When a storm ravages a town, the damage can last for generations
Property values remain depressed for decades, and since we pay for our schools with property taxes (for some reason) the schools suffer worst.
The storm damaged tens of billions of dollars’ worth of real estate, especially in coastal areas of Long Island and New Jersey. As a result, localities can no longer expect to reap the same taxes from properties that have lost much of their value — in some cases, permanently.
Without new revenues, state and local officials and Wall Street analysts said, these areas may have to make deep cuts in spending on schools, police and fire departments and other services. They also may be hard-pressed to finance rebuilding.
“Absolutely, this is going to be devastating for several years,” said Ester Bivona, former president of the New York State Receivers and Collectors Association, which represents local tax officials.
The Division of Local Government Services in New Jersey estimated this month that more than a dozen municipalities in the state could lose at least 10 percent of their tax bases. About another 10 face a drop between 5 percent and 10 percent, state and local officials said.
Among the worst hit is Toms River, one of New Jersey’s largest municipalities, with 90,000 people. It recently warned Wall Street that property tax receipts could drop 10 percent to 15 percent, according to its financial disclosure documents.