The combination of—at least for about 40 percent of Montclair residents—and concerns over property values have caused at least some taxpayers to wonder whether they can continue to afford to live in Montclair.
"We've lived here for 17 years and are two professionals with two children," said one woman at Tuesday night's Township Council meeting. "Our taxes have gone up 25 percent and we simply can't afford it here anymore."
According to members of the Concerned Citizens of Montclair group, property taxes and billings to cover municipal, school, and sewer costs have gone up 93 percent since 2000. During the same time period, the debt has grown by 198 percent.
But apparently it's not just Montclair that may be in danger of losing its residents—but all of New Jersey.
A survey on American migration patterns that full-service moving company United Van Lines has conducted annually for the past 35 years shows that New Jersey finished first in 2010, among all 50 states, and a close second to Illinois last year in its outbound migration, according to the heavily-cited UVL survey.
Generally speaking, the problem boils down to high taxes.
According to the National Taxpayers Union, about 30 percent of properties in the U.S. are assessed at higher values than they are really worth. That means their owners pay inflated property tax bills while other taxpayers in their towns enjoy the rewards.
Cities, counties and school districts are pulling in 20 percent more in property taxes than they did in 2006, before the housing bubble burst and when home values were one-third higher than they are today, USA Today reported.
According to an ABC News report, here are the top counties in median real estate taxes paid in 2010:
1. Westchester County, New York: $9,003
2. Nassau County, New York: $8,711
3. Hunterdon County, New Jersey: $8,523
4. Bergen County, New Jersey: $8,489
5. Rockland County, New York: $8,268
6. Essex County, New Jersey: $8,117
7. Somerset County, New Jersey: $7,801
8. Morris County, New Jersey : $7,707
9. Passaic County, New Jersey: $7,544
10. Union County, New Jersey: $7,443
So what will you do? Stick around or head for the hills? Let us know in the comments section below and take our poll.
Fair Lawn Patch contributed to this report.
To get all the news in Montclair first—sign up for the daily Montclair Patch newsletter now.