The New Jersey Devils let their power play do a lot of their scoring early in the season. Over the first 20 games of the season, the Devils led the league in power-play goals. He scored 25 goals with the mad advantage and just 37 goals at 5v5. The power play was running things.
At the time, the Devils were still posting decent analytics at 5v5, so even if the power play fell back to Earth, the 5v5 goals would regulate. Everything would even out.
The opposite has happened. The Devils’ power play has tanked beyond what anyone thought possible, and the 5v5 goals haven’t caught up. Over the last 25 games, the Devils have eight power-play goals. That ranked last in the NHL during that time. Of course, it’s highlighted by this current 0-for-21 streak.
The Devils just got shut out by the Carolina Hurricanes despite getting three power plays. Jack Hughes is back, so that can’t be an excuse. Ondrej Palat, Timo Meier, Nico Hischier, and Eric Haula are all healthy, so their units are only missing Dougie Hamilton. Was he truly that important?
Hamilton was obviously important, but he was on the ice for just nine power-play goals in 20 games. The Devils downgraded him to the second power-play unit (which the Devils would say actually wasn’t a downgrade). One of the things that was really working for New Jersey was they had two great PP units with Luke Hughes quarterbacking the top unit. Now, the first unit is top-heavy again.
The Devils have surprisingly been not so bad at 5v5 scoring. Failing to score on Saturday aside, the Devils have scored 59 goals at 5v5 in their last 25 games. Despite scoring the fourth-most even-strength goals in that time frame, the Devils are 11-11-3. Many will point to the injuries (Jack Hughes missed a ton of time, as did Meier and obviously Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler), but they were scoring. Now, they are as fully healthy as they will be all season. And they can’t score.
Obviously, this is made worse by how bad the Devils goaltending has been. Sure, Vitek Vanecek was good on Saturday, but he was the sole reason they lost on Thursday. Now, with the power play failing to score every single game, there is no room for error with the 5v5 offense.
The Devils are in a very bad position. The playoffs are slipping away by the game. They have probably 10 more losses for the rest of the season if they believe the playoffs are still the goal. That means scoring has to happen. They aren’t even getting high-danger chances. The power play tries the same thing over and over. The puck spends too much time on the perimeter and not enough time near the goal mount.
It’s an issue that will literally tank the Devils season. Everything has to go right. That includes the power play. One could argue it has gone so wrong that just by pure luck, the power play will turn around. However, they haven’t done much to fix it. It’s time to make it clear the PP has to get more aggressive. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter who is in net. We learned on Saturday that the issues with the Devils are so much more than in net. The power play is quickly at the top of the list.
Hotel owners in N.J. reminded to make sure housekeepers have panic devices
Under the law, hotel employers must supply, pay for and maintain panic devices, which can alert hotel managers or security guards. Some of the devices will set off a siren when activated.
The panic device law also requires hotels to keep a record of the accusations it receives and maintain the name of the accused guest on a list for five years from the date of the incident. The law also specifies any suspected misconduct or criminal activity must be reported to law enforcement.
In addition, the law prohibits employers from punishing any employee who activates a panic device, and the employer must notify other employees of the presence and location of any accused guests and allow them to opt out of servicing such locations.
The law stipulates the hotel, motel or inn must also immediately reassign the hotel employee who activated the panic device to a different work area away from the accused guest’s room for the duration of their stay.
Hotels that violate the law can be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for subsequent violations.
“The hospitality, entertainment, travel tourism industry is huge in New Jersey, it employs thousands of hotel workers,” Asaro-Angelo said. “Because this industry is so vital to our state it’s even more vital we protect the workers who work here.”
He noted the device can be worn on a chain around the neck, or it may be a type of two-way radio that can be carried in a pocket.
There are currently about 350 hotels, motels, inns and guest houses that have 100 or more rooms in New Jersey.
Some big brand hotel chains, including Marriott and Hilton, have distributed panic devices across the nation to all their employees who work alone in guest rooms.
According to a Labor Department spokesperson, the agency is focused on panic device law awareness and education, and has not issued any fines or penalties yet.
Essex County Homeowners Pay Highest Property Taxes In New Jersey
ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Which towns and cities in Essex County are the hardest-hit when it comes to property taxes? It depends how you look at it, the latest data shows.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs recently released the 2023 property tax tables for each town and city in the state. On average, New Jersey property owners paid $9,803 in property taxes on a home valued at $365,661 – about $300 more than the previous year. Read More: NJ Property Taxes Hit A New High
Property taxes are always a hot-button issue in Essex County, which routinely ranks as one of the most-heavily taxed in the nation.
In total, the average Essex County property owner paid $13,448 in taxes on a home valued at $428,538 last year – the highest in New Jersey. Out of the 15 towns with the highest average taxes, five are located in Essex County: Millburn, Glen Ridge, Montclair, South Orange and Essex Fells.
Here are the latest tallies, ranked by highest taxes (totals don’t include credits and deductions):
- Millburn – $24,947 average tax bill on a home valued at $1,275,642
- Glen Ridge – $22,605 average tax bill on a home valued at $670,102
- Montclair – $21,415 average tax bill on a home valued at $633,605
- South Orange – $21,287 average tax bill on a home valued at $585,351
- Essex Fells – $20,335 average tax bill on a home valued at $937,969
- Maplewood – $18,266 average tax bill on a home valued at $505,213
- North Caldwell – $17,593 average tax bill on a home valued at $794,090
- Livingston – $16,888 average tax bill on a home valued at $712,139
- West Orange – $15,475 average tax bill on a home valued at $336,591
- Verona – $13,258 average tax bill on a home valued at $433,026
- Caldwell – $13,197 average tax bill on a home valued at $425,488
- Nutley – $12,650 average tax bill on a home valued at $491,074
- West Caldwell – $12,068 average tax bill on a home valued at $446,864
- Cedar Grove – $12,022 average tax bill on a home valued at $475,225
- Orange – $11,762 average tax bill on a home valued at $315,612
- Bloomfield – $11,561 average tax bill on a home valued at $353,851
- Belleville – $10,909 average tax bill on a home valued at $278,760
- Roseland – $10,887 average tax bill on a home valued at $470,368
- Fairfield – $10,862 average tax bill on a home valued at $529,188
- East Orange – $10,205 average tax bill on a home valued at $322,128
- Irvington – $9,013 average tax bill on a home valued at $148,422
- Newark – $7,069 average tax bill on a home valued at $189,640
It’s worth noting that some experts have pointed out that a high tax bill doesn’t necessarily mean a homeowner is getting ripped off – it depends on what you get for the money.
“While no taxpayers in high-tax jurisdictions will be celebrating their yearly payments, it’s worth noting that property taxes are largely rooted in the ‘benefit principle’ of government finance – the people paying the bills are most often the ones benefiting from the services,” researchers from The Tax Foundation recently wrote.
A DIFFERENT VIEWPOINT: EFFECTIVE TAX RATES
It’s easy to make comparisons between municipalities based on their average tax bills. But if you take a look at a town’s “effective tax rate” – the amount of property tax paid relative to a home’s value – a much different story emerges.
Many of the wealthier towns in Essex County often pay a significantly lower effective tax rate, a trend that some local pundits have called attention to in the past. Read More: Tax Gap In Essex County; Many Wealthier Towns Pay Lower Rates
The tax gap continued in Essex County during 2023, according to the latest state data.
Millburn, the highest-taxed town in the county (and one of its richest, according to U.S. Census data), also had its lowest effective tax rate. Millburn has a tax base of $9.87 billion, which is second only to Newark ($12.71 billion) – despite having only about 7 percent of the city’s population.
Here are how the towns and cities in Essex County stacked up last year, as measured by their calendar year tax rates per $100 valuation (highest to lowest):
- Irvington – 6.072
- West Orange – 4.598
- Belleville – 3.913
- Newark – 3.727
- Orange – 3.727
- South Orange – 3.637
- Maplewood – 3.615
- Montclair – 3.380
- Glen Ridge – 3.373
- Bloomfield – 3.267
- East Orange – 3.168
- Caldwell – 3.102
- Verona – 3.062
- West Caldwell – 2.701
- Nutley – 2.576
- Cedar Grove – 2.530
- Livingston – 2.371
- Roseland – 2.315
- North Caldwell – 2.216
- Essex Fells – 2.168
- Fairfield – 2.053
- Millburn – 1.956
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The reasons why N.J. home sales plummeted 22% last year
Low inventory and the highest interest rates in two decades caused home sales to decline 22% in New Jersey in 2023, according to data from New Jersey Realtors.
That follows a 20% decline in home sales in 2022, according to data from the Otteau Group.
Closed sales for all market segments totaled 84,305 in New Jersey in 2023, a 22% percent decline from 2022.
The townhouse and condo market segment saw the biggest decline in closed sales, dropping 24% in 2023 compared with 2022. The 19,175 closed sales in 2023 represented a 6,063 decline from 25,238 in closed sales in 2022, according to New Jersey Realtors.
There were 23.2% fewer single family home closed sales in 2023, and the market of housing for people 55 and older had 6.2% fewer closed sales.
“It has nothing to do with people not buying,” said Gloria Monks, president of New Jersey Realtors and a broker associate with Compass in Princeton. “There’s no inventory. When we get good inventory, it does sell.”
New listings in New Jersey were down 20% in 2023 compared to 2022. There were 107,517 new listings in 2023, down from 134,643 in 2022. Of those new listings, the majority, 71,701, were single family homes, according to New Jersey Realtors’ data.
Unsold inventory in New Jersey fell to 10,500 homes on the market as of January, compared to 12,900 a year ago, according to data from the Otteau Group.
Homeowners don’t want to sell existing property they may have a mortgage on when rates for a new 30-year mortgages are now more than 7%, as many who purchased a property before mortgage rates increased have a note with an interest rate below 4%.
“After rates start to move closer to 5.5%, or get below 5.5%, we’re going to see existing homeowners more willing to put their houses up for sale,” said Jeffrey Otteau, a real estate economist who heads the Otteau Group.
New Jersey should see an increase in the number of houses on the market by Memorial Day or the second quarter of 2024, he said, if interest rates fall, as expected.
But the 2024 market is off to a slow start. In Randolph, in Morris County, prior to 2020, inventory was about 130 homes for sale at this time of year. In the spring market, inventory would rise to about 160, according to Missy Iemmello, a broker sales associate and Weichert Realtors’ branch vice president, whose agents work in Morris, Sussex, Warren, Bergen and Essex counties.
There are currently 13 active listings in Randolph.
“This is the lowest I have seen in my career, since 2006,” Iemmello said. “I believe we are at the bottom and will start growing inventory, but I think it will be a slow uphill climb.”
The decline in sales is having an impact on the real estate profession.
“There are a lot of agents making decisions about whether to keep their license active or go into a referral service,” said Beth Kimmick of ERA Central Realty in Cream Ridge. With a referral service, they can’t actively sell but they can refer clients to other agents who will then pay them a small commission.
“It’s expensive to have a license and if you’re not doing business, it can be the world’s most expensive hobby,” she said.
Are you an agent, buyer or seller who is active in this changing market? Do you have tips about New Jersey’s real estate market? Unusual listings? Let us know.
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Allison Pries may be reached at email@example.com.
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