Brick Township property owners whose homes or businesses suffered "material damage" from Superstorm Sandy now have a process by which they can apply for a reassessment of their property tax obligation.
Local officials had expected the state - whether the legislature or the governor - to clarify the process by which certain laws that govern reassessments would be carried out in the wake of the storm, but that never happened as planned. Instead, the Ocean County Tax Board has given local tax assessors guidelines for how such reassessments should take place, Business Administrator Scott Pezarras said.
According to a document put out by county tax officials, property owners who suffered significant storm damage have until Jan. 10 to notify the township tax assessor in writing in order to receive an assessment adjustment.
Though, legally, it is still a property owner's responsibility to notify their assessor in writing, municipalities are being urged to proactively identify properties eligible for reassessments and apply adjustments.
"This is being done in recognition of the extreme hardship placed upon some property owners who have lost their homes or temporarily are unable to occupy their homes," the county's tax board said in a statement.
The proactive identification is being urged for properties that are "uninhabitable or totally destroyed."
"In Ocean County, assessors face a difficult task establishing which properties are damaged and to what extent they are damaged," the tax board said.
With that in mind, property owners are being asked to include their name, address, phone number, block and lot, and the nature and extent of the damages when notifying their assessor. The county has also posted a Material Depreciation Form on its website, which should be submitted.
Residents can also include repair receipts and estimates, as well as photos, in their notifications.
There is one caveat in the process, however. Residents whose properties are reassessed due to storm damage will need an additional reassessment once repairs are completed. There is no guarantee that a resident's tax rate will remain identical to their previous assessment.
Brick Township's tax assessor's office can be contacted at 732-262-1069. The office is located at the municipal complex, located at 401 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick, NJ, 08723.
Residents with questions can also contact the Ocean County Tax Board at 732-929-2008 or by e-mailing TaxAdministrator@co.ocean.nj.us.