TAX BILLS: MORE City: We're holding the line Friday, January 11, 2008You'd better be seated when you open the first-quarter tax bill just sent out by Jersey City. According to Tax Collector Maureen Cosgrove, property owners with houses assessed at $100,000 can expect to receive a bill roughly $100 higher than last quarter's bill. Mayor Jerramiah Healy sent out a letter with the tax bills stating the hike is due to "higher county and Board of Education taxes," but that his administration has "kept municipal taxes stable." But according to city officials who explained the tax bill more fully yesterday, the total tax revenue to be raised by the city has risen $4 million since July and $9 million since tax bills were sent out this time last year. City officials said yesterday that hope is on the way as far as the municipal portion of the bill is concerned. Due to an increase of $200 million in ratables in the city, local taxpayers should see the municipal portion of their bills shrink for the next two quarters. When the new budget is introduced - it is expected in the next few weeks - the tax rate for the municipal portion is going to be $2,533 for every $100,000 of assessed value, or $130 less than it is now, said Business Administrator Brian O'Reilly. "The city for the second year in a row is keeping taxes stable," O'Reilly said. "(But) school taxes are up $10 million in two years, county taxes are up from $65 million to $80 million." As state school aid has decreased over the past two years, the local school tax levy has risen. But Jersey City taxpayers are still paying only $81.2 million of the $600 million public school budget due to its status as a "special needs" district. As far as the county bill goes, Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly called Jersey City "a victim of its own success." "Its property values have gone through the roof. Under state law, the formula that controls county taxation puts the burden on the communities that are growing." KEN THORBOURNE
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