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Secaucus Among Best Places To Live In NJ Study Says
The Jewel of the Meadowlands is one of the Garden State's best places to live, according to a recent study.
Secaucus was rated No. 19 on New Jersey Monthly's annual list of the "Best Places to Live in New Jersey" for 2015. The town of more than 18,000 residents is the only municipality from Hudson County to rank above 200 on the list.
The magazine rated 510 municipalities in the state based on home values, property taxes, crime rates, school performance and lifestyle factors such as nearby live performing-arts theaters and full-service restaurants.
"While I understand that this ranking can vary every year, everyday I have the pleasure of meeting with residents, families and school children who make Secaucus a great place year in and year out," Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli said in a statement.
The specific indicators that Secaucus and the other towns were judged included average residential tax bill in 2014; change in average property tax bill from 2012 to 2014; median home-sales price in 2014; change in median home-sales price from 2012 to 2014; total crime rate in 2013 combined with a score for violent-crime rate from that same year, among other factors.
Compared to Florham Park, which took this year's top spot as the best place in the state to live, Secaucus had lower average property taxes for 2014, with a 0.5 percent drop since 2012. Average property taxes in Florham Park amounted to $8,818, compared to Secaucus' $6,395.
Crime rates are perhaps what kept Secaucus out of the top 10. Secaucus had 29.2 non-violent crimes for every 1,000 residents in 2013 and one violent crime for the same ratio. Other municipalities in the top 20 had less than one violent crime for the same criteria.
Avon-by-the-sea had the most non-violent crimes with 37.6 for every 1,000 residents in 2013.
All municipalities in the top 20 had 80s or 90s for education ratings, which were based on 2014 proficiency in state-mandated standardized tests for students in grades four, eight and 11.
In the top 20, Secaucus had the lowest education ratings, with an 80 for 4th graders; the second lowest for 8th graders with a score of 83; and the lowest for high schoolers, with a score of 90.
All data was taken from various state agencies for the study.
"I do have one concern, however," said Gonnelli in a statement. "All this publicity is telling the rest of New Jersey our town's little secret -- Secaucus is a great place to live, work and raise a family."
All other Hudson County towns made the list. Here's how they ranked:
• Jersey City – No. 238
• West New York – No. 239
• Hoboken – No. 261
• Union City - No. 285
• Bayonne – No. 326
• North Bergen - No. 337
• Guttenberg - No. 338
• East Newark –No. 350
• Weehawken – No. 352
• Kearny – No. 390
• Harrison - No. 451