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Summit Property Taxes Higher Than State Average, Highest In County

Summit also saw a higher percentage tax increase for 2012 than the state average.

Homeowners in Summit are paying higher property taxes than the statewide average and the highest taxes out of all communities in Union County, according to a statewide chart published by the Star-Ledger.

The average total Summit tax bill comes in at $16,050.53, compared with the statewide average of $7,870.28.

While the statewide average property tax increase was 1.7 percent for 2012, the smallest bump in more than two decades, Summit residents saw a 3.3 percent tax increase for 2012. Across Union County, the average percent increase for 2012 was 2.1 percent. Mountainside had the highest percentage increase for 2012 (5.6 percent), while Winfield had the biggest decrease for 2012 (-0.8 percent).

Compared to the rest of Union County, Summit residents pay $6,535.44 more than the average Union County tax bill. Summit ranked 1 out of 21 for total highest bill in the county. Summit also pays a higher municipal bill and a higher school bill than the county average municipal and school bills.

Besides Summit, residents in Westfield (2) and New Providence (3) paid the highest average total tax bill in the county, while residents in Winfield (21), Kenilworth (20) and Plainfield (19) paid the lowest.

The Star-Ledger noted that property taxes statewide rose 2.4 percent in 2011, the first year Christie’s two percent cap was in effect. But the trend of lower increases could be reversed because of Hurricane Sandy, according to the report.

In Manasquan, which suffered some of the worst damage from Sandy, local officials said the cost of rebuilding might drive up tax rates by at least 20 percent, the report said. To top it off, the tax base shrank as properties were washed away, according to the report. Towns are allowed to exceed the two percent limit on property tax collections for emergencies such as Sandy.

 

Town Average County Bill Average Municipal Bill Average School Bill Average Total Bill Percent Change from 2011 Summit $4,132.33 $3,643.99 $8,274.22 $16,050.53 3.4% County $1,828.06 $2,954.38 $4,732.66 $9,515.09 2.1% Statewide $1,425.45 $2,324.66 $4,120.16 $7,870.28 1.7%

 

UNION COUNTY     

Average County Bill

Average Municipal Bill

Average School Bill

Average Total Bill

Rank of Total Bill in County

Percent Change from 2011

Berkeley Heights

$2,580.35

$2,050.60

$6,474.40

$11,105.36

5

0.7%

Clark

$1,942.70 $2,474.34 $4,792.82 $9,209.86 10

3.5%

Cranford

$2,060.72 $2,472.99 $5,369.98 $9,903.70 9 3.6% Elizabeth $1,231.09 $4,743.14 $1,871.93 $7,846.16 17 -0.5% Fanwood $1,937.83 $2,218.57 $6,280.15 $10,436.55 6 1.2% Garwood $1,710.53 $3,077.43 $3,961.33 $8,749.30 12 4.3% Hillside $1,167.12 $3,989.62 $3,513.51 $8,670.25 13 1.8% Kenilworth $1,520.31 $2,269.26 $3,548.28 $7,337.85 20 4.4% Linden $1,284.72 $2,621.57 $3,967.24 $7,873.53 15 1.7% Mountainside $2,677.69 $2,768.10 $4,743.20 $10,188.99 7 5.6% New Providence $2,560.99 $2,684.54 $7,066.03 $12,311.56 3 2.5% Plainfield $1,141.75 $4,579.09 $2,094.72 $7,815.57 19 -0.4% Rahway $1,303.43 $3,057.40 $3,465.96 $7,826.79 18 1.1% Roselle $1,042.55 $4,416.74 $3,597.64 $9,056.93 11 -0.6% Roselle Park $1,303.45 $2,815.30 $4,486.97 $8,605.73 14 1.5% Scotch Plains $2,248.72 $1,966.49 $7,304.99 $11,520.19 4 2.4% Springfield $1,876.85 $3,220.94 $4,910.17 $10,007.95 8 2.5% Summit $4,132.33 $3,643.99 $8,274.22 $16,050.53 1 3.4% Union $1,378.43 $2,878.21 $3,604.53 $7,861.16 16 3.3% Westfield $3,204.80 $2,657.55 $8,466.72 $14,329.07 2 3.1% Winfield $82.83 $1,436.10 $1,591.03 $3,109.97 21 -0.8% COUNTY AVERAGE $1,828.06 $2,954.38 $4,732.66 $9,515.09     –  2.1%

The data above, which divides property tax bills by municipal, county and public education costs, was compiled from numbers released by the state Department of Treasury and county boards of taxation.

For more information, please click here.

jeff goldstein January 17, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Taxes keep going up in Summit but incomes aren't going up. Meanwhile the Summit Board of Education is pushing for full day kindergarden. It is not the time for full day kindergarden which would push taxes still higher. In Summit, parents who want full day kindergarden already have plenty of options. We don't need the public schools to provide it.
Summit Native January 17, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Why is the portion of Union County taxes so much higher for Summit, relative even to other prosperous towns like Westfield, which has a higher population, and New Providence? How is it calculated?
Diane Sottile January 17, 2013 at 02:50 PM
This article does not address the reason why we have the highest tax rate. I do not know the answer, but I wonder if it is because our property values are higher? As to full day kindergarten, one of the reasons that Summit attracts families is our excellent schools. The unfortunate reality in NJ is that property taxes our high. I fear that without continued investment in our schools, it becomes a house of cards. Potential residents lose interest in our schools because there are better options elsewhere. Our property values fall because we can't attract young families, and so on. Many studies have shown that full day kindergarten provides a significant value to the education of a child. While we do have other options in Summit, they are all with a cost involved. For some residents, the cost is not affordable. It is also my understanding that, without full day kindergarten, our school system will be unable to meet the new core curriculum standards established by the state. So, we have some families who cannot afford a private option, we need to meet core curriculum standards, we don't want our taxes to rise, we want our children to have a strong education, and we have a state who promotes a system that continually increases requirements, but provides no tax relief. The answers are not so cut and dry. The BOE will be hosting an information meeting on January 23. I encourage all to attend so that we can make informed decisions.
resident January 17, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Yes, of course the average rate is higher because there are higher property values. No one has lost interest in the public schools in years before because there is half day kindergarden. Is now really the time with people losing jobs, incomes slashed to put forth such a proposal. There are other options for people both with and without money to supplement or replace the current option. Meeting curriculum standards starts at home, with parents ready and willing to support their children's educational goals. Many children are not ready for the full day option. NO FULL DAY KINDERGARDEN AT THIS TIME!
J January 17, 2013 at 03:42 PM
I've heard that NONE of the Union County Freeholders are residents of Summit. If that's in fact true, isnt that taxation without representation? Summit should follow Berkeley Heights to Morris County.
MsSummit January 17, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Yes, I believe a big part of the problem is that much of our tax bill actually goes to support the County, not directly support Summit (or our schools). I believe both the Mayor and, definitely council member Patrick Hurley have raised flags about this. Regarding FD Kdg--many young families who really need the FD (can't afford the private kdg option) are shut out of the housing market in Summit--high prices of homes compounded by high taxes. To say that we can't attract young families to Summit w/out FD Kdg (or that this somehow jeapordizes our ability) is wrong--those that can afford to live her can, for the most part, afford private kdg or can live with the half day option. That is not to say we shouldn't provide FD for other reasons--but let's focus the conversation on educational benefits first, then look at costs. For those on this string that are concerned about the costs of FD Kdg, I'd suggest you instead direct your attentions on the fact that the district is also considering the option of adding onto Franklin school--despite the fact that there is space in other buildings in the district...all to avoid the dreaded "r" word--redistricting. I don't see any educational benefit there, but I see my taxes going up to support something that is definitely a luxury, and will benefit just a small group of taxpayers.
Max January 18, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Ideally, competent elected local officials would aggressively advocate for their constituents before the County, expressing the pain felt by Summit taxpayers caused by the County's careless, cavalier, profligate spending of our money.
Max January 18, 2013 at 03:24 PM
@J, taxation without representation is nothing new. Consider the District of Columbia, the Summit Board of Education, or even the disenfranchisement caused by the Electoral College (a scheme portrayed as a small state vs big state "equalizer," concocted to give greater voice to slave owners). Anyway, while taxation without representation may be tyranny, taxation with representation isn't a whole lot better.
Martha McDonnell January 18, 2013 at 04:34 PM
That is why the town of Berkeley Heights is looking into succeeding from Union County and either merging with Morris or Somerset Counties. Read Union Counties position here: http://www.nj.com/independentpress/index.ssf/2012/09/union_county_berkeley_heights.html
J January 19, 2013 at 02:29 AM
here's what Union County did with your Summit tax dollars: http://www.gallopinghillgolfcourse.com/layout9.asp?id=222&page=8056

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