Ratables Decrease Slightly in Consolidated Princeton, 25 Percent of Total Value is Tax Exempt

The total value of ratables in the consolidated Princeton has dropped by $29.4 million this year, the town’s tax assessor reported to the Princeton Council Monday night.

The total assessed value of Princeton properties is $9.014 billion. But about 25 percent of that amount, or $2.276 billion, is not on the tax rolls because the properties are owned by tax exempt entities like Rider University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the town’s largest land owner, Princeton University.

Princeton’s ratables total $6.738 billion, tax assessor Neal Snyder said. Because of the $29.4 million decline in ratables, if the portion of the municipal budget funded by taxes does not change this year, the local tax rate would still increase from $43.4 cents per $100 of assessed value to $43.6 cents per $100 of assessed value, Snyder said.

The assessor’s office has begun sending property owners green postcards listing their assessments for 2013. Assessed values for just under 20 percent of properties in the consolidated Princeton have been adjusted for this tax year.

Property owners have until April 1 to file a tax appeal. If the property is assessed at under $1 million, the appeal is reviewed by the Mercer County Tax Board. If the property is worth $1 million or more, the property owner can choose to appeal at the county level or file an appeal in state tax court.

The town assessor is allowed to adjust the values of up to 50 percent of properties in Princeton each year as part of a program known as a compliance plan. Snyder said the assessments were reduced for most of the properties adjusted for this tax year. The average home in the consolidated Princeton is assessed at $799,600, he said.

He said more modest homes assessed at less than the town average have stable values, and some are increasing in value, while assessments on some of the more expensive homes are decreasing.

A citizen group has challenged the results of the most recent property revaluation and the case is still making its way through the court system. Owners of more modest homes saw their taxes increase, in some cases double, while owners of more expensive homes, on average, saw their taxes decrease as a result of the revaluation.

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