The average residential property tax bill in New Jersey rose fastest in the counties with lower household incomes, according to a review of 2018 tax data by New Jersey 101.5.

Official data from the state Department of Community Affairs isn’t expected to be available for another two or three weeks, so this analysis relies on the 21 county abstracts of taxable properties and average residential assessment figures from the state Division of Taxation.

The data includes 65 columns of information about 565 municipalities. Here are some highlights:

  • The average statewide residential tax bill rose by the smallest amount in decades: $77, or 0.9 percent. But that was skewed by long-overdue revaluations, particularly in Jersey City, which limited the impact of increased property values to only a few municipalities.
  • The biggest increases for the average tax bill were in South Jersey counties: up 3.6 percent in Cumberland, 3.2 percent in Salem and 3.1 percent in Cape May. Those three counties, however, still have the three lowest average tax bills in the state.
  • That pain wasn’t the case for the entire South Jersey region: The average tax bill was down 2.3 percent in Burlington County, up 0.4 percent in Atlantic County and up 1 percent in Gloucester County.
  • Passaic County for the first time joined four other North Jersey counties – Bergen, Essex, Morris and Union – with an average tax bill topping $10,000. Passaic also nudged past Somerset County on the tax bill rankings.
  • Among New Jersey’s 565 municipalities, the median increase in 2018 was 1.9 percent. That’s better than a year earlier, when it was 2.1 percent.
  • There were fewer cities and towns in which the average property tax bill dropped – 59 last year, after there were 66 in 2017.
  • Four towns saw the average residential tax bill increase by more than 10 percent: Interlaken, Elmer, Wrightstown and Stow Creek. It went up by more than 2 percent – which is the cap on levies, not bills, and exempts some government expenses – in 267 municipalities.

“People are angry, and residents have every right to be angry. And the anger is only going to increase every time you see that bill,” said Brian Thomas, executive director for Citizens for Accountable Taxation, which launched last year and runs Fair Property Taxes for All New Jersey.

“But unfortunately, a lot of residents due just chalk it up to the fact that this is the way the situation is in New Jersey, and they’re not expecting things to change,” Thomas said.

Thomas said there are solutions and ideas “floating around out there” that can help but that haven’t been made priorities. He said the state should study how the 2 percent tax levy cap of 2010 is working and make school funding more equitable.

“It’s not a one-off solution that’s going to lower everybody’s property taxes. It’s kind of a combination of things that have to come together to bring about the relief in the state,” Thomas said.

Statewide, the school-purposes property tax levy has doubled since 2000, reaching $15.5 billion. Municipal taxes have more than doubled since 2002, nearly $8.7 billion. The county tax levy doubled since 1999, reaching $5.3 billion.

School taxes account for 52.6 percent of the statewide property tax levy – inching higher for a fourth straight year but still below its peak of more than 55 percent between 2002 and 2005.

MAP: Compare your town

Scroll, zoom and click the map to see the average residential property tax bill for 2018 and how it compares to the previous year. Municipalities in RED saw increases; GREEN saw decreases or no change. If map is not working, click here.