which is in keeping with the 2% Tax Cap Law signed by Governor Christie in 2010". Keep supporting the Mayor. Our taxes go up every year 5-6% since I have been here.
Michele Guttenberger August 02, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Emily - Your quote " Maybe she doesn't hear any of you because of how you approach her." Are we talking about the Queen here or a Town Official we elected into office to serve the people? As for the Mayor paying taxes in Hopatcong again we have a very unique situation here. Because unlike previous Mayor's most of the Mayor's properties have tax fillings under their business address which is 47 Dell Ave - Kenvil, NJ 07847. This address is listed as Petillo Enterprises Inc. They have 4 properties listed in Hopatcong: 11 Rapalyea Rd, 9 Rapalyea Rd, 9 Lawrie Ave and 11 Atno Ave. Only the 11 Atno Ave property has a Tax address of Hopatcong and is only listed as Sylvia L Pettillo. The Tax address for this property is 9 Rapalyea Rd, Hopatcong. The rest of these properties were listed as Petillo, Ronald & Sylvia L. with their Petillo Enterprises Inc - Kenvil address. Does that mean that if Hopatcong should go under these properties can be claimed as a business loss on their Tax return? Interesting thought. Oh well, the Mayor would still take a personal loss on the 11 Atno Ave property that has the Hopatcong tax address.
Michele Guttenberger August 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Yea Roll Back, stop picking on Emily even if she dislikes me. I don't mind. Her defense of the Mayor has given me grist for my researched rebuttal. If not for Emily I would not have mentioned the properties the Mayor owns in Hopatcong that is listed under Petillo Enterprises Inc.in Kenvil when she files her taxes. If not for Emily's taunting, we would think that Mayor Petillio is one of Hopatcong's Old Fashioned Mayors with Old Fashioned moral convictions and not part of the Millionaire's - Billionaire's Tax Deduction and Shelter Club.
Emily August 02, 2012 at 02:33 PM
So leave new jersey, because it's like that all over the state. New jersey is a very expensive state to live in, but we choose to live here that is our right. If we also don't want to fight the system,also our choice. So just because you have "solution" we have to stand by you. I like where I live , sure certain things should be changed, but at my age not wasting any time on politics. As far as Michele goes I think she believes she is the queen. Don't expect me to bow down anytime soon. She's just so jealous of people with money and have money savy. I really have to stop responding because this is getting foolish and childish. You and Michele can say whatever you want, neither of you pay my way so your opinion doesn't count. Have a great day!!!!
Roll Back Our Tax August 02, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Emily....there are municipalities in NJ living within their means. Here's the site for the municipalities that are ABOVE the 2% property tax cap (295) http://php.app.com/proptaxes11/results.php?COUNTY=%25&MUNICIPALITY=%25&cap=Above&Submit2=Search and BELOW the 2% property tax cap (249) http://php.app.com/proptaxes11/results.php?COUNTY=%25&MUNICIPALITY=%25&cap=Below&Submit2=Search So I am leaving Hopatcong because we have fiscal irresponsible leaders. Most residents just don't know it yet. Their ONLY solution is passing 5-6% increases onto the taxpayer to pay for the debt maintenance. The number will go up because they're rolling over debt on what's called "CAPS". Basically they can go over the cap to pay down borrowed money. By passing the cap they can just borrow money and roll together other loans. They have been doing this since I was made aware of the debt issue both for LONG term (project work) and SHORT term (maintenance). What happens when interest rates rise? We won't be able to meet the obligations. Here's the exceptions from this article http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/07/gov_chris_christie_legislature.html "The four exceptions are rising costs of pensions and health care, school enrollment increases and debt payments. Towns would also be granted leeway in the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, two sources said". We should get real. We're broke. Claim bankruptcy!
Tammy August 02, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Good Morning Emily--While it is quite expensive to live in NJ there are plenty of areas where the cost of living equals the quality of living. If our school system was performing at more than an "almost average" level, if our roads were properly and completely repaired after the uncompleted sewer project that future generations of Hopatcongites will still be paying for, if people were forced to abide by ordinances regarding property upkeep,(at our other home on Jefferson Trail 4 of the 5 houses I can see from my yard are DISGUSTING and have been for years despite numerous complaints to the proper town departments) if those services that were cut actually fattened our wallets as promised instead of just adding to the Mayor's spending perhaps people would be less frustrated with living in Hopatcong. It is ridiculous for people to say "move". Really? With the aforementioned issues coupled with the economy how do you suggest people sell their homes so they can move? I think I read somewhere that only 3 houses sold in Hopatcong last month. According to Realtor.com there are 182 houses for sale in Hopatcong. Could be more, as many people who live in the Heights section with an 07874 zip code prefer to list their homes as being in Stanhope. Hmmmmmm.....wonder why that would be?
Roll Back Our Tax August 02, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Tammy...pretty close 189 homes for sale in Hopatcong. http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Hopatcong_NJ Out of that 35 are waterfront who pay TWICE or sometimes 8 X's as much in taxes than the average home. http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Hopatcong_NJ/type-single-family-home,mfd-mobile-home,condo-townhome-row-home-co-op/ofbm-101?disp=1 Here's the alarming fact I heard at the meeting last night. Hopatcong now accepts credit card payments for taxes on line. What do you think the % was of the total borough that now used this option? Elia the Finance Administrator told us 33%. So one out of every 3 residents now pay their taxes via credit card. Now there are some instances we use credit card mostly for the points. But this indicates to me something else. People are having trouble paying their tax bill. When the credit card (like Hopatcong's bond debt machine) is maxed out they won't be able to any longer.
Warren August 02, 2012 at 04:02 PM
That's the angle. So many people have appealed that the township is not collection as much as they did in the past. So, they reassess, and even though all our homes end up valued lower, they raise the rate and the effect is a tax increase across the board. Ask if they would agree to a reassessment that did not include a rate increase.... I think we can all guess the answer to that one.
Interesting August 02, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Entertaining - yes... Accurate - no... If you are suggesting that with an approved OSRP the mayor and council can supersede state law and regulations on what does or does not qualify certain land for certain tax treatment is false. You or I may or may not agree with the treatment, but the treatment is based on state law and regulation not local decisions. That was my point not on what, if any! Open Space the borough may determine is in the best interest of the borough to acquire.
Roll Back Our Tax August 02, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Warren....here's the facts. The average tax appeal received about $1,000/year in savings. There were 368 appeals so that amounts to $368,000 in lost revenue. Now the reassessment will run $300,000 over 5 years financing. I don't have an amorization schedule but let's say it costs $350,000 over 5 years. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one. We're spending $350,000 to balance out the $368,000 we lost in tax revenue. LOL!
Tammy August 02, 2012 at 04:27 PM
While I hope people are using this more for convenience rather than a means to hold off the inevitable I am inclined to doubt it. I hope a large portion of that 33% paying with a credit card are actually using a debit card. In addition, how much is the credit card company charging Hopatcong? If the average tax bill is $6,000.00 and the credit card company charges 2% that is $120.00 per person, can Hopatcong afford this convenience? I am not surprised that a Mayor who has no problem constantly borrowing as a means to an end would encourage her constituents to do the same.
Roll Back Our Tax August 02, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Tammy...unfortunately it's state mandated.
Tammy August 02, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Maybe a letter to our Governor is in order. This makes about as much sense as giving drug addicts free needles. Yes, it helps one part of the issue but it really doesn't solve the problem does it? Of course, who ends up paying for the pigs lipstick, the taxpayer.
Michele Guttenberger August 02, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Interesting - what is entertaining is that the Mayor and Council will go ahead with this OSRP when it was originally created during high economic times. These were plans in place when the Stock Market was running high and real estate was soaring. Purchasing land into the land trust reduces the tax rateable properties for the borough and also further devalues properties values. So our Mayor and Co are operating in a vacuum in regards to being in touch with the current economic climate we are in. It is very entertaining they will be purchasing Open Space properties at the same time they are pushing for a Complete Reassessment of Property values in Hopatcong to be able to readjust for the inadequate tax rates they have to cover their spending. Why would you reduce your tax rateable property during this time. It may have been according to state plans but this is being administered with municipal lunacy.
Roll Back Our Tax August 02, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Tammy....open an account on www.twitter.com. He will get back with you.
Lurky Loo August 02, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Yes warren!! You get it! The town will NOT be able to function if all they did was reassess. The will def raise the tax rate to make up for the newly lowered assessments and will prob raise the land portion of your taxes because you can't fight the land portion of your bill, only the structure part. This is smoke and mirrors to get their minions reelected and to give them license to tax the crap out of us.
DD6479 November 21, 2012 at 06:54 PM
LOL I kow this is a VERY late reply to this....The Tax assessor just knocked on my door and told me he was going to walk around my property...I simply recommended he do it from the street not go anywhere on my property or he would be forcibly removed from it....he didn’t seem to like that very much.
Michele Guttenberger November 21, 2012 at 08:57 PM
DD6479 isn't it nice to know things are getting back to normal. Now you have something in common with Hudson Farms. You both have properties the Tax assessor hasn't and won't be stepping a foot on. However, the only difference is you will still be paying into the new adjusted tax rate but they won't be paying any new tax rate for the helipad, the estate house with the stocked ratskeller nor the 600+ acres of preserve land in Hopatcong. But most of all it is $300K our town is spending in order to raise taxes on you - the little guy. Least this $300k should be wasted to improve our communication systems like live streaming Internet video of town meetings or an online electronic billing system to pay for things like our taxes, bulk garbage permits and water bills. But instead $300K is being spent to hire someone we are telling to go away. However, our Mayor is a woman of faith and believes in miracles. Yes, little Sylvia there is a real estate tax gold mine up in those residential hills of Hopatcong and the tax assessor shall shine his light upon them and lead the way to this bounty. And you shall continue to receive paving stones, water fountains, statues, deluxe lit flagpoles and meeting trips to Atlantic City until your final days of office. Amen.
jazzman November 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM
whats your thoughts on the rumor that the property in the area of 200 block Maxium drive,lake front,has claimed church or religious status and doesnt have to pay property tax at all..if true thats a 30 thousand dollar tax payer loss by my estimate from the enormass size of that house/now a structure!
The Watcher November 22, 2012 at 06:32 AM
So Michele you're saying the mayor pays almost all of her taxes in Morris and NOT in Sussex county, and she only keeps one property here under her name so she can be mayor?
Michele Guttenberger November 22, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Jazzman - Municipal Land Use Law ( N.J.S.A 40:55D-44) ...."any parcel listed in its approved OSRP The block grant enables a municipality to react quickly when a market opportunity arises, instead of waiting to see if an individual grant will be approved for a given parcel". So if the OSRP is approved and the property you mentioned is on the list it could very well be a property purchased as Open Space Recreation Property without a referendum, vote or approval by the tax payer. Once it is purchased as open space or recreation property it is non taxable land. They say that these properties need to be approved by the state in advance. But how strict is the state in reviewing or investigating a property on the list to see if it meets the criteria. Do they do a thorough audit? You and I will never know this info. However, you could look to see if this property is listed on the OSRP inventory list. Here is the link that lists the properties. It is at the back of this report http://www.hopatcong.org/Minutes/OSRPUpdate.pdf This may not tell you if the property has been turned over but you will know it it has been listed for purchase on the OSRP. Again there is no public approval for the Mayor to change the status of this land from taxed to nontaxable land with a OSRP purchase.
The Watcher November 22, 2012 at 03:38 PM
So we pay and they play? The list is a whose who. BTW Michele you didn't answer the post " So Michele you're saying the mayor pays almost all of her taxes in Morris and NOT in Sussex county, and she only keeps one property here under her name so she can be mayor?"


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