The Monmouth County Tax Board acted on Monday to allow municipalities to opt out of the controversial pilot program, the Assessment Demonstration Program. The program has resulted in the volatility of property assessments and spurred a grand jury investigation into alleged conflicts of interest among key players in the County’s complex property tax system.
By an unanimous vote Monday afternoon, the Tax Board approved a resolution offered by Commissioner Clifford J. Moore III to immediately allow municipalities to opt out of the program for the 2017 tax year. Towns must notify the board that they are opting out by 11:59 p.m. on April 29, 2016.
The move, according to a statement by Moore, is in response to concerns expressed by taxpayers, elected officials and members of the State Legislature. Moore said that it is too late to made changes for the 2016 tax year as property assessment have already been determined, pending appeals.
In the morning session of the Tax Board meeting, the Commissioners had questions about their authority to allow towns to opt out of the program. They passed a resolution urging the State Steering Committee that overseas the ADP program to allow towns to opt out when they meet in Trenton on December 8. After meeting with their Counsel from the NJ Attorney General’s Office in Executive Session, the Board enacted the opt out provision “effective immediately” “unless directed otherwise” by the steering committee.
The steering committee is comprised of Monmouth County Tax Administrator Matthew Clark, Monmouth Tax Assessors Association President John Butow, Patricia Wright of the NJ Division of Taxation and representatives of the NJ Department of Community Affairs and the NJ Treasury Department. Clark said that he would advocate for the opt out provision when the steering committee meets next week.
In addition to allowing towns to opt out, the Tax Board said they would revise the ADP to prevent the year to year volatility of property assessments and that they would improve the online reporting of the data generated by the program.