Hamilton Apartments successful in tax judgment

A Hamilton Street apartment complex was awarded a roughly 13 percent refund on its property tax bill over two years after a judgment by the state Tax Court.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution (AR-49-13) at its March 11 meeting authorizing the refund of $25,830.81 over two tax years —  $14,128.72 for 2009 and $11,702.10 for 2010.

The assessment only changed for 2009 and 2010 through a Tax Court judgment and by 2011, the improving market for apartments and the city’s increasing ratio justified the existing assessment, according to Tax Assessor Tom Mancuso, so as part of the settlement, the property owner withdrew an appeal for 2011 and 2012. Settlements like this are rare, he said, with the reduction usually continuing into latter years, but as the apartment market improves and the city’s ratio climbs, it makes it easier for the city to defend assessments.

The owner of Hamilton Apartments, at 768-88 Hamilton St., is listed as Goldman Hamilton, LP, in Fords. The property (Block 175, Lot 1) was built in 1963 and last year was assessed at $1.711 million, bringing an annual property tax bill of nearly $100,000. There are 58 units within two three-story buildings.

The City Council also authorized another refund at its May 13 meeting (AR-103-13) of $15,005.64 for the owner of 991 St. Georges Ave. (Block 141, Lot 15.01). The refund was for the 2009 tax year.

The former Wells Fargo branch was acquired in February 2010 for $824,250 and converted into a medical office. The property is assessed at $653,800, generating a property tax bill last year of $38,188. The Zoning Board approved variances for the doctor’s office in September 2010 and the bank facility was renovated sometime last summer.

The City Council approved AR 77-13 at its April 8 meeting, authorizing a $110,215 refund for overpayment of taxes on 147 condominium units at Carriage City Plaza owned by 80 E. Milton Ave., LLC.

80 E. Milton was among a slew of property owners to have successful judgments at the Union County Board of Taxation last year, leading to a huge increase in the number of successful tax appeals soared last year. The number of successful appeals dropped the city’s valuation by $11 million, and affecting the city budget by about $25 in municipal taxes for the average assessed home.

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