Introduced Ordinance Would Authorize $800,000 for Township-Wide Property Revaluation

The ordinance introduced on Tuesday by Lawrence Township Council, if approved at council's next meeting, authorizes an "emergency" appropriation of $800,000 to pay, over five years, for the county-ordered revaluation of all property in the township.

During Tuesday evening’s (Aug. 21) Lawrence Township Council meeting, an ordinance was introduced that, if approved, will allow the township to pay the cost of its county-ordered township-wide property revaluation over a five-year period.

The ordinance – which will have a public hearing next month before council members vote whether or not to approve it – will authorize a “special emergency appropriation” of $800,000, allowing the township to hire a firm to revaluate all properties in the township except for Quaker Bridge Mall and its four “anchor” stores (J.C. Penney, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Sears).

Those retail properties will be revaluated through a separate professional services contract, the cost of which would also be covered by the special $800,000 appropriation.

“Local budget law provides for what you have before you, a special emergency authorization, that will allow the payback over a five-year period of the cost of certain statutory operations. One of those is a revaluation of property in a municipality when it is in fact ordered by a county board of taxation. Lawrence Township has been ordered to conduct a revaluation of all property in Lawrence Township,” Krawczun advised council members Tuesday night.

“This appropriation would provide funding. The amount would have to be paid over each of the next five years, beginning in budget year 2013. And I want to point out, we had included this in our estimates when we so we were cognizant that this would be a factor for 2013,” Krawczun continued.

On Aug. 15, the township opened five sealed bids that were submitted by firms vying for the contract to conduct the revaluation. Those bids, ranging from approximately $730,000 to $1.02 million, are in the process of being reviewed for compliance with the township’s bid specifications.

“This $800,000 would provide funding for the reval company, which is in excess of $700,000,” Krawczun further explained at Tuesday’s meeting. “It will also provide funding for a separate professional services contract for the revaluing of the mall and the four anchors. And then there will be a small amount left for hourly rates that we may be obligated to pay under the bid to the reval company in the event there is appeal work that they have to represent us for at the county board.

“This ordinance will need a second reading at the September meeting. At that time, once this ordinance is adopted, [it] will provide for funding, which will then allow us to authorize the contract for the reval company, because that contract requires certification of the availability of funds,” he said. “Absent this ordinance, if we were to enter into the contract with the reval company, we would have to do what we would call a regular emergency appropriation and the full amount would have to be repaid in a single year – 2013.”

The new property assessments – and corresponding municipal tax rate adjustment – that result from the revaluation would not take effect until 2014.

*   *   *

Also introduced during Tuesday’s meeting were two other ordinances, both of which will undergo a public hearing and council adoption vote at the next meeting on Sept. 4.

One of those ordinances would install a mid-block pedestrian crosswalk on Lewisville Road to link new sections of the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail that will be built on properties owned by Lawrenceville School and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The other ordinance, if approved, would amend certain fees collected by the township, such as the charges for fire inspections and issuing of copies of marriage and birth certificates. Krawczun estimated that those fee increases would generate an additional $30,000 in revenue for the township.

*   *   *

Also on Tuesday, council adopted three other ordinances, two of which amended previously-adopted bond ordinances to allow for the purchase of video surveillance equipment and related software for the township public works facility. The third, in response to a state Department of Health directive, amended the township’s administrative code concerning nuisances.

Council also awarded a $91,500 bid to Hoffman Services Inc. of Newark for the replacement of a hydraulic lift at the public works facility. Meanwhile, council rejected a bid submission concerning the purchase of a police vehicle because the bid exceeded the amount the township had appropriated for the purchase.


Copies of all the above ordinances, as well as other documents distributed at Tuesday’s meeting, can be found in the media box above. Full audio from the meeting can also be found above.    

Sean Michaels August 23, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Unbelieveable...we have no money yet we can spent $800,000 to reevaluate properties. Another pedestrian crosswalk for the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail that I never see anyone on and that we have wasted how much money on paving,painting and signage! This town is a joke! I have lived here 25 years and wish I could afford to move but no one in their right mind would move here. Mr. Krawczun and the council need to be held accountable for getting us into this mess. The citizens are not responsible for it but yet we are the ones paying the price.
Linda August 23, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Sure we are paying the price, because the Democrats really bellive they know best what to do with the taxpayers money! This has always been their mantra. Just listen to Obama when he speaks about who built your business! Or how the wealth should be shared! This Country, State, County and Town should get a complete makeover. It all goes to croneyism. I wish I knew how to replace this Richard Krawczun! How does he keep his job? He is a complete failure as a manager and he gets his big fat paycheck year after year! I too feel the blood shoot from my eyes when I hear more money for "trails"!
Chief Wahoo August 23, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Dick continues to take your money because you all willingly hand it over to the creep.... WAKE UP PEOPLE !!!....the old rules no longer apply.....think outside the box Property TAX REVOLT AND THROW THIS GUY OUT ON HIS BACK
I am OUT August 23, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Since my comment got erased I guess I can just say thanks for spending money on a walking bridge when we are being reassessed, losing jobs and crying poor. This town government is a damn disgrace.
Patrick August 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM
What does this have to do with Obama? and of course you quote a out of context lie spun by the Romney/Ryan machine, and sadly Romney/Ryan didn't even craft that message... That would be Roger Ailes of FoxNews. and perhaps you missed this in the first paragraph... as did most here... "county-ordered township-wide property revaluation over a five-year period."
Enough of Lawrence August 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM
When I first moved to Lawrence I really loved living here. Since then I've seen my property taxes quadruple and then some. Dickie boy and his buddies are a disgrace and should be booted out of their fat democratic rear ends. Take away their fat paychecks and pensions and make them live on the salaries most average Americans have to survive on. I can't wait to get out of here.
grill master August 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Hear, Hear Wahoo....You are right. It has nothing to do with Dem. or Rep. It's the 3 dolts that are running this town into the ground, Krookzun, Puliti and Pozluski...or however you spell his ridiculous name. There is close to a million dollar gap in 2013's budget, but we are spending money on a stupid cross walk that no one will use. Obviously it's one of their buddies that will be getting paid to build it.
Stinki Garbaage August 24, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Patrick, it's all related on some level. The town's ratables are down since 2008, with no recovery at all. Obama has to take responsibility for his utter failure to turn around the economy. Every other recession in history was followed by a recovery of modest to robust growth. But Obama's policies have resulted in growth in the 1.0% to 2.0% range for 3 years. Unemployment over 8% for his entire presidency. Why? Obamacare, the largest tax increase in history Taxmageddon, the next largest tax increase, which is looming Oil and Gas prices which impact EVERY BUSINESS AND CONSUMER - gas prices are 2X what they were when he took office Jobs - Obama hasn't met with his own jobs council for 8 months. He can play basketball with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson in NYC to raise money, but he can't meet with his own jobs council. All this from the leader of the free world. Fix this issue, replace this man, economy turns around, companies grow and hire, ratables increase, etc., etc. Re-elect this man, and see what happens. Read today's Wall street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444358404577607653771401124.html?fb_action_ids=179043395563477&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582
mngray August 24, 2012 at 07:01 PM
First we need to correct the misconception that the township or the tax payers are paying for the Lawrence Hopewell Trail crossing at Lewisville road. They are not. The crossing, and this entire trail section, is paid for by a grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Bristol-Myers Squibb donated the land. This section will provide for a safe crossing of Princeton Pike and an off-road connection to the D&R Canal Tow Path, it will also connect Main Street Lawrenceville, through the Lawrenceville School, to this section of trail. Again, all off road and at no cost to Lawrence taxpayers. And secondly, there are hundreds of people using the LHT every week. Every time another safe crossing or off-road section is completed, more people, neighborhoods and kids have a safe way to move around our community. This 22+ mile trail is about 75% complete. This is not a rails-to-trail program where you have one land owner and often one funding source. We work with multiple landowners and work diligently to find funding sources. The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is a non-profit, volunteer organization made up of area residents and businesses who are trying to make our community more livable. If you have any questions, please visit our website: www.lhtrail.org
mngray August 24, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Just to point out again, the township taxpayers are not paying for this trail section or the crossing. It is paid for by a grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and built on land donated by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The Township simply needed to approve the crossing. For more information see above, or visit Lawrence Hopewell Trail web site, www.lhtrail.org
pridesouthof95 August 24, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Say NO to the TRAIL August 24, 2012 at 08:42 PM
If the town was not funding anything no ordnance would be necessary. The planning or zoning board and construction offices would handle it. Save your propaganda mngray. The trail is ridiculous and a complete waste of money to 99.99999999% of the community. Taxs and spending tax money affects 100% of taxpayers. Knock off the unnecessary projects until we can all breath again.
Patrick August 25, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Max, You are hitting some of the points Niall Ferguson pointed out in his Newsweek cover story. rather then debate you further, I will just say that Paul Krugman is right, and the majority of thinking people agree with him and his use of real facts not selective plucking... if you are not familiar with this debate read up on it. Romney's tax cuts are unfunded, will cause more debt, and even MORE burden on the states.... http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/08/niall-fergusons-ridiculous-misleading-defense-132551.html


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