Tax assessments on more than 40,000 properties in New Jersey have been reduced by $4.3 billion due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, according to a published report.
Citing previously unreleased state Treasury Department data it obtained through an Open Public Records Act request, The Press of Atlantic City says the reductions were made in the months after the storm.
The changes occurred when state taxation officials created a system for tax assessors in communities hardest hit by the storm, to help them track losses to ratable bases. Through the spring, the state compiled that data into one document to help analyze which local governments would see their budget revenue most affected by the storm.
The data represents reductions on properties that could not be immediately repaired and will therefore be valued less for 2013 tax purposes. In many cases, homeowners were waiting for more information or insurance money before repairing when inspectors conducted analyses in December and January.
The state initially estimated in November that Sandy would cost New Jersey $36.9 billion, but the newspaper said the data it obtained provides a more precise picture of losses to tax bases.
Ocean County lost $3.6 billion from its ratable base due solely to storm damage, a 3.8 percent drop from 2012. Monmouth County saw the second largest drop, with about $511 million in reduced assessments, followed by Atlantic County at about $72 million and Cape May County at $26 million.
Outside of Ocean and Monmouth counties, no municipality lost more than 1 percent of its tax base due to Sandy, except rural Downe Township in Cumberland County. The town, which sits on the Delaware Bay, lost about $3.6 million in assessments, or almost 2 percent of its total property assessment.
The storm affected assessments in all but three of the state's 21 counties.