A letter received to the Borough from the Hunterdon County Board of Taxation regarding refused interior inspections of properties.


Body copy reference:

September 27, 2023

Borough of High Bridge
97 West Main Street
High Bridge, NJ 08829

Dear Mayor and Borough Council,

At the September 20th meeting of the Hunterdon County Board of Taxation, the tax board
commissioners reviewed the September report for High Bridge’s annual reassessment and heard
testimony from High Bridge Tax Assessor Anna Maria Obiedzinski.

Of particular concern is the substantial increase in refused interior inspections of properties,
being conducted as part of the reassessment program. Refused interior inspections have risen to
nearly one third of all inspections conducted. This is not good news for the High Bridge municipal
government, nor the residents of High Bridge.

The purpose of the interior inspection is to confirm that assessment records are indeed
accurate or if inaccuracies were observed, necessitating a correction to the property record card. The
verified inspection data collected is then utilized, by the tax assessor, to ensure properties are
assessed in a uniform manner. The inspector will verify square footage, condition, and various other
characteristics of a property upon their inspection. Failure to collect this vital information will
reduce the quality of the reassessment program and ultimately lead to inequitable assessments.

It is in the interest of the property owner to allow an interior inspection. Without an interior
inspection, the tax assessor is responsible for estimating the property’s value according to its highest
and best use.

Additionally, if a property owner refuses inspection, their tax appeal may be dismissed for
failure to allow the interior inspection under the rules of discovery. The Tax Court of New Jersey
has consistently upheld the municipality’s motion to dismiss, under Rule 4:23-1, for failure to allow
interior inspection of a property under appeal.

Any assistance with educating the general public about the importance of gathering accurate
data for the valuation of property would be greatly appreciated.

Tony Porto
Tax Board Administrator