Canal Walk Residents Complain About Large Property Assessment Increases

8-9-16 Meeting - 4

Alice Krihak tells Township Council members about the steep increase in her property taxes.

Steep increases in their property tax bills sent a contingent of Canal Walk residents to the Aug. 9 Township Council meeting for help, but they didn’t really get any satisfaction.

The residents were basically told that their beef is with the state Legislature, and the age-old process by which property taxes are calculated.

They did, though, get an offer from township manager Robert Vornlocker to attend a meeting of Canal Walk residents with township assessor Richard Carabelli, during which the entire assessment process would be explained.

Vornlocker said the overall assessment increase for Canal Walk homes ranged between $10,000 and $35,000 this year. But, he said that was the first increase in about three years.

That didn’t mollify the two dozen or so residents who showed up at the meeting.

Alice Krihak of Republic Row said that her assessment increased $31,500, a 33 percent increase, and wondered if Canal Walk homeowners had been singled out.

Vornlocker told her that the entire township is assessed annually, and that Canal Walk properties were assessed after analyzing two years’ worth of sales data for the various models within the development.

Paul Moskowitz of Delaware Crossing said that his assessment increased from $89,000 to $120,000. He said residents of all four of the township’s active adult communities should “get a break” on their property taxes.

“A lot of people are on fixed incomes,” he said.

Township attorney Lou Rainone told Moskowitz that the Township Council does not have the power to adjust residents’ property taxes.

“You’re upset, and you have a right to be upset,” Mayor Phillip Kramer said.

Township Councilwoman Roz Sherman, (D-Ward 2), a Somerset Run resident, said that her development experienced an assessment increase two years ago.

“Our prices have gone up, the value of my home has gone up, therefore the assessments went up,” she said.

“You’re not being singled out,” Sherman said. She said the assessor “told us that he was watching what was going on at the other adult communities.”

At one point, some members of the audience yelled that the council is “forcing us to move.”

“We’re not forcing anything,” Kramer said. “The budget is lower now than it was in 2009. That is the only control we have over property taxes.”


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