Think you have a high tax bill?
If it's not seven figures, you're nowhere near the top of the heap.
An analysis of the township's 2011 tax rolls shows that Brick Plaza – the entire complex is essentially one building – tops the list of heavy-hitting ratables. The annual tax bill: $1,109,748.
The shopping center, assessed at $57,038,900 by the township, represents the only property in Brick that yields a property tax bill over the $1 million mark.
But several other commercial properties come close.
The Costco shopping plaza on Route 70, owned by JSM @ Brick, is the township's second-highest valued property, assessed at $39,911,100 and billed $776,510 in 2011. In third place, the Kohl's shopping center, owned by Vornado Realty Trust, paid $722,753 in property taxes.
Of the top 10 highest tax bills in Brick, all but one – the Kentwood Apartments off Route 70 – are large-scale commercial shopping plazas. Collectively, the top 10 ratables in town yield more than $5.6 million in revenue, or about 6 percent of the township's entire yearly operating budget.
In all, there are more than 33,400 lots in town that produce property tax revenue, the bulk of which goes to fund the township school district. Municipal taxes and county taxes make up the remainder of the bill.
But businesses weren't the only types of properties whose tax bills hit the six-figure mark in 2011, however.
The palatial waterfront estate owned by former Verizon president Lawrence Babbio was taxed $139,160 last year. The Princeton Avenue home, which is set behind large black gates and backs up to the Metedeconk River, is assessed at $7,152,600.
In addition to his home, Babbio owns an adjacent lot that was taxed at $13,381.
The second-highest assessed residential home on the list is a large, modern bayfront home on Dutchmans Point Road. That home, valued at $3,948,700, yielded $76,825 in property taxes.
Homes off Princeton Avenue and in various neighborhoods of the township's barrier island section produce the bulk of the highest-taxed residential properties.
With no improvements, the former Foodtown property on Route 70 is assessed at $4,800,300, though with improvements the assessment would undoubtedly increase significantly. The site is currently under township ownership and does not produce any tax revenue.
Another notable property, the Ocean Ice Palace facility on Chambers Bridge Road, generated $112,607 in tax revenue last year. The township stopped short of buying the property several years ago after it appeared likely a petition drive would have forced a public vote on the purchase.
Despite the millions of dollars big-box stores pump into township coffers each year, some residents say they're tired of what seems like years of construction projects and increased sprawl.
"I can't possibly see one reason for anything to be built with all the empty stores around," said Raquel Pagliaro Guzman, who responded to a question on the topic posted on Brick Patch's Facebook page over the weekend. "How about some redevelopment of what is already there?"
"Brick doesn't need any more new strip malls," agreed Kathy Lake Gearin, who also joined in the Facebook discussion. "They should try filling the empty stores they have now before considering new ones. Filling those stores would bring in revenue that they need without adding to the problem."
The average Brick resident's home is assessed at approximately $330,000, according to township records, and taxed at $6,661 per year. Despite a controversial referendum that helped raise the average tax bill in 2011, Brick was still well under the average New Jersey residential tax bill of $7,576 in 2010, the last year for which state tax figures were available.