Midsized single homes and affordable housing can have high costs to town...require informed, balanced decisions....Help some, hurt others.
LOTS OF NEW HOUSING..HARD DECISIONS...MORE INPUT NEEDED
During the next few years extensive new housing is planned to go up in Montclair. Communities with a reputation for better schools attract a disproportionately higher number of school aged children. It is imperative that housing is planned to maintain the right balance of residents using public schools with those that do not but pay taxes to support them. For a list of proposed development go to our town site here---.
In general, both mid range priced single family homes with school children pay much less in taxes than they cost the town. In addition, since designated affordable housing units are sold or rented below the market rate, they pay reduced taxes or rent accordingly.
Other tax payers make up the difference. According to the 2015 census there were 15347 household units in Montclair but since their are foreclosures not all households are paying taxes.
Many empty nesters leave New Jersey for a less expensive housing however many just move to adjacent towns. We need to have alternatives for more empty nesters to stay here since they are primarily replaced with young families.
Everyone agrees that maintaining excellent education is crucial but costly. Overcrowding the classrooms degrades education for every school child. According to the NJ Dept of Education 2013/14 school year cost per K-12 Montclair student was $19,093.
In 2010 the newly built Charles Bullock primary school opened in order to lower the number of children in primary grades, at a cost of $31 million. Census data for that same year indicated Montclair had 14520 households units including renters responsible for the debt which continues in our taxes today.
Its not unique for all tax payers to subsidize those residents with school aged children but residents and decision makers need to understand the potential cost implications of adding housing. However in recent years Montclair has had what other towns may not have: strong pressure for larger scale development and very active proponents and agencies asking for more and more designated affordable housing.
We need to understand the town’s cost implications of more housing, single family homes and "affordable housing" rented or sold on the town finances, schools and taxpayers. We have to rely our Council to make well-informed responsible planning decisions for the all residents, especially those with the lowest incomes who can least afford higher taxes or rent increases.
Keep in mind, only a portion of your property taxes go to schools. According to the Montclair Assessors Office during the 2015 year 55.74% of household property taxes went to our schools while the remainder was divided among the municipality, libraries, open space and the county. In recent years, non-school town services cost an additional $5-7000 per household unit including town administration, police, fire, streets, waste management, utilities etc.
A median 3 bedroom home in town assessed at $585,000 typically houses 1-2 school children and may pay $16-20,000 in total property taxes. However, if this median home has two children attending public school they will cost the town about $46,000-47,000. Renters pay taxes as a large portion of rent.
Mid range single family homes are popular with developers since they sell easily now. Larger homesites are being sold and subdivided by developers into lots to build multiple homes. Just this week, the planning board was required according to zoning regulations to approve 8 new homes to be built after the demolition of a large historic homesite at 44 Pleasant Ave.
Our schools can expect to gain an average of two children per household from this development. This will cost to the city schools approximately $320,000 per year at today’s cost. However, tax income from the 8 households will be much less than actual town costs. These proposed homes assessed between $8-900,000 may pay about $30,000 in property taxes for a total of $240,000. If each have two school aged children the total will cost may be over $376,000 for school and other town services.
Five housing units were also approved on the corner of Claremont and Grove in a lot which had been an empty single family home and funeral parlor. We now see two duplexes and soon a new single family home will go up. Schools will likely see an additional 8-10 children from these 5 new home units and again costs will far exceed tax revenues produced.
Affordable Housing is also very important to be planned responsibly and needs to be in balance with other housing to make up the difference in tax revenue and costs. “Affordable housing” is a federal term as well as a town ordinance to provide housing for those who cannot afford to live in Montclair, unless provided below market rate housing. Local proponents pressure for all development over 5 units to designate 20% affordable households. The town and tax payers share cost by accepting lower taxes from those residents and its explained here on the townsite.
In addition, an agency, Homecore has a local office to promote as well as build affordable housing. Talbot Street affordable housing units went on sale recently. Open here for tax revenues for these affordable units. Since 3 bedroom unit requires 5 residents and may average $3500 in taxes but potentially have 2-4 children and cost $6-7000 in town services and about $20,000 for each child in a public school.
Montclair has a sizable population who needs affordable housing assistance however eligible "affordable housing" applicants need not live in Montclair or even New Jersey. According to our planning office, any applicant living legally in the US may qualify for "affordable housing" in New Jersey. Therefore eligible applicants from out of town may obtain affordable housing in Montclair and add children to our already crowded schools while current residents do not get the help.
Recently our town officials are discussing providing half of affordable housing units ( or 10% of all new units ) to town employees. Local land and affordable housing are precious commodities so should be used for the most benefit of the town. In this metropolitan area most people commute to their jobs. If affordable units went to qualified senior households or current residents there would be no impact on schools.
Our Council representatives need to hear from more residents asking for balanced housing to protect our schools and tax payers. Residents want responsible, well informed planning and decisions which help our schools and township’s financial success. Communicate with your your representative.
What we need:
To find your ward or Councilor’s name call 973-509-4901.
Mayor Robert Jackson: email@example.com
1st Ward Cllr./Dep. Mayor Bill Hurlock: firstname.lastname@example.org
2nd Ward Cllr. Schlager: email@example.com
3rd Ward Cllr. Spiller: firstname.lastname@example.org
4th Ward Cllr. Baskerville: email@example.com
At-Large Robert J. Russo: firstname.lastname@example.org
At-Large Rich McMahon: email@example.com
Details of Redevelopment Area Proposals
Council Email addresses, Meeting Agendas and Minutes
HPC Meeting Agendas
Planning Board Agendas