Wednesday, January 25, 2006
'Appeals Have Appeal'- STRATHMERE — A filled-room at this seashore community’s firehouse on Jan. 21 focused its displeasure on the reassessed values of properties. Formation of the Strathmere Taxpayers Association grew from that recent revaluation which was ordered by the county Board of Taxation. The irate crowd heard attorney Joseph Grimes advise the manner in which they could appeal new assessments, which were performed by Tyler Technologies, Inc., the same firm contracted to do revaluations in Middle, Dennis and Lower townships. Those still unhappy with answers can appeal further. Other Upper Township residents were similarly displeased with the figures that allegedly show true market value of properties. There was also talk of an attempt at deannexation of this community from Upper Township.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Could sloppy reval spell Strathmere’s secession? By NANCY RUMP -Staff Writer
STRATHMERE – The question of whether or not the reval in Upper Township will be ready this year seems to be answered as many residents have already received the notices in their mailboxes.
The controversy surrounding the revaluation of the township, however, is only just beginning.
Strathmere residents are the first to react to the reval situation, feeling they will be unjustly taxed in the upcoming year because most have seen their barrier island properties escalate in value.
As a result, a meeting for Strathmere property owners has been slated for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Strathmere Firehouse. It is being organized by the Strathmere Taxpayers’ Association, and those attending the session will be encouraged to join the organization at meeting’s conclusion.
There is a fee of $200 to belong to the group, which organizers say will part of an association account used for legal fees and miscellaneous items needed to move the group’s cause forward. The taxpayers’ association is not taking the reval lightly. Attorneys have been invited to attend the meeting and there will be discussion of individually-appealing the recent property assessments.
More importantly, however, will be discussion to take legal action against the township and the reval company in order to force a new revaluation of Strathmere based on, what the group calls, the “apparent incompetence” of the company. Additionally, the association has suggested secession of Strathmere from the Township of Upper. Tyler Technologies Inc., the company that conducted the reval here, has been in hot water with the municipality for months. Most recently was a fear that the revals would not be completed in time for this year. That issue has been settled, according to Mayor Rich Palombo, who confirmed the revals will, indeed, be reflected in the 2006 tax year.
Prior to the company’s delay in getting notices out in a timely manner, Tyler Technologies made a major flub last year when it sent out incorrect reval notices to township residents. The errors were glaring, with some residents listed as having four to six bathrooms in their homes. The company blamed the blunder on a computer glitch.
Said to be appearing at this weekend’s meeting are attorneys Joseph Grimes and Michael Cinco. The association says each have extensive legal expertise in regards to reval matter here.
Presently, any resident with questions or complaints about their reval can contact Tyler Technologies and schedule a meeting or phone dialogue with the company to discuss their respective issues. The company is likely to have its hands full with reval callers because it is also responsible for a reval in North Wildwood, currently at the same stage as Upper’s. The company is also conducting revals in Dennis and Middle townships. Those revals are part of a joint venture to which Upper Township also belongs. Middle is behind and Dennis was experiencing similar delays to Upper at the start of the new year.
Palombo, aware of the furor rising in Strathmere, said he hoped residents there would go the reval company and try to settle their disputes.“The question and answer period we are in now is set aside to do that,” he said. According to Palombo, any appeal after that will go to county. Revals are county mandated; an issue Upper officials think many here might be confusing if they are blaming municipal leaders for bringing the reval to town.
The township entered into the joint reval with Dennis and Middle for cost savings. Selection of Tyler Technologies as the firm that would conduct the revaluation was made because there are only two reval companies that are state approved, Palombo said. “There were about five bidders for the joint reval contract, but only two that were approved,” he said. That left little opportunity to find a company other than this one, he said.
Despite saving money on the mandated reval process, officials have agreed that the services of Tyler Technologies are simply not up to par.“From our standpoint, there has been a breach of contract here and we want to know why this occurred,” Palombo said. Solicitor Dan Young said the contract with Tyler is “confidential.” Asked if the township planned to sue the firm, he said it was a matter officials would decide at the appropriate time. “Right now we getting the reval done in a timely manner has to be our first order of business,” he said.
Nancy Rump can be e-mailed at email@example.com or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The formation of the Strathmere Tax Payers Association was announced and a lawyer was invited to speak. They discussed the need for all Strathmere property owners to individually appeal their new assessments. Also discussed was the possible legal action to be taken by the Strathmere Tax Payers Association against Tyler Technologies and Upper Township to invalidate the revaluation. They also touched briefly on the subject of secession from Upper Township. Then they took many questions from the residents.
If you are a property owner in Strathmere, please call to schedule an informal review. It is very important that as many property owners as possible protest their revaluations. This will not only help with your own claim, but it will help to build a better case to have the revaluation thrown out.
There is still time to make an appointment, we were told that there was another week left for reviews. The number to call is - 866-566-7800 . The reviews are held at the Upper Township building.
What you need for your review - just call Bruce or Gwen at Riordan Realty to get the records of recent property sales in Strathmere that are comparable to yours, and bring copies of that info to your review. In your meeting, point out anything about your house that may affect the value. For example, no central air, no garage or off street parking, no washer/dryer. Be sure to mention if your house is an older one that maybe hasn't been updated in awhile. Those may seem like small things, but these are things that the revaluation company hasn't taken into consideration when valuing our properties.
Here is a story from the Press of Atlantic City about the town meeting -
Residents protest revals in Upper
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Strathmere residents say they're getting soaked by reval
And a story about the repairs to be done to the road leading into Strathmere from Ocean City -
State DEP OKs buffer for road in Strathmere
There will be a meeting held this Saturday 1/21/06 at 2:00 at the Strathmere Firehouse. This meeting is organized by the Strathmere Tax Payers Association, and the objectives are:
1. To discuss the process of individually appealing your recent property assessment in Strathmere, with the attorneys invited to attend.
2. To discuss action against Upper Township and its contracted assessment company Tyler Technologies Inc., to force a new re-evaluation of Strathmere, based on the apparent incompetence of Tyler Technologies.
Attending and leading the discussion at this meeting will be Joseph Grimes and Michael Cinco, Attorneys at Law. Both have extensive legal experience in the objectives for discussion.
All Strathmere property owners are encouraged to attend the meeting.